Photo by Alex D'Addese

Four Rams honoured by OUA ahead of semifinal

By Ontario University Athletics (OUA)

BURLINGTON, Ont. – Ontario University Athletics (OUA) is pleased to announce the men’s volleyball major award winners and all-stars from the East Division.

Player of the Year: Lucas Coleman, Ryerson Rams
For the first time since the 2005-06 campaign, the Ryerson Rams boast the division’s top player, as Lucas Coleman (Brooklin, Ont.) has earned the East Division Player of the Year award.

Not only did the senior help lead his Rams squad to the division’s top seed, but he did so on the back of incredible individual success. Not the least of his impressive stats comes in the form of his hitting ability, which saw Coleman rank second in the OUA in kills per set (4.04) and a seventh-ranked hitting percentage (0.294). This offensive prowess led to the outside hitter earning an average of 4.7 points per set (T-1st in OUA).

Coleman, who is also named a 2017-18 First-Team All-Star, added 1.36 digs per set, 0.55 blocks per set, and 0.25 service aces per set in his award-winning season, showing that not only is he a key cog at the net, but all over the court for the East Division standout Rams.

Rookie of the Year: Zane Grossinger, Queen’s Gaels
One of the big reasons for the Queen’s Gaels successes this season is the impressive first-year efforts from setter Zane Grossinger (Richmond Hill, Ont.), and for his dynamic debut, he has been named the East Division’s Rookie of the Year.

When it came to the first year setting, few were better in the entire OUA, as Grossinger connected on nearly 10 assists per set (9.72). For his efforts in setting up his talented teammates, Grossinger ranked third in the conference, but his contributions didn’t stop there.

The Richmond Hill, Ont. native also chipped in with a top-15 mark in digs per set (1.87), along with a solid 0.20 service aces per set as well. For his efforts in helping the Gaels to a 9-8 record on the season, Grossinger becomes the second Gael to win Rookie of the Year honours in the last three season, and the fifth overall in the program’s history.

Dale Iwanoczko Award: Spencer Dakin Kuiper, York
The York Lions have had several on-court standouts over the years, but the school has also done well to boast well-rounded student-athletes, just like 2017-18 Dale Iwanoczko Award winner Spencer Dakin Kuiper (Lethbridge, Alta.).

Dakin Kuiper becomes the fourth Lion in the last seven years to earn the award, which recognizes contributions across athletics, academics, and community involvement, and has done so by emerging as one of the team’s true leaders, both on and off the court. In the process of closing out his varsity career, the Academic All-Canadian took on numerous leadership events both for the volleyball program and the school, making his mark across the board for the York community.

Coach of the Year: Brenda Willis, Queen’s Gaels
Rounding out the East Division’s major award winners is someone who has had a major impact not on the court, but from the sidelines, as Queen’s Gaels coach Brenda Willis has been named the 2017-18 East Division Coach of the Year.

This is the fourth time in Willis’ career that she has won the award, but the first in over a decade. The veteran coach led the Queen’s Gaels to a 9-8 record this season, but was able to play a key role in a team that not only boasts three all-stars and two all-rookies, but also the Rookie of the Year.

For the season, the Tricolour ranked second in kills per set (12.15) second in assists per set (11.31), and second in digs per set (10.85). Not only were the Gaels capable in these facets, but they also minimized the errors, in the form of a second-ranked total in ball handling miscues (6) and fourth-ranked total in hitting (335).

OUA All-Star and All-Rookie Teams
Headlined by Player of the Year Coleman, there are plenty of standouts on this year’s talent-laden all-star and all-rookie squads; showcasing the balance and skill from across the division.

Setter Adam Anagnostopoulos (Waterloo, Ont.) joins Coleman in representing the Rams as First-Team All-Stars. A pair of Nipissing Lakers, meanwhile, has also earned First-Team nods, with outside hitter Steve Wood (Newcastle, Ont.) doubling down on last year’s all-star honours and outside hitter Cameron Branch (Kingsville, Ont.) earning a spot for the first time. Fifth year outside hitter Markus Trence (Hockley Valley, Ont.) will once again represent the Queen’s Gaels as a First-Team All-Star, while a pair of York Lions veterans – setter Logan Mend (Naramata, B.C.) and outside hitter Andrew Shotbolt (Markham, Ont.) complete the First-Team roster.

Top rookie Grossinger headlines the Second-Team All-Star, but will also be joined by a veteran teammate from the Queen’s Gaels – middle Jack Peckham (Hamilton, Ont.). For the second straight year, Nipissing middle Warren Taylor (Ottawa, Ont.), RMC outside hitter Dale Towe (Caledon, Ont.), and Ryerson outside hitter Brendan Kewin (Milton, Ont.) earn Second-Team All-Star nods. Making the jump from All-Rookie Team to Second-Team All-Star, meanwhile, is Toronto setter Jordan Figueira (Oakville, Ont.), who is also joined by Varsity Blue outside hitter Alex Barnes (Toronto, Ont.).

Unsurprisingly, Grossinger stands atop the All-Rookie Team selections for the 2017-18 season as well, but is not the only first year to secure a solid freshman campaign. In fact, another of the rookie standouts is a fellow Gael, as Queen’s outside hitter Mitchell Neuert (Toronto, Ont.) is also an All-Rookie selection. Looking to maintain the Rams’ success moving forward, meanwhile, is middle Navreet Suhan (Mississauga, Ont.). The list of Lakers standouts extends to the All-Rookie squad as well, as libero Grant McPherson (Stratford, Ont.) and left side Liam Ludlow (Barrie, Ont.) have both been selected. Rounding out the first year team is a pair of Toronto natives from GTA schools – libero Daniel Tudor (Toronto, Ont.) from the Toronto Varsity Blues and outside hitter Andrew Tauhid (Toronto, Ont.) from the York Lions.

The complete list of the East Division major award winners and all-stars can be found below:

OUA Major Award Winners
Player of the Year (East) – Lucas Coleman, Ryerson
Rookie of the Year (East) – Zane Grossinger, Queen’s
Dale Iwanoczko Award of Merit (East) – Spencer Dakin Kuiper, York
Coach of the Year (East) – Brenda Willis, Queen’s

OUA First-Team All-Stars
Cameron Branch, Nipissing
Steve Wood, Nipissing
Markus Trence, Queen’s
Lucas Coleman, Ryerson
Adam Anagnostopoulos, Ryerson
Logan Mend, York
Andrew Shotbolt, York

OUA Second-Team All-Stars
Warren Taylor, Nipissing
Jack Peckham, Queen’s
Zane Grossinger, Queen’s
Dale Towe, RMC
Brendan Kewin, Ryerson
Alex Barnes, Toronto
Jordan Figueira, Toronto

OUA All-Rookie Team
Grant MacPherson, Nipissing
Liam Ludlow, Nipissing
Zane Grossinger, Queen’s
Mitchell Neuert, Queen’s
Navreet Suhan, Ryerson
Daniel Tudor, Toronto
Andrew Tauhid, York

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