uSports: Matches to Watch January 10th-13th

uSports: Matches to Watch January 10th-13th

The uSports season is back in full swing this weekend, there’s a full schedule across the country! Here’s what you should watch.

W | #3 Dalhousie (9-0) @ Acadia (8-2) | Thursday 6:00 p.m. AT/7:00 p.m. ET

The #3 Dalhousie Tigers have been sweeping their way through the AUS this season. dropping only two sets in 9 matches so far this season. One of those sets was to Acadia at the beginning of the season - while the Axewomen’s only two losses have come at the hands of the Tigers. Acadia is led by duo Lucy Glen Carter and Lauren Renzella. The pair sit at #2 & #3 in kills in the AUS with 100 and 90 respectively - trailing only the Tigers’ Julie Moore with 101. Can Acadia make a move on the perennial powers?

UBC’s Kieran Van Ryk leads the country with 5.8 kills per set, scoring 305 points in just 14 matches so far.  Photo: (Rich Lam/UBC Athletics)

UBC’s Kieran Van Ryk leads the country with 5.8 kills per set, scoring 305 points in just 14 matches so far.

Photo: (Rich Lam/UBC Athletics)

W | UBC (8-6) @ MacEwan (7-5) | Friday: 6:00 p.m. PT/9:00 p.m. ET - Saturday 5:00 p.m. PT/8:00 p.m. ET (Pass Required)

With 7 teams within 4 points of each other in the middle of the CanadaWest standings -this weekend’s matchup could give a serious leg up over a crowded groups towards a top 4 spot. MacEwan will be looking to prove they’re the real deal this weekend when they visit the Thunderbirds and the best player in the country. Kiera Van Ryk, fresh off an appearance at the World Championships with the National team, the Surrey B.C. hasn’t missed a beat - tearing her way through her 2nd year in uSports. With an astonishing 305 points in 14 matches, she’s averaging 5.8 points per set and averaging 4.68 kills per set. The Griffins have taken the scoring by committee approach - with 5 five players having scored at least 105 points, a win in Vancouver would be a big statement.

W | #6 Waterloo (7-0) @ #8 Toronto (7-2) | Sunday 1:00 p.m. ET/ 10:00 a.m. PT

For a team who hasn’t had a winning record in almost a decade - the Waterloo have been the biggest surprise of the uSports season. Putting themselves at the top with statement wins over Western and McMaster -they have a perfect record sit sit at the top of the Division. They’re biggest match-up of the year so far will be in Toronto on Sunday. While the Varsity Blues may have a pair of losses to Western and Queens - they still have the best player in the conference Alina Dormann, who sits 4th in OUA scoring with 129.5 points while averaging 3.67 kills/set, and Brianna Patrick who sits in 5th with 118 points. This will be the Warriors first test against a Nationally ranked opponent - can they prove they’re the real deal?

W | Western (5-4) @ McMaster (5-3) | Sunday 1:00 p.m. ET/10:00 a.m. PT

A classic match-up no matter what - this one will be especially import as it determines who gets to sit in sole possession of 2nd in the OUA West. Kelsey Veltman leads the OUA in scoring with 146.5 points and a .286 efficiency - and is the engine who runs the Mustangs. For the Marauders, Jessie Nairn has been having a breakout season. Leading McMaster with 115 points and averaging 2.97 kills/set - she also sits 2nd in digs with 47.

M | #1 Brandon (12-2) @ #4 Alberta (11-1) | Friday 6:00 p.m. MT/8:00 p.m. ET - Saturday 6:30 p.m. MT/8:30 p.m. ET (Game of the Week Free Match in Friday)

The Bobcats stand atop of the uSports men’s volleyball rankings for the first time in program history - but they won’t have time to take a a breath at top as they travel to Edmonton this weekend to take on the Golden Bears. A pair of 3-0 wins over the previously #1 Trinity Western Spartans last weekend was a statement heard across Canada - they’re going to have to play just as well, in a match up that should essentially determine the favourite heading into the playoffs. The Golden Bears’ sole loss came at the hands of the Spartans, and they have a veteran team that has a great case to be the best team in the country. Taryq Sani’s move to the outside has produced some explosive results as he sits 5th in the conference in kills with 164 and has a team high 191 points. If someone grabs a pair of W’s - they undoubtably have a strangle hold on the top stop in the Canada West.

