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Langley, British Columbia – The Trinity Western women’s volleyball team will be representing Canada this fall as the Spartans will play as the Canadian entry in the inaugural U23 Pan American Women’s Volleyball Cup to be contested in Lima, Peru Sept. 2-9.

With the Trinity Western men’s team already set to represent Canada in the U23 Pan American Men’s Volleyball Cup, which runs Sept. 25-30 and will be hosted by the Langley Events Centre, it will be an all-Spartans contingent set to don the maple leaf on the international stage this fall.

“Trinity Western’s men’s and women’s volleyball teams are chalk full of good people doing a lot of good things – coaching in the community, working soup kitchens, working in orphanages, helping the disadvantaged, being givers in every sense of the word,” said Trinity Western athletic director Murray Hall. “Great things happen when you decide to be a giver, not a taker. Our volleyball teams are great examples and ambassadors of our unique Complete Champion Approach™ and I believe when you do good, good comes back. In this case, our volleyball teams have been given an opportunity of a lifetime to represent Canada and Langley in international sport. It’s an honour for both the teams, the athletic department the university.”

While the Spartans men’s volleyball team had a chance to represent Canada last year at the FIVB Club World Championship, for the Trinity Western women, it will be their first opportunity to wear the red and white as a team and, with that, a chance to launch their 2012-13 campaign by playing against some of the best university-aged players in the Americas.

“I think it’s always an incredible opportunity when you can put your country’s name and colours on your back,” said Spartans coach Ryan Hofer. “But to be able to do that with our team at Trinity Western adds another dimension and element that I’m really excited about.

“This is huge for us because the level of competition we’re going to face will be very high and it will set the standard for how we’ll train and how we’ll prepare moving forward.”

The U23 Pan American Cup is a new competition created jointly by the NORCECA (North America, Central America & Caribbean) and the South American Volleyball Confederations, and will feature the top teams from these zones. The event has been developed to provide an additional competitive opportunity for developing national team players who may be on the cusp of making their first appearances with their respective country’s senior level national teams. Athletes must be born in 1990 or later to be eligible to compete.

As Canada will not have a national team program with athletes in this age category together at this time of year, Volleyball Canada opted to ask a CIS program to host and participate in the event representing Canada. Trinity Western, who finished fifth at the 2012 CIS National Championship and third the year before, was up to the task. Other possible teams the Spartans will compete against in the event include Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the USA.

A confirmation on the participating countries and the schedule will be available in the coming weeks.

For Spartans setter Kelci French (Okotoks, Alta.) and middle Alicia Perrin (Creston, B.C.), this opportunity will be an extension of a summer already flavoured with international experience. Both French and Perrin helped Canada’s senior team to an eighth place finish at the 2012 Pan Am Cup, which ran July 12-20 in the Dominican Republic. And for French in particular, representing Canada has become rather commonplace this year after she also donned the red and white for the NORCECA Olympic qualification tournament earlier this spring.

Fellow Spartans Royal Richardson (Rocky Mountain House, Alta.) and Lauren Moncks (Standard, Alta.) also trained with Canada’s A/B national team, alongside French and Perrin, this summer but returned home shortly before the Pan Am Cup.