BURLINGTON, Ont. – Alex Duncan-Thibault (Scarborough, Ont.), a fifth-year middle from the York Lions, was named the East Division Player of the Year in Ontario University Athletics (OUA) men’s volleyball on Thursday morning.
Duncan-Thibault has also earned the prestigious Dale Iwanoczko Sportsman Award for outstanding achievements in volleyball, academics and community involvement. Other OUA major award recipients include University of Toronto Varsity Blues setter Jordan Figueira (Oakville, Ont.) who has been named OUA Rookie of the Year and York head coach Michael Wahbi who is this year’s OUA East Division Coach of the Year recipient.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Alex Duncan-Thibault, York
Duncan-Thibault becomes the first Lions player to be named OUA East Division Player of the Year after he led the league, averaging 4.50 kills per set.
The 6-foot-7, 205 lbs middle also finished first in the league in both blocks (72) and points (355.5). In addition, the Scarborough, Ont. native also ranked inside the top 10 in several key statistical categories, including: attacks (553), hitting percentage (.371) and aces (23).
Duncan-Thibault was instrumental in the Lions success this season, as York put together a 15-3 regular season record and finished atop the OUA East Division.
In addition to being named OUA East Division Player of the Year and a first-team all-star, Duncan-Thibault was also honoured with the prestigious Dale Iwanoczko Sportsman Award for his contributions off the court.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Jordan Figueira, Toronto
Toronto freshman setter Jordan Figueira has been named OUA East Division Rookie of the Year after the Oakville, Ont. native fuelled the Blues offence this season.
Appearing in all 18 matches in his first season in the conference, Figueria, who is enrolled in commerce at the University of Toronto, ranked sixth among OUA setters, averaging 9.12 assists per set. In addition, the 6-foot-0 setter also finished inside the OUA Top 10 with 1.87 digs per set.
In just his inaugural season with the Blues, Figueria also led Toronto in both sets played (68) and service aces (18). In 12 of the Blues’ 18 matches this season, Figureira logged more than 30 assists.
Figueira becomes just the second Varsity Blues player since the 1996-97 season to win the award and first since former Toronto standout Jonathan So captured East Division honours back in 2000-01.
DALE IWANOCZKO AWARD (volleyball, academics & community service): Alex Duncan-Thibault, York
As captain of the Lions men’s volleyball team, Duncan-Thibault is a leader and ambassador for York both on and off the court.
Working alongside administrators and the coaching staff, Duncan-Thibault is constantly trying to push the program in the best possible direction. In addition to mentoring first year student-athletes and working alongside his veteran teammates, he’s also taken on an active role in planning team travel itineraries, laundry services and is a true leader during the team’s athlete based video sessions.
In the community, he’s involved with the Chinese Christian Softball Association and has taken on a volunteer coaching role at École secondaire Étienne-Brûlé.
Duncan-Thibault is the first Lions player since Greg Ivan in 2013-14 to win the award and third since it was established in 1994.
COACH OF THE YEAR: Michael Wahbi, York
Lions head coach Michael Wahbi returned to the Lions on an interim basis in 2016 and guided the team to one of their best seasons in recent memory.
Under the watchful eye of Wahbi, the Lions finished atop the OUA East Division with a 15-3 regular season record. York led the league in several key offensive categories in 2016-17, including: assists (11.39), blocks (2.96) and points (16.4) per set.
Wahbi, who has been involved in various levels of coaching for the past 15 years, previously was the assistant coach with the Lions from 2004-10. However, this is his first OUA Coach of the Year award and he becomes the first member of the Lions to win the award since former coach Wally Dyba earned the honour in back-to-back seasons from 1996-98.
OUA ALL-STAR AND ALL-ROOKIE TEAMS
Both the OUA East Division first- and second-team all-stars, as well as the OUA all-rookies were also announced on Thursday morning.
Joining Alex Duncan-Thibault as OUA first-team all-stars is his Lions teammate and setter Logan Mend (Naramata, BC), from Ryerson outside hitter Lucas Coleman (Brooklin, Ont.), middle blocker Uchenna Ofoha (Markham, Ont.), and setter Adam Anagnostopoulos (Waterloo, Ont.), as well as Nipissing Lakers outside hitter Steven Wood (Newcastle, Ont.).
Lakers middles Jack Peckham (Hamilton, Ont.) and Warren Taylor (Ottawa, Ont.), Toronto right William Colucci (Toronto, Ont.), RMC Paladins outside hitter Dale Towe (Caledon, Ont.), Ryerson outside hitter Brendan Kewin (Milton, Ont.), York middle Toure Nwakwesi (Brampton, Ont.) and Queen’s Gaels setter Jamie Wright (Kingston, Ont.) make up the OUA second-team this season.
In addition to OUA Rookie of the Year Jordan Figueria from Toronto, the OUA East Division all-rookie team is made up of left Nicholas Trewern (Aurora, Ont.) also from the Varsity Blues, Gaels outside hitter Joel Rudd (Cambridge, Ont.), middle Malcolm Prentice (Oakville, Ont.) and libero Lukas Kaufman (Statford, Ont.), Ryerson outside hitter/libero Taylor Jordan (London, Ont.) and Lakers middle Randy Beauchamp (New Liskeard, Ont.).
OUA Major Award Winners
Player of the Year: Alex Dunacan-Thibault – York Lions
Rookie of the Year: Jordan Figueira – Toronto Varsity Blues
Award of Merit: Alex Dunacan-Thibault – York Lions
Coach of the Year: Michael Wahbi – York Lions
OUA First-Team All-Stars
Alex Dunacan-Thibault – York Lions
Logan Mend – York Lions
Lucas Coleman – Ryerson Rams
Uchenna Ofoha – Ryerson Rams
Adam Anagnostopoulos – Ryerson Rams
Steven Wood – Nipissing Lakers
Markus Trence – Queen’s Gaels
OUA Second-Team All-Stars
Jack Peckham – Nipissing Lakers
Warren Taylor – Nipissing Lakers
William Colucci – Toronto Varsity Blues
Dale Towe – RMC Paladins
Jamie Wright – Queen’s Gaels
Toure Nwakwesi – York Lions
Brendan Kewin – Ryerson Rams
OUA All-Rookie Team
Jordan Figueira – Toronto Varsity Blues
Nicholas Trewern – Toronto Varsity Blues
Joel Rudd – Queen’s Gaels
Malcolm Prentice – Queen’s Gaels
Lukas Kaufman – Queen’s Gaels
Taylor Jordan – Ryerson Rams
Randy Beauchamp – Nipissing Lakers