Tyler Schmidt leads the Canada West with 260 points through 12 matches - averaging 5.7 points a set   Photo: Cougars Athletics

Tyler Schmidt leads the Canada West with 260 points through 12 matches - averaging 5.7 points a set

Photo: Cougars Athletics

M | #5 Mount Royal (9-3) @ #9 Thompson Rivers (7-3) | Friday 6:45 p.m. PT/9:45 p.m. ET (Pass Required)

This match-up between the biggest biggest sluggers in the league has huge implications both in standings and National Ranking. MRU’s Tyler Schimdt and TRU’s Tim Dobbert sit 1-2 in kills and points per set. While Schimdt, averaging 5.7 points/set has played two more matches than Dobbert, his 220 kills lead the league while Dobbert, averaging 5.0 points/set, has 181 tallies for second. Both teams sit with 3 losses and are fighting for fourth place - so a pair of wins here could mean homecourt advantage come the playoffs - not to mention a boost in the National Rankings.


M | #7 Windsor (7-2) @ #6 McMaster (6-2) | Saturday @ 2:00 p.m. ET/11:00 a.m. PT

This first matchup of the year will likely determine top spot in the OUA West. Windsor picked up right where they left off last season with a Bronze at Provincials and their first appearance at Nationals and are making a serious case to being the top team in the OUA. Despite McMaster looking a little human this year with a pair of losses - they’re still the top dog until someone takes the Forsyth Cup away from them. Andrew Richards is still world-class - sitting 4th in points with 128.5 points, while he and Nathan Delguidice sit 4-5 averaging 4.7 and 4.6 points/set respectively. On Windsor’s side of things - Pierce Johnson has been a machine - averaging 4.09 kills/set at a .356 efficiency and sits in 3rd with 154.5 points. No matter what happens Saturday - this will quite possibly be a preview of the OUA Final.

Podcast: Round 2 Preview

Podcast: Round 2 Preview
Everett is joined by Dan from Five One VB to preview Round 2 of the 2018 FIVB Men's World Championships. As always, you can check out more about this, and other volleyball related events and profiles over on our website: http://volleyballsource.net

World Champs: Canada Dominates Dutch in Opener

World Champs: Canada Dominates Dutch in Opener
Match Statistics by Team

Match Statistics by Team


The Maple Volleys have opened the 2018 FIVB World Championships in dominating fashion with a 3-0 (25-15, 25-23, 25-18) win of the Netherlands today in Bulgaria. They pick up a big three points to start Round 1.

Team Canada Stats

Team Canada Stats

Jay Blankenau got the start and kicked things off by teeing one up for Dan JVD and was immediately followed by Nick Hoag ripping an ace to give Canada the early 2-0 lead - and never looked back. The Maple Volleys are at their best when they dominate the serve and block game - and that’s exactly what happened tonight.

It was clear the Maple Volleys were just too much to handle for the Dutch, who are playing in their first World Championships since 1994. They were in control from the very first point, and other than a slight lapse mid-way through the second set, dictated the pace of play and dominated with their size and skill. 

Nick Hoag was on another level and looked better than ever. With 7 kills on 12 attempts, he was deadly efficient and was a menace from the baseline - scoring 4 aces and teed one up for Stephen Maar for the overkill at a crucial point in the 2nd. He’s always had a high-level of skill - but it was almost like he wanted to challenge Nimir Abdel-Aziz to see who could hit harder, because he was absolutely hammering it today. 

