Mitch Irvine named Most Valuable Player, Kenny Rooney top rookie


February 22, 2013, Edomonton, AB (ISN) – Alberta Golden Bears volleyball student-athlete Mitch Irvine has been named the 2013 Canada West Most Valuable Player.

The fifth-year right side hitter, who is originally from Red Deer, Alta., finished fourth in kills per set (3.83) and third in points per set (4.42). In 75 sets play, the former ACAC Player of the Year recorded 287 kills, a .268 hitting percentage, 19 service aces, a .781 serve percentage, 331 points, 166 digs, and 48 blocks. As a team, the #1-ranked Golden Bears led CIS in kills per set, registering 13.81, as well as points per set with 17.5.

Irvine, a CIS First Team All-Canadian in 2012, helped the Golden Bears to an incredible 20-2 conference campaign, a Canada West record for wins in a single season. By virtue of a first-place finish, Alberta earned the top seed for the Canada West Final Four tournament, February 22-23.

“Mitch has consistently been one of our top set getters and has hit his way out of a lot of tough situations,” noted head coach Terry Danyluk. “His backcourt defense has also made him a two way player as he has led our team in digs several times including, a season high.”

Kenny Rooney of the Manitoba Bisons has been voted conference Rookie of the Year.

Rooney, 18, becomes the fourth Bison to win the conference rookie award. In his first year at Manitoba, he found his way into the starting lineup despite five fifth-year seniors on the roster. The 6-7, 220-pound middle hitter was sixth in conference hitting percentage at .389, recording 122 kills in the process, and was fifth in blocks with 1.28 per set. In addition, he added 22 digs, seven service aces, five assists while playing in 67 of 85 conference regular season sets during his inaugural CIS season.

Bison men’s volleyball head coach Garth Pischke talked about Rooney, “Kenny has had an excellent years for the Bisons. He has shown incredible poise and confidence for an 18 year old. Above all of that, he has been a pleasure to coach and has shown a 100% commitment to the team. His future in volleyball looks extremely bright!”

Also from the Manitoba Bisons, Dane Pischke has become the first Bison to be named as Dale Iwanoczko Student-Athlete Award nominee dating back to 1996-97.

The fifth year Asper School of Business (Management) student-athlete has been a four-time CIS Academic All-Canadian (2008-09 to ’11-12). He holds at GPA of 3.61 and is a double Major in Accounting/Finance. Pischke has been a member of the University of Manitoba Athletic Council (UMAC) for five years (2008-09 to ’12-13) that plan and co-ordinate Bison athlete activities and volunteer opportunities.

He was also a 2012 recipient of Sport Manitoba’s Princess Royal Pan Am Scholarship; 2012 and 2013 volunteer at Winnipeg Humane Society; 2012 Volleyball Manitoba-Provincial Championships Volunteer Coordinator; 2012 University of Manitoba/Team Canada-Sneaker Day Volunteer Assistant; 2012 Team Canada-National Team Challenge Cup (Volunteer Statistician); 2012 Bison Sports-Volunteer Officiating (Field of Play) at Maples Collegiate and University of Manitoba High School volleyball tournaments and five year volunteer assistant with Bison Volleyball Club.

Bison men’s volleyball head coach Garth Pischke commented, “Dane is an outstanding student in our Faculty of Management plus is an great athlete, competitor and teammate. He has been involved in community service his whole life and totally understands the benefits and rewards of giving back to the community. The greatest compliment I can give Dane is that he comes as close to the type of individual and human being that Dale Iwanoczko was while blending and excelling in all three components of this award.”

Fifth-year Alberta Golden Bears libero Erik Mattson has won the Libero of the Year award.

Mattson, originally from Toronto, banked 200 digs in 78 sets this season, for an average of 2.56 per set. The Golden Bears recorded the 8th most digs (10.71) in the country this season, while Mattson himself was sixth in the country in digs. A four-year starter with the Golden Bears, Mattson earned a national championship ring in his rookie season (2009), and since has become one of the steadiest liberos in conference history. He has 716 digs conference digs in his career as a Golden Bear, which places him fifth all-time in Canada West history.

“Erik’s desire to improve and his ball control skills have played a big part in his contribution to our team. He has challenged himself to get better each year with the Golden Bears and has made players around him better along the way,” said Golden Bears head coach Terry Danyluk.

For the fourth time in his career, Saskatchewan’s Brian Gavlas has been named Canada West men’s volleyball Coach of the Year.

Gavlas, in his 20th year at the helm of the Huskies, led the team to a dramatic turnaround in 2012-13.

Taking the Canada West by surprise this year, the Huskies, who have been ranked in the CIS Top 10 all season, went 15-7, finishing third after winning 12 of their last 14 matches. A year ago, the Huskies finished 4-16 and in 10th spot in the conference. Saskatchewan hosted a Canada West playoff series for the first time since 2004-05 and made an appearance in the postseason for the first time since 2006-07.

“Brian is a hardworking, dedicated coach who has returned his team to be among the best in the Canada West,” said U of S Athletic Director Basil Hughton. “With Brian’s leadership, this core group of athletes have worked hard over the last number of years to return our team to its place of prominence that it enjoyed in the 1990s and early 2000s. Brian is well-deserving of this award.”

In Gavlas’ 20-year career, the Huskie men’s volleyball team has appeared at the CIS Championship 10 times winning the crown in 1998-99 and 2003-04 and won the Canada West Championship four times. Gavlas, a former CIS champion setter, has a 194-151 career record behind the bench for the Huskies. He has been named Canada West Coach of the Year in 1995-96, 1997-98 and 2000-01 and CIS Coach of the Year in 2000-01.

Here are the 2012-13 men’s volleyball individual award winners and All-Stars:


MVP: Mitch Irvine, Alberta

Rookie of the Year: Kenny Rooney, Manitoba

Libero of the Year: Erik Mattson, Alberta

Dale Iwanoczko Student-Athlete Award nominee: Dane Pischke, Manitoba

Coach of the Year: Brian Gavlas, Saskatchewan

ALL-STARS (alphabetically by surname)

First Team Second Team

Nick Del Bianco, Trinity Western Tristan Aubry, Alberta

Chris Gilbert, Saskatchewan Brendan Black, Winnipeg

Mitch Irvine, Alberta Colton deMan, Mount Royal

Jay Olmstead, Alberta Bryan Fraser, Saskatchewan

Dane Pischke, Manitoba Steve Marshall, Trinity Western

Sam Tuivai, Brandon Milan Nikic, UBC

Previous selections / awards by this year’s winners…

Nick Del Bianco, TWU 2011 CIS All-Rookie

Mitch Irvine, AB 2012 CW 1st 2012 CIS 1st

Steven Marshall, TWU 2012 CW 2nd 2010 CW 1st 2010 CIS All-Tournament

Jay Olmstead, AB 2011 CW 2nd

Dane Pischke, Man 2012 CW 1st 2012 CIS 1st 2012 CIS All-Tournament

Award winners are now finalists for national awards, to be handed out by Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) at the 2013 national championship, hosted March 1-3 in Quebec City by Université Laval:

The Canada West Final Four event takes place on Friday and Saturday at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, where the top three finishers will qualify for CIS Nationals. Brandon is at Alberta in the early match on Friday night, with Trinity Western vs. UBC to follow. Bronze and gold medal matches are on Saturday night.