It is unbelieveable that 4 months have past since my last entry! Where has the summer gone? With holidays behind me, I am starting to prepare for our upcoming selection process, the team-building stage and the 2012-13 season.
We have five very good recruits coming in, and I expect that there will be a very competitive open tryout as well, as there is still room for one or two more players to earn their way onto the squad.
In case you haven't seen it on facebook for the website, here is a brief synopsis of the incoming class.
Ivo Dramov – 6'3” – Libero – Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Dramov has spent the last two years as a member of the Bulgarian Youth National Team. At the 2011 World Youth Championship, he helped Bulgaria to a sixth place finish, finishing second in total digs with 103 and third in digs per set (3.32). Earlier, he helped Bulgaria to fourth place at the 2011 European Championship, and second place at the 2010 Balkan Championship, where he was voted best Libero.
Markus Trence – 6'4” – Outside Hitter – Orangeville, Ont. / Robert F. Hall C.S.S.
Trence joins the Gaels from Robert F. Hall Catholic Secondary in Orangeville, and the Mississauga Pakmen club. A highly sought-after recruit, Trence is a big banger with very polished all-around skills. In his five years of club and beach volleyball experience, he showed impressive aggressiveness and tactical intelligence.
Matt Golas – 6'5” – Outside Hitter – Etobicoke, Ont. / Father John Redmond C.H.S.
Golas is a member of the national team program in Beach Volleyball, and will compete on the OVA and National Beach tour this summer with future teammate Aaron Nusbaum. Inside, Golas has played for both the Toronto West Volleyball Club and the Toronto Thunderbolts. He also attended the OVA High Performance Centre last season.
Will Hoey – 6'10” – Middle Blocker – Brampton, Ont. / Mayfield Secondary
Hoey also attended the OVA High Performance Centre last season, and played with Trence on the Mississauga Pakmen. He helped the Pakmen to fourth place at last year's 18U National Championship. This summer, Hoey will represent Canada at the U19 World Beach Championships, only the sixth Gael to have this opportunity.
Austin Payne – 6'3” – Outside Hitter – Kingston, Ont. / Regiopolis-Notre Dame
Payne is already a champion, having led Regiopolis Notre Dame to an OFSAA gold medal in 2010, and silver in 2011. At the club level, he was team captain and MVP of the Kingston Pegasus for four years, attended the OVA High Performance Centre twice and was co-captain of Region 6 at the Ontario Summer Games.
We will have a young team next season, at least in terms of CIS experience. We will definitely have a new look, but I think we will have all the makings of a very good team. Our squad will have great size, great athletes, great people and youthful enthusiasm.
We will need quite a few matches to get to the point that we are playing like veterans, so our priority is to play as many matches going into the season as possible. We will hold an alumni game on September 15th, head to The Leasebank Invitational at Ryerson on the 28th of September, then play hosts to Guelph for a couple matches on Thanksgiving weekend, then we will host our annual invitational on the 12-14th, and finally; we will head up to Montreal for a few matches on the 19th of October.
With these 12 matches, before the season starts, I believe we will be able to sort out our line-up options, develop both experience and cohesion, and give ourselves a good chance at being ready for the league to kick-off.
This could be the biggest team I have ever coached (in terms of height), and it poses to be a very strong team, in time. The big question is simply, how much time?
With almost all of our top guys leaving, most positions are available and every athlete will have a chance to step up and own a key role. That internal competition for spots on the floor makes for great intensity, and I'm excited to return the program to that environment.
Bring it on!!!