Season preview: Men’s volleyball team aiming for playoffs


The University of the Fraser Valley volleyball teams launch their PacWest regular season schedules in high-profile fashion this weekend – they take on their crosstown rivals, the Columbia Bible College Bearcats, in a home-and-home series.

On Friday, UFV hosts the Bearcats at the Envision Athletic Centre, with the women getting things started at 6 p.m. and the men following at 8 p.m. On Saturday, the two teams tangle again, this time at Columbia Place (women 6 p.m., men 8 p.m.).

With the regular season looming, we take a closer look at the Cascades men’s volleyball team.

Men’s volleyballers shooting for playoffs

First-year men’s coach Kyle Donen is aiming to guide the Cascades back to the PacWest post-season after a one-year absence.

“Our goal is to find some success,” said Donen, who takes the reins of a team which finished seventh in PacWest play last season with an 8-16 record. “I think that we have some significant pieces in place for us to do well, and most of the guys would probably agree that they underachieved last year and would like to rectify that. We’d like to put ourselves into a playoff spot, for sure.”

Fueling Donen’s confidence is a roster that boasts a great deal of depth.

Running the offence will be setter Ryan Thain, a fourth-year player who has excelled in the preseason.

In the middle, four-year PacWest veteran Connor Nickel brings experience and leadership, and he’s being pushed by a younger group which includes Robert Koenig – a towering 6’8” presence in his second year of eligibility – and rookies Tyler Lafreniere and Dayton Pagliericci.

On the outside, Donen believes he’s got a half-dozen players who can be productive when given the opportunity – returnees Josh Togeretz, Kurtis Stromdahl and Adam Chaplin among them.

There’s even depth at libero, as Chris Schmitke and Chris Yuill are jockeying for playing time.

“The mix that we’ve got is really good,” Donen said. “The younger guys are pushing the older guys, and the older guys are going the same thing back. The competition in practice is making my decisions harder, but as a coach, you like that.

“I’m not saying I’ll have a short leash, but we have guys who can step in on occasion if things aren’t going well. That’s what’s good about the team we’ve got.”