Both Gord Perrin and Sharone Vernon-Evans looked good in their official return to the roster. While Vernon-Evans started all three sets and played the majority of the match - Perrin was subbed off mid-way through the second in favour of Stephen Maar, a move we’re probably going to see more than once during the opening round in order to keep everyone as healthy as possible. 

It’s not often you see a winning team’s top scorer make only 7 kills - but with an offence spread as evenly as this, it’s no surprise. Three players (Hoag, Vernon-Evans, Jansen van Doorn) scored 7 kills while another trio (Perrin, Vigrass, Maar) scored six. 

You gotta give credit where credits due - and might as well give your VISA to Jay Blankenau because he was money. Perrin and Vernon-Evans received the most sets - and that was only 15. He forced the middle early as Dan JVD led the scoring in the first-set. Finally - Steven Marshall got the start as libero - and if this continues we’re going to have to call him the “Ice Cream Man” because he was scooping all day.

Despite the Dutch ranking of No. 25 in the World and making their first appearance at the World Championships - this was a must win game for Canada. A loss to the Dutch with games remaining against Brazil and France isn’t a way to start the tournament - and when you have Nimir Abdel-Aziz on your roster, anything is possible. He scored 13 times on 29 attempts today - so they did a pretty good job shutting down a guy who could be one of the world’s best hitters.

Next up they take on Egypt on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. ET / 7:00 a.m. PT. On paper - it’s a match they should win having never lost to the top-African nation. However - this doesn’t mean it will be easy as Egypt is a veteran team with a number of options offensively. Canada will be to be as good as they were against the Netherlands in order to ensure a full three points - since points from Round 1 are carried onto Round 2 - every point matters.

Post Game Quotes

Nicholas Hoag, player of Canada: "I think the big difference in the match was serve and receive. We served really well without any mistakes, put them in trouble and add a hard time running their offense. We also received really well, so starting like this is really important for us. I think winning the second set was the key moment for our victory. Even though we had some difficulties and they were playing better, coming back from a few points behind and winning that set made us a little bit relieved. We are going to have a big preparation for the match tomorrow and of course we hope for another 3-0 win."

Stephane Antiga, coach of Canada: I’m so satisfied with this opening victory against the Netherlands. It is really important win and the perfect start of the completion for us. The level of the teams here in Ruse is really high and in every single match you must play as good as possible in order to win. We went with great motivation, managed to be focused, and the most important thing is the result in the end – 3-0. Now we are looking forward to our next match against Egypt.

Gido Vermeulen, coach the Netherlands: "I think the team of Canada were stronger at the firs and the third set but the second set we played a good game. However, at the end of the day they were the better team today. In the end of the second set we played really well in defense and our substitutes did a really good job to keep us in the game. But then, it is only one ball so you never know. I think we played a decent game. Tomorrow is a rest day for us, so we will prepare for the match against China on Friday." 

Abdel-Aziz Nimir, captain of the Netherlands: "Of course we knew that it is going to be a difficult match because Canada is ranked sixth in the FIVB rankings and we are twenty fifth. We hoped to play a little bit better. They gave us a lot of pressure from the very first point in the opening set, and that was the key in this game. We just could not handle it."

World Champs: Canada Announces Roster

World Champs: Canada Announces Roster

Team Canada has announced their roster for the 2018 World Championships in Italy & Bulgaria starting on September 12th.

Returns from Injury: Gord Perrin (Outside), Sharone Vernon-Evans (Opposite)

Injured: Ryley Barnes (Outside)

Outsides

Headlining the roster is the return of Gord Perrin (Creston, BC) for the first time in 2018. Perrin’s been a cornerstone of the roster for a numbers of years and helped the Maple Volleys to a best-ever 7th placed finish in 2014 and Captained the team to their best-ever finish in the World League with a Bronze medal in 2017. Dominant in system, crafty in transition and solid in serve receive, at his best, he’s one of the best in the world.

Stephen Maar (Aurora, ON) is gearing up for his first World Championships. The powerful McMaster Marauder opened eyes in Italy and last year in the World League is gaining a name for hammering balls through the block. The 12th best scorer in this summer’s Nation League, Maar will carry a bulk of the load.

