Volleyball: CIS stars make national team cut

One of the interesting things about CIS volleyball is how many stars at the university level go on to play either for the national team or in the pro leagues in Europe. Earlier this week, the men's and women's national team rosters for this competitive season were announced, and as expected, almost all of the selected players come from a CIS background. On the men's side, several of the chosen players just finished their university careers, including Winnipeg's star setter Dustin Addison-Schneider, middle hitter Nathan Groenveld of the OUA-champion McMaster Marauders and fellow middle Adam Kaminski of the CIS-champion Alberta Golden Bears. Some of those selected to the team still have CIS eligibility, such as Laval Rouge et Or libero Nicholas Quirion and UNB left side hitter Davin St. Pierre, who's entering his second year with the national team. There are also plenty of CIS volleyball alumni on the team, including former Saskatchewan Huskies Michael Wiens, Mark Dodds and Kris Brand, former Alberta Golden Bears Brock Davidiuk and Dallas Soonias, former Queen's middle Adam Simac and former Manitoba Bisons Toon van Lankvelt, Mike Munday and Nathan Toews. Many of the other players selected also have CIS experience.

The women's side features a strong CIS flavour as well. Current Bisons Samantha Loewen and Ashley Voth cracked the squad, along with Bison alumnus Tammy Mahon. It's Voth's third-straight year on the senior national team, and she's only 19. Current UBC Thunderbirds Liz Cordonier, Jen Hinze, Marisa Field, and Kyla Richey are on the squad, as well as past Thunderbird Emily Cordonier (Liz's older sister). Three out of the four setters on the team have connections to the Alberta program: past Pandas Tiffany Dodds and Larissa Cundy made the squad, along with current Panda setter Daryll Roper. Current St. Mary's standout left side Kerri Smit, a member of the CIS All-Rookie team this past year, was also selected to the national side. Another prominent player with CIS connections is middle hitter Dayna Jansen Van Doorn of the Trinity Western Spartans, who will return for her senior year with the program in the fall after spending the summer with the national team. Much of the rest of the squad also has CIS connections, showing the prominent role university volleyball has in developing talent for the national teams.

This will be a bit of a lighter summer for the national sides, as they didn't qualify for the Beijing Olympics. The advantage of that is it allows for some younger players to be given more prominent roles in preparation for the 2010 World Championships and 2012 Olympic Games. Both programs will take part in the Pan-American Cup, which begins May 28: there will also be several exhibition matches spread over the summer.

- The official announcement at Volleyball Canada
- Some further analysis at Bomberino, a notable volleyball blog.
- A nice feature by Gary Ahuja of the Langley Times on Dayna Jansen Van Doorn, who's putting off knee surgery to compete for Canada.
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