The Canadian men’s volleyball team has been one of the best stories of Olympics, but that narrative has come to a close.
Russia swept Canada out of the quarterfinals Wednesday morning, winning in straight sets (25-15, 25-20, 25-18).
The Russians set the tone from the outset, going a whopping 14-of-20 on spikes in the first set while Canada managed to convert only 10 of its 24 spikes. Russia finished with 40 points on its 63 spikes.
“This is the best we have played so far in the tournament,” Russian captain Sergey Tetyukhin told FIVB. “We were really prepared to play and the guys from the bench came into action and played well.”
Gavin Schmitt – who had starred for Canada throughout the preliminary round – was held silent with only three points while the Canadians handed away 27 points on errors between the three sets.
“We didn’t have our best performance,” Canadian coach Glenn Hoag said. “We struggled with our reception handling the Russian serves. Without a good reception, it is very difficult to perform.
“We made a high number of errors and lacked patience. We have a group of very young players on this team, so now our look is on Tokyo 2020.”
Ranked No. 12 in the world, Canada had not qualified for the Olympics since 1992 and has never taken home a medal.
The Canadians got out to a great start in the tournament, sweeping the U.S. men in the first preliminary matchup and then playing a competitive game against the powerhouse Brazilian squad.
Canada was swept by France in the third prelim before sweeping Mexico and then overtaking Italy in four sets on the final day of prelims when Italy had already clinched the No. 1 seed and had nothing to play for.
Russia entered the Rio Olympics as the No. 3 team in the world and will advance to the semifinals with a shot at a medal. The Russians took home bronze at the 2008 and 2004 Games.