Men’s Volleyball: Trinity Western’s Nick Del Bianco wins MVP

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Trinity Western Spartans Nick Del Bianco

(ISN) – NEW WESTMINSTER, BC – Trinity Western Spartans fifth-year outside hitter Nick Del Bianco is the 2014-15 Canada West men’s volleyball Most Valuable Player, the conference announced today.

The Surrey, BC native finished the regular season first in service aces per set (0.57) and third in kills per set (3.92), leading the Spartans to the second-best record in the conference at 20-4. They enter Game 2 of their Quarterfinal Series versus Thompson Rivers tonight at 8:00 pm PT riding a 14-game win streak.

Fellow Spartan Tyler Koslowsky was named Libero of the Year. The last time Trinity Western players won MVP and Libero of the Year on the same season was 2011-12, which coincided with the Spartans’ last conference championship.

Mount Royal Cougars outside hitters Tyler Schmidt and Jordan Parkin were honoured as well. Schmidt was voted Rookie of the Year, while Parkin was selected for the Student-Athlete Community Service Award.

Grant Wilson was named Coach of the Year after steering the Brandon Bobcats to a 19-5 record, which set a new school record.

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER. Fifth-year Trinity Western Spartan Nick Del Bianco capped his university career by putting together one of the most dominant offensive seