Print Edition: October 23, 2013
This year’s men’s volleyball team has 12 returning players from last year’s talented squad, which played all the way into the PACWEST quarterfinals.
Joining this year’s squad are Braden Thain from Earl Marriot Secondary and Nick Bruce from Fleetwood Park Secondary. Thain’s Earl Marriot team placed fifth last year in the AAA provincial championships and Thain received a third team all-star at the tournament. Bruce led Fleetwood’s squad last year from the middle position.
Assistant coach Carl Nienhuis said Thain and Bruce “both bring a tremendous work ethic and have transitioned into our mix very smoothly. I like that they are both able to push our returning players to be at their best night in and night out.”
Last year the men had a season full of ups and downs that began with a lacklustre start, though the team improved as the season progressed. They finished sixth in the conference and matched up against a very talented Camosun College team in the first round. Nienhuis said of his team, “the boys had a strong finish last year, and were really starting to gel at the end of the season. I think they have picked up right where they left off – not only are they physically stronger and have more refined skills, but they’re also learning how to more consistently compete at a high level.”
The 2013-14 edition returns with a core of strong seniors including fifth-year leader Devon Krahn, and three fourth-year players: brothers Josh and Anthony Togeretz and Chris Schmitke. All four players will need to show strong leadership on what is currently a very young team.
When asked what the team’s goals were for the upcoming season, Nienhuis talked about continual improvement.
“I like to think our goals for this season revolve around team and personal development, where every day is an opportunity for growth and improvement. Long-term success is built upon daily training, so our emphasis right now is in continually showing up to practice and competitions with energy, the right attitude and the intent to work extremely hard. If we do that, we should end up winning some games.”
The squad’s pre-season was riddled with many ups and downs for the team but ended up being vital to the team’s preparation.
“Our team is deep, and we will be relying on that depth throughout the season. So our matches to date have been about giving guys the opportunity to play in different roles while working out different combinations,” Nienhuis said.
In their regular season games so far, the men have played well but have been unable to get the dominant upper hand, splitting both back-to-back games with CBC and Douglas College. At two weeks into the season, the men are in a four-way tie for second place with four overall points.