Boyer won most of the battles against the Serbian blockers

French Olympic champion Stephen Boyer couldn’t have left a stronger impression in his first appearance in the Volleyball Nations League 2022 as the 26-year-old opposite led the Europeans to a come-from-behind victory over continental rivals Serbia in Ottawa, Canada, on Thursday.

After not leaving the bench in France’s opening-day win over Italy, Boyer was instrumental to his team’s second triumph in the VNL as the best scorer of the 2019 European Championship produced a match-high 22 points to help the French top the Serbians 3-1 (21-25, 25-22, 25-23, 25-23).

“We did a great job in coming back after we lost the first set,” Boyer said after the match. “It’s the start of a new cycle for our team and it’s great to be on the court with the guys and winning our first two matches makes it even better.”

· Watch all VNL 2022 matches live on Volleyball TV.

Starting in the place of Jean Patry, who was on the court against the Italians, the 1.96m-tall Boyer scored in a variety of ways, leaving the court with 18 kills, two blocks and two aces to his name.

“We’re very fortunate to have two players of such a great level at the same position,” outside hitter Yacine Louati reflected. “Whoever plays, it doesn’t change a lot in our team and that’s very important.”

Stephen Boyer Top Plays vs. Serbia

The opposite scored the first and the last French points in the match in a similar fashion, flying from the backcourt to hit the ball with tremendous power, allowing no chance for the Serbian defenders to react.

Boyer also had some clutch plays at the end of the second set, tooling the Serbian block to score 21-18, hitting crosscourt to improve the French lead to 23-20 and blocking Nikola Meljanac to put his team just one point away from the win at 24-20.


Chinenyeze and Ngapeth stand in the way of Serbian opposite Meljanac

He got great help from Tokyo Olympics MPV Earvin Ngapeth, however, as the 31-year-old outside hitter chipped in 15 points, including a match-high three aces.

Earvin Ngapeth Aces Leader in Serbia vs. France - Top Aces

Serbia also had two highly-productive players of their own, with outside hitter Pavle Peric matching Boyer at 22 points (19 kills, two blocks, one ace) and opposite Meljanac adding another 20 (18 kills, one block, one ace).

One of the four undefeated teams after the conclusion of the third day of the VNL 2022, France will try to extend their winning streak in the tournament on Friday, when they face hosts Canada at 19.30 local time (23.30 GMT).