Remember the Summer of Love in the `60s? While the Dinos men's volleyball may have had some good lovin', it's actually been a summer of hard training.
With the departure of fifth-year players like Bill Byma, Mark Ellingson and Wes Montgomery, the Dinos picked up some new players to fill the gaps. Namely, Paul Armbruster, Chris Galenzoski, Jamie Kubik and Kelly Cherniwchen. Coach Greg Ryan is excited for the new season and is fully confident the new team will be as efficient as a European sedan.
"I think we're going to be very, very different than we have been in the past," says Ryan. "We're going to be bigger in the middle than we were last year. Our setters will be a little short on experience to start, but it won't be very long before we get them straightened around." Ryan sees the team being a bit more straight ahead than last year but he also thinks they will be as efficient."
Newly-minted team captain Steve Brand shares Ryan's enthusiasm, but misses his ex-teammates.
"I miss Billy and Wes' leadership and Mark," muses Brand. "Volleyball was a business to Mark. But guys will fill in those spots."
Future men's volleyballers and team members will strut their stuff during training Sept. 11. Ryan has seen some of the players in action during high-school volleyball camps but Brand is eager for training camp.
"There are lots of new guys so tryouts are going to be a battle," states Brand. "Guys that trained the hardest during the summer are going to make it."
Members that got in extra training include Jon Rowe and Glen Handly who played for British Columbia and Alberta at the Canada Summer Games respectively. Both B.C. and Alberta won medals indicative of the west's general domination in volleyball. Denis Zhukov also plied his trademark this summer. He competed for his home country of Kazakhstan at the world university games in Beijing.
Unlike kids starting at a new school, newcomer Kubik is especially excited to start training with Ryan and his teammates.
"I really look forward to the high quality coaching, hopefully I can benefit the team in whatever way Greg sees fit."
Another change affecting the team is the reshuffling of the Canada West division. Previously the division consisted of the University of British Columbia, Trinity Western University, the University of Alberta, the U of C, the University of Manitoba and University of Saskatchewan. Now, Canada West is only four teams: the two B.C. squads, the U of A and the U of C.
Ryan makes a bold prediction for the next Canadian Interuniversity Sports, (the CIS was formerly called the Canadian Interuniversity Athletics Union) champion based on the volleyball results at the Canada Games.
"The west is the best. Whoever gets out of the playoffs in the West is going to win the [CIS championship]."