Israelis on NCAA volleyball teams play on while dealing with a harsh reality
November 1, 2023
October 9, 2023
Even though they’d already clinched their spot in the 2024 Paris Olympics, the USA men finished strong in the Road to Paris Volleyball Qualifier.
Coach John Speraw played mostly his second team Sunday in a 25-19, 22-25, 19-25, 25-23, 15-12 victory over Japan in Tokyo that left the Americans 7-0 and ready to take a break before joining their respective pro teams.
There were three pools of eight teams each in the tournament and the top two gained bids, and that included Canada. France, the host team, is guaranteed of a spot and the other seven berths will be earned next year (details below).
The USA secured its Olympic spot on Saturday with a sweep of Serbia to win Pool B. Japan took second, so the home country was also playing for fun on Sunday, too.
In Pool A, Germany and host Brazil took the top two spots, and in China, the bids went to Poland and Canada.
Against Japan, Thomas Jaeschke led with 17 points, a block and an ace. David Smith had 11 kills and three blocks and Garrett Muagututia had 12 kills and a block. Kyle Ensing had seven kills and two blocks and Micah Ma’a, in at setter, had six kills and a block.
Japan’s Kento Miyauro had 22 kills, a block and four aces. Tatsunori Otsuka had 16 kills and an ace, and Shoma Tomita had 12 kills and a block. Japan finished 5-2, same as Slovenia, but swept their match Saturday.
Brazil (6-1) clinched its bid on Sunday with a five-set win over Italy in Rio. Germany (7-0) clinched on Saturday. After the victory, Brazil coach Rena Dal Zotto resigned after holding the job for six years.
Poland (7-0) clinched on Saturday but Canada didn’t secure its spot until Sunday when Bulgaria beat Belgium and Canada took advantage and swept Mexico. Canada is back in the Olympics for the sixth time overall and third in a Games in a row.
“It’s unbelievable,” Canada coach Tuomas Sammelvuo told Volleyball World. “I’m just so happy for volleyball in Canada, and the history of what people have done for many years with this program to now consistently be in the Olympics.
“I would like to thank the players, not only the ones here in China, but also those that have given so much effort to this program during the summer, as well as the coaching staff that have been part of the program. It’s an unbelievable moment and being in the Olympics is huge, as it represents the country.”
According to Volleyball World:
To guarantee the principle of universality, the next Paris 2024 participants will be selected from the continental confederations, which do not have a qualified team yet. With members of the CEV (France, Germany and Poland), NORCECA (Canada and USA), CSV (Brazil) and AVC (Japan) already qualified, the only confederation that falls under that criterion is CAVB.
According to the current ranking, Egypt are the highest ranked African team. Interestingly, they earned that status during the FIVB Road to Paris Volleyball Qualifiers. Before the qualification tournaments, 18th-ranked Tunisia were above 19th-ranked Egypt in the chart, but as the two teams showed different levels in Tokyo, Egypt moved up to number 18 on 164.05 ranking points, while Tunisia dropped all the way down to number 25 on 145.09. The next African team is Cameroon, in position 29 on 129.27.
The remaining four spots at Paris 2024 will go to the four highest-ranked teams, not qualified yet, at the end of the VNL 2024 Preliminary Phase. According to today’s chart, these four teams would be third-ranked Italy, sixth-ranked Argentina, seventh-ranked Slovenia and ninth-ranked Serbia.