Volleyball Canada brought its six national championship events together under one roof in 2012. Over 800 teams competed in 14 categories ranging from ages of 12 to 65 years old across 54 courts, in the biggest championship this country has ever seen. With over 45,000 athletes, coaches, officials, organizers, volunteers and spectators in attendance, the 2012 Canadian Open Volleyball Championship delivered exciting and intense competition.
The EUROhaus volleyball club was established in 2009 and participates in various competitive tournaments across the province against other club teams that are comprised of recently graduated university and college athletes. During the 2011-12 volleyball season, EUROhaus proved to be one of the most dominant and consistent teams, placing in the top three of each tournament.
This was the first time EUROhaus competed at the Canadian National Championships. This year's championships consisted of the top 10 adult teams in the country. EUROhaus came in to the tournament with the 6th seed. Day One of the tournament included round robin play. And at the conclusion of the first day, EUROhaus found itself atop its pool of 5 teams with a 3-1 record. The victories came against Nectar (Saskatchewan), Light Out (Ontario), and the Diggers (Ontario), with the only loss coming against a young Titans de Limolou CEGEP team (Quebec).
This record placed EUROhaus into the power pool portion on Day Two of the tournament, along with the 4 other top teams. EUROhaus had already secured a quarterfinal berth at this point and Day Two games for the power pool were played out merely for ranking in the quarterfinal matches. The team started out the day on a poor note, losing its first two matches in 3 sets to a solid Dalhousie alumni team (Nova Scotia) and the Lights Out team.
Nevertheless, the team regained its form by stealing a match from the top-seeded Ruffriders (Ontario). The team was blown out in the first set and even fended off a match point against them in the second set. They completed the comeback by taking the third set in dramatic fashion in front of many rowdy fans. EUROhaus took their momentum into their last power pool game against the Conseil International du Sport Militaire (CISM) team from Ontario. With a record of 2-2, EUROhaus ended the day placed third in the power pool.
This led to a quarterfinal match-up against the Titans de Limolou team, the same team that defeated EUROhaus in round robin on the first day. This match told a different story. The veteran EUROhaus team demonstrated their poise and controlled the game from beginning to end, dominating the young team from Quebec. The victory put the EUROhaus team into the semi-finals against the top team from Western Canada - FOG (Alberta). FOG has been a powerhouse on the adult club volleyball tour for many years, sporting former Team Canada players such as David Kantor and Marc Dunn. However, EUROhaus came out firing on all cylinders and proved too much to handle for the hall-of-fame team. EUROhaus took the semi-final 2-0 and moved on to the gold medal game.
It only seemed fitting to have EUROhaus and the Ruffriders play in the finals. These two teams often met in the finals of the various competitive tournaments during the season. Prior to this match, the teams had split their previous four meetings, with EUROhaus edging the Ruffriders in sets (taking 6 of 11). This set up a great battle for the fans to enjoy. The Ruffriders starting line-up comprised of 6 players who currently or previously played professional volleyball overseas, including former Ryerson stand-out, Ryan "Snake" Vandenburg (2003-2007).
The Ruffriders seemed very motivated for this game and jumped out to an early lead. Strong serving and offense prevented the EUROhaus team from gaining any streak of points during the set. A lack of consistency resulted in EUROhaus losing the first set 25-15. After some motivational speeches from some players during the break, the team was ready to focus on the next set. The team executed much better in the second set. They established a solid block and defense to stop the opposition's top gunners and were able to create transition opportunities. The score separation was no more than two points the entire set. With the set tied at 20-20, the Ruffriders served an ace and were able to stop one of the EUROhaus attacks. The teams traded points the rest of the way, with the Ruffriders finishing the second set 25-23 off a kill from Brett Dailey in the middle.
EUROhaus finished the tournament claiming the silver medal, with an overall match record of 7-4 (and set record of 16-11). These former and current Ryerson players (as well as the non-Ryerson players) can now consider themselves to be the second-best team in the country - quite an accomplishment for this squad.
The team would like to thank its tournament sponsor for his support throughout the whole season, as well as Mirek Porosa and Ryerson University for providing training facilities.
EUROhaus 2012 National Championship Roster
Alex Dawson (Ryerson University)
Jon Houston (Seneca College)
Roman Kabanov (Ryerson University)
Oleg Kovalchuk (Ryerson University)
Roger Marszalek (Ryerson University)
Greg McDonald (Ryerson University)
Chris McLaughlin (Ryerson University)
Aleksa Miladinovic (Ryerson University)
Lukas Porosa (Ryerson University)
Shaun Powell (George Mason University)
Marc Reardon (Ryerson University)
Ray Szeto (York University)