Nicholas Hoag (Sherbrooke, QC), one of the slickest players in the world is no stranger to the big stage. Starting at just 21-years old, he’s grown into one of the cornerstones of the roster. Time and time again he’s come through with big plays, and there’s little down

Jason DeRocco (Wiinnipeg, MB) is the glue that keeps it all together. The Manitoba native has had a few great seasons in the Polish Liga and has been a consistent contributor in the 2017 World League and 2018 Nations League. A canon arm makes him deadly from the baseline and even more lethal from the back row.

The reality is that any four of these guys could step up and carry the team at any point. With the gruelling schedule, the full rotation will be in use, and it’s likely we’ll see all four step up at some point or another.

Opposites

The other notable return is 19-year old Sharone Vernon-Evans (Scarborough, ON). One of the big stories at the 2018 World League, he suffered in injury playing for Warsaw last season. Undergoing surgery in March - he got some solid reps throughout the two tune-up tournaments the team played in Poland and Slovenia, but the jury’s still out if he’s 100% healthy.

We’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg with Vernon-Evans, but if his 12’6.6” touch is any indication - we could be in for some of the same fireworks we saw in last year’s World League Final. With length that can only be compared to Kevin Durant, he’s a shut-down blocker who can cause nightmares for even the worlds elite. While his length in one thing - his natural volleyball IQ is surprising for someone his age. H

Paired up with Ryan Sclater - (Port Coquitlam, BC), the Maple Volleys have the ability to run two different looks depending who’s sitting on the right. The former Trinity Western Spartan showed his chops this summer during the Nations League - including a breakout weekend in Argentina that included a win over Italy. At 6’6 - Sclater is smaller on the right but runs it fast and has a lightning fast arm-swing. His speed will open up holes Sharone won’t have - forcing teams to change their game plans on the fly.

Liberos

Blair Bann (Edmonton, AB) is one of the most fun players to watch in volleyball. With an infectious attitude, Bann is the energizer bunny that won’t stop and can be seen keeping plays alive game in and game out. The Best Libero of the 2017 World League - Bann has the respect of servers and attackers everywhere.

From the left to the right, now on to libero, Steven Marshall (Abbotsford, BC) can do it all. A natural athlete who’s known for his exceptional ball control - this former Spartan will be sure to frustrate a hitter or two in Bulgaria.

Roster

#1 TJ Sanders | Setter - London, ON

#2 Gord Perrin | Outside - Creston, BC

#3 Steven Marshall | Libero - Abbotsford, BC

#4 Nicholas Hoag | Outside - Sherbrooke, QC

#5 Lucas Van Berkel | Middle - Edmonton, AB

#7 Stephen Maar | Outside - Aurora, ON

#8 Jay Blankenau | Setter - Sherwood Park, AB

#9 Jason Derocco | Outside - Winnipeg, MB

#10 Sharone Vernon-Evans | Opposite - Scarborough, ON

#11 Dan Jansen van Doorn | Middle - Langley, BC

#16 Ryan Sclater | Oppodsite - Port Coquitlam, BC

#17 Graham Vigrass | Middle - Calgary, AB

#19 Blair Bann | Libero - Edmonton, AB

#20 Arthur Szwarc | Middle - Toronto, ON


Middles

The middle of the court will be patrolled by the same group that held down the fort during the Nations League. Graham Vigrass (Calgary, AB) will be the guy that controls is all. One of the best in business - Vigrass has too many tools to count. He reads setter like kids books and closes blocks like a glass door. His 13th-best 22 blocks in the Nations League is expected - while his 5th best 15 aces is the cherry on top. It’s not many middles that can lead a team in scoring - but that seems to be a regular occurence for Vigrass.

