July 22, 2024

VNL: Canada overcomes 37-point explosion of Nimir Abdel-Aziz, Netherlands to complete flawless Manila Leg run

VNL: Canada overcomes 37-point explosion of Nimir Abdel-Aziz, Netherlands to complete flawless Manila Leg run
Canada takes down the Netherlands for rousing Manila leg sweep. | Photo (c) RM Chua/One Sports

Canada pulled off a resounding sweep of the 2024 Volleyball Nations League (VNL) Manila Leg, surviving the Nimir Abdel-Aziz-led Netherlands, 21-25, 25-22, 28-26, 14-25, 15-9, at the Mall of Asia Arena on Saturday, June 22.


The Canadians overcame a lethargic start and weathered the 37-point storm of Abdel-Aziz, fighting off a tough challenge from the Dutchmen and complete a 4-0 run in Week 3. 


The Olympic-bound, ninth-ranked team in the world ended the preliminary stage with an 8-4 record, heading into the quarterfinals as the fourth seed.

 

A seesaw battle ensued at the onset of the fifth frame, leading up to a 7-all deadlock. The quartet of Fynn McCarthy, Stephen Maar, Xander Ketrzynski, and Lucas Van Berkel then tipped the scales in favor of Canada for a 13-8 lead.


Maarten Van Garderen managed to momentarily stop the bleeding for the Netherlands, but Nimir coughed out a critical service error.


This set the stage for a match-clinching block of Arthur Swarc on Van Garderen's attack attempt.


Maar spearheaded the balanced Canadian thrust with 18 points built on 15 attacks, two blocks, and an ace.


Eric Loeppky also made his presence felt with 14 markers, while Ketrzynski and Van Berkel pitched in nine points. Szwarc scored eight in the winning cause.


On the other hand, Netherlands bowed out of contention with a 3-9 slate. 


The world No. 13 team had a disappointing finish to its campaign, enduring six consecutive losses, with four of them occurring during the Manila leg.


Van Garderen, who put up 17 points, was the only other double-digit scorer for the Dutch, aside from Nimir who made history as the only player to score 30 points in five matches.


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