EDMONTON — The Canadian men's volleyball squad is off and running at the 2016 NORCECA Olympic Qualifying Tournament as they picked up an emphatic straight sets win over Mexico on Friday night at the Saville Community Sports Centre in Edmonton.
The 10th-ranked Canadians — the top-ranked team in the competition — were only really troubled in a close second set but otherwise looked confident in overcoming 24th-ranked Mexico 25-19, 25-23 and 25-16.
Easily bigger and stronger than their Mexican opposition, Canada dominated the early exchanges at the net, staking an early advantage in the first set with a combination of overpowering swings on offence and putting up a massive defensive wall in registering some early blocks.
Canada picked up the first three points of the first set and then never allowed Mexico to close the gap and eventually took the set when Mexico's Ivan Marquez put a serve into the net.
The second set was a different story as Mexico took a small advantage early before the teams traded leads and Canada looked to be a little frustrated as some calls didn't go its way.
At one point, Canada was issued a red card, which in volleyball means Mexico was given a point as the referee wasn't pleased with how Canada reacted to a call against them.
But Canada found its composure and pulled away late and it took the second set when Gord Perrin, a native of Creston, B.C., hammered down a spike from the back row that Mexico couldn't handle with its reception going out of bounds.
Canada is looking for an Olympic berth in men's volleyball for the first time since 1992.
The winner of this round-robin tournament that also includes Puerto Rico and Cuba qualifies for Rio while the second and third placed teams have a second chance in a tournament later this year.