Friday, May 02, 2008


Apologies for the lack of posts around here lately: I'm currently serving as the Communications Coordinator for the 2008 Canadian Open 17U/18U volleyball championships, which means a lot of writing, editing and dealing with local media (yes, I've gone to the dark side) and not a lot of time to do anything else. We're working 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. days trying to keep everything going, and it can be a little difficult, especially given the scope of the tournament. Anyways, this is a pretty cool tournament with a lot of interesting stories, and it's also related to university volleyball: there's over 100 university coaches, scouts and recruiters here from Canada and the States to evaluate potential new talent for their programs. To give some background on the tournament, one of the lead-in stories I wrote is posted below: you can check out my other pieces on the tournament website. I'll try to check in with an update here whenever possible. There's also good tournament coverage over at Bomberino. Let me know if you have any questions on the tournament.

P.S. While I'm blatantly self-promoting, I wrote about the BLG Awards, Canadian Interuniversity Sport's top honours, on The CIS Blog last week: even if you don't want to read my pieces (shame on you!), Neate's takes on the CFL Draft and point guard Greg Carter choosing Lakehead are well worth looking at the blog.

Here's the piece on the tournament:

17U/18U Championships Set to Kick Off

Over 2400 volleyball players from 202 different teams will step onto courts around Ottawa tomorrow for the first day of the 17U/18U Canadian Open Volleyball Championships. The tournament, which will utilize 34 different courts at five different venues over three days, features many of the top players in Canada at the 17-year-old and 18-year-old age levels. Many of the players at the 18U level have already committed to universities in Canada and the United States. At least 50 scouts from American universities and colleges are expected to be in attendance, as well as more than 50 scouts from Canadian schools.

Some of the best players in the tournament can be found at the men’s and women’s 18U Division I levels. The men’s 18U Division I tournament features several high-profile clubs, such as the top-seeded defending champion Bison Gold team from Winnipeg, Manitoba, the second-seeded Fraser Valley Volleyball Club Blue team from Langley, British Columbia, and the third-seeded NAVC Gold Bears from Edmonton, Alberta. All three teams won their recent provincial championships. Seeding is determined by how each province’s teams fared in last year’s national championships in Abbotsford, B.C.

The Bison Gold club will be led by Chris Voth, a 6’5 setter who was voted as the top Manitoba high school volleyball player in 2007. Voth, who was named the tournament MVP at the Manitoba provincials, is a highly-prized recruit who has committed to play for the University of Manitoba Bisons next season. Last summer, he was the captain of the Manitoba provincial team that claimed gold at the Western Canada Games. He has also played for the Junior National team, and has maintained a 92 per cent average throughout high school. He will continue a strong family tradition of playing for the Bisons: his father Lloyd played five years of volleyball for the university in the 1970s, and his sister Ashley is in her second season with the Bisons’ women’s team.

In the women’s 18U competition, the defending champion Fraser Valley Volleyball Club Blitz claimed the top seed by earning their fifth consecutive provincial gold medal April 20 at the B.C. championships in Kelowna. Other strong contenders in the women’s 18U Division I tournament will be the second-seeded Dinos from Calgary, Alberta, and Whitby, ON’s third-seeded DRVC.

The Blitz have proved to be a force at the nationals over the last five years, winning gold three times and bronze twice. Left side hitter Sophie Schlagintweit, who was named the tournament MVP at the provincial championships, will be a force for the Blitz. As a 17-year-old, she played with older players for the FVVC 18U club that won the national championship last year and was named to the tournament all-star team. Another player to watch for the Blitz will be Rosie Schlagintweit, a 16-year-old right side hitter who put up 13 kills in one game at the provincial championships against players two years older than her.

The tournament features regular pool play on Friday. On Saturday, teams are redistributed into power pools and tiers according to their finish in their pool. The playoffs take place on Sunday. The 18U men’s and women’s Division I teams play Friday and Saturday mornings, with the first games at 7:30 a.m. and the last games at 1:30 p.m. each day. The men’s 18U Division I games will be in the Carleton University (1125 Colonel By Drive) Field House Friday and Saturday mornings, with some additional games at Algonquin College (1385 Woodroffe Avenue) Friday and the Cégep de l’Outaouais (333 Boulevard de la
Cité-des-jeunes, Gatineau) Saturday. The women’s 18U Division I games will be in the Carleton Ice Palace and Norm Fenn Gymnasium Friday morning, with some additional games at Aberdeen Pavilion (1015 Bank Street).

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