A pair of University teammates are sure to make an impact in their first World Championships. Dan Jansen van Doorn (Langley, BC) & Lucas van Berkel (Edmonton, AB) will go toe-to-toe with anyone. Dan JVD had a breakout Olympics and makes timely plays, and Lucas seems to show up just when you need him. Both will be seeing significant time and will need to come up big.

Arthur Szwarc (Toronto, ON) is a high-flier with the physicality to play with the best in the world. He’s still a little green - but watch out for bombs when he does come in.

Setters

Four years ago in Poland, TJ Sanders (London, ON) solidified himself as one of the up and coming setters to watch. Going into Bulgaria, there’s no doubt he’s reached that point. Not known for his flash, Sanders is known to be a magician at spreading the offence like butter on toast. His vision is among the elite, and the rhythm at which he runs the offence opens holes in even the best defence. On top of that, his leadership might be one of of biggest assets. Calm and analytical, his demeanour has pulled this team through more than a couple long matches.

If Jay Blankenau (Sherwood Park, AB) is on the court, make sure you’ve got your phone ready because you’re sure to see something you’ll like. From one-handed sets to his ability to go on-two, the Calgary Dino makes any hitter dangerous.

FIVB: Canadians Harvest FIVB Beach Awards

FIVB: Canadians Harvest FIVB Beach Awards

Summer is fading as we move on to fall, and the 2018 beach season is over - and it's awards time. A trio of Canadians - Melissa Humaña-Paredes, Brandie Wilkerson, and Heather Bansley have all been recognized by the FIVB as being at the top of their class.

Heather Bansley - Best Defensive Player

Heather_Dig.jpeg

For the third time in four years, Heather Bansley is the Best Defensive Player in the FIVB. This doesn't come to a surprise to anyone as Bansley has made a living and scrambling around in the back row since her days as a Varsity Blue - but this year it was on full-force as it propelled her to a career-best No. 4 Rank in the FIVB World Rankings. 

At this point - Bansley is cementing herself as the best Canadian Defender of All-Time - of either gender. As the only one to ever win the award - let alone three - she's basically in a class of her own at this point. When you consider she's won the award with two different partners - you really 

lol good luck

 

 

Brandie Wilkerson - Best Blocker

It was honestly just matter of time until Brandie Wilkerson won this award as there's little doubt she has the biggest block on tour - pretty much as certain as hearing the "My Block" song while she's playing centre court. In only her second full-season on the World Tour - Wilkerson is now one of the most feared blockers on tour - and she'll let you know when she gets you. 

We may be biased, but Brandie could have also won the Most Improved Player of the Year Award (No offence to to Australia's Mariafe Artacho del Solar). Her dominance at the net makes even the best hitters pull out the roll shot - only to have it swatted back. 

Melissa Humaña-Paredes - Best Setter

Rookie of the Year, Most Improved, and now Best Setter - Melissa Humaña-Paredes is just collecting them all. Her third award is her first skill-based nod - and there's little doubt Melissa is one of the silkiest setters in the world. In system or in transition, on the net net or off, her dynamic setting opens up the offence.

The most impressive part of her game however

MNT: Ljubljana Volleyball Challenge

MNT: Ljubljana Volleyball Challenge

The Maple Volleys are in Ljubljana, Slovenia for their last preparations before the World Championships to take on Slovenia, the United States and Iran before they head to Bulgaria.

After going 0-3 at the Hubert Wagner Memorial Tournament in Poland, Team Canada is looking get in the win column before the big dance starts up next week. 

