Rosters announced for boys volleyball showcase
Thirty-nine of the region’s top high school boys volleyball players will be in action Thursday when the Niagara Knights men’s volleyball program hosts The Fourth Annual Niagara Region Boys Volleyball Showcase.
The event will be held at the Welland Campus Athletic Centre at 7 p.m and will feature players from 18 different high schools.
Niagara head coach Nathan Groenveld, a Welland Notre Dame alumnus, is quick to make the distinction that the game is a showcase and not an all-star game.
“We made it a showcase on purpose and what we want to do is grow the sport of volleyball in the Niagara region,” he said. “We want players to have an experience they might not otherwise get.”
Niagara high schools were invited to nominate players for the event and if multiple names are put forward, they are placed on opposing teams to add an additional level of friendly competition. Members of the Knights volleyball team serve as coaches for the game.
Players range in ability from provincial- and national-calibre players to the best players on their respective high schools teams.
“We include all the schools in Niagara because we want to get that sense of family in volleyball because it is a pretty niche sport,” Groenveld said. “It’s a celebration for the high school players that have put in a ton of work this year.
“We are giving them an opportunity to play on our centre court with the bleachers out and covered by our broadcasting program. It’s all about the experience for the players.”
Groenveld feels the state of volleyball in Niagara is excellent.
“We put kids on regional teams, we win OFSAA medals, our club teams do fantastic and our club teams send kids to other clubs,” he said. “It is absolutely growing.”
Many of the athletes that participate in the Niagara College showcase end up playing volleyball at the post-secondary level.
“For us in Niagara, that is really cool to see guys that have played in our showcase are playing at Brock, on our roster at Niagara and then everywhere at other various universities,” Groenveld said.
It is also one last kick at the can for some of the players
“It’s also trying to get an experience for kids who this is it for them,” he said.
Niagara College also hosts boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer and girls volleyball showcase events.
“We decided we needed to take a leadership position in the grassroots part of the volleyball community,” Groenveld said. “It is our job and our responsibility to give back to the community and this is one of the ways that we can do it.”
Below are the players selected for the game that will be broadcast live at goknights.ca/watchlive:
Jean Vanier: outside hitter Stephan Legagneur and setter Jacob Fontaine
Centennial: setter Kole Popat, middle blocker Anthony Perna
Smithville Christian: outside hitter Connor Vanderkuip and libero Jordan VanHerwynen.
Holy Cross: middle blocker/outside hitter Matt Ferron and opposite Adam Topolinsky.
Saint Michael: outside hitters Mathew Collison and Dan Kessler.
Saint Paul: outside hitter Alex Page and setter Matthew MacLean.
Thorold: setter Bailey Stewart and middle blocker/outside hitter Braydon Harrietha.
Stamford: setters Michael Levasseur and Ethan Wilding
Notre Dame: middle blocker Jesse Raso
Sir Winston Churchill: outside hitter Alexander Mrkalj and middle blocker Will Spencer
Greater Fort Erie: middle blocker Joel Coopman and outside hitter Ethan VanNatter
Eden: outside hitter Micah Nieuwets and setter Josiah Esau.
Blessed Trinity: setter Patrick Alvarez; middle blocker Dylan DiFabio and libero/setter Justin Levere.
E.L.Crossley: setter Matt Calverly and outside hitter Forest Turpel.
A.N. Myer: middle blocker Vangel Matic, Dallas Melnick; outside hitter Thomas Rigas-DiDomenico and libero Omesh Jayaweera
Beamsville: libero/outside hitter Andrew Sindall and middle blocker/outside hitter Tanner Vail
St. Francis: setter Dayton Follick and outside hitter Alex D’Elia.