Schedule

Thursday September 6th

🇸🇮Slovenia def. 🇨🇦Canada | 3-1 (27-25, 21-25, 25-22, 25-20)

Friday September 7th

🇨🇦Canada vs. 🇺🇸United States - 11:00 a.m. ET / 8:00 a.m. PT

Saturday September 8th

🇨🇦Canada vs. 🇮🇷Iran - 3:15 p.m. ET / 12:15 p.m. PT

Roster

#1 TJ Sanders | Setter - London, ON

#2 Gord Perrin | Outside - Creston, BC

#3 Steven Marshall | Libero - Abbotsford, BC

#4 Nicholas Hoag | Outside - Sherbrooke, QC

#5 Lucas Van Berkel | Middle - Edmonton, AB

#7 Stephen Maar | Outside - Aurora, ON

#8 Jay Blankenau | Setter - Calgary, AB

#9 Jason Derocco | Outside - Winnipeg, MB

#10 Sharone Vernon-Evans | Opposite - Scarborough, ON

#11 Dan Jansen van Doorn | Middle - Langley, BC

#16 Ryan Sclater | Oppodsite - Port Coquitlam, BC

#17 Graham Vigrass | Middle - Calgary, AB

#19 Blair Bann | Libero - Edmonton, AB

#20 Arthur Szwarc | Middle - Toronto, ON

#26 Eric Loeppky | Outside - Steinbach, MB

Men's Pan Am Cup

Men's Pan Am Cup

Pool A

🇨🇺Cuba

🇲🇽Mexico

🇨🇱Chile

🇬🇹Guatemala

Pool B

🇨🇦Canada

🇧🇷Brazil

🇨🇴Columbia

🇩🇴Dominican Republic

Pool C

🇺🇸United States

🇦🇷Argentina

🇵🇷Puerto Rico

🇵🇪Peru

Schedule

August 28th

🇨🇦Canada def. 🇨🇴Columbia | 3-1 (25-19, 23-25, 25-22, 25-22)

August 29th

🇨🇦Canada def. 🇩🇴Dominican Republic | 3-1 (25-20, 25-20, 25-16)

August 30th

🇧🇷Brazil def. 🇨🇦Canada | 3-0 (25-20, 25-15,  25-23)

August 31st

🇨🇦Canada vs. 🇨🇺Cuba | 8:00 p.m. ET/ 5:00 p.m. PT

Watch the 2018 Pan Am Cup LIVE on internet.tv!

*Subcription costs $13.00 USD for tournament pass.

Roster

  • #1 Jeremy Davies (L) - Calgary, AB | Team Lakappa (Finland)
  • #3 Logan Brenan (L) - Bragg Creek, AB | Winnipeg Wesmen
  • #4 Pearson Eshenko (MB) - Banff, AB | TWU Spartans
  • #5 Blake Sheerhorn (OP) - Bellevillem ON | Indykpol AZS Olsztyn (Poland)
  • #6 Justin Duff (MB) - Winnipeg, MB |
  • #7 Danny Demyanenko (MB) - Toronto, ON | Spacers Toulouse (France)
  • #8 Andrew Richards (OH) - London, ON | McMaster Marauders
  • #9 Terrel Bramwell (OP) - Mississauga, ON | 
  • #12 Daenen Gyimah (MB) - Scarborough, ON | UCLA Bruins
  • #17 Jackson Howe (MB) - Calgary, AB | TWU Spartans
  • #21 Brett Walsh (S) - Calgary, AB | Knack Roselare (Belgium) 
  • #22 Brandon Koppers (OH) - Georgetown, ON | Zaksa Kedzierzyn-Kozle (Poland)
  • #24 Byron Keturakis (S) - Surrey, BC | Narbonne Volley (France)

Sarah Pavan & Melissa Humaña-Paredes | VOTE for Performance of the Year!

Sarah Pavan & Melissa Humaña-Paredes | VOTE for Performance of the Year!

Sarah Pavan & Melissa Humaña-Paredes of are up for Performance of the Year at the 2018 Canadian Sport Awards!

The pair had a historic season - not only capturing first-ever Gold Medal in Beach Volleyball at the Commonwealth Games, but also by being the first Canadian team to be ranked #1 in the World and also capturing the Gstaad 5-Star in Switzerland!

Sarah and Melissa made history, fighting off set point 20-19 in the final set against the home favourite Australians, to win the inaugural beach volleyball event at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. In reaching the final, the Canadian women did not drop a set and gave up just 77 points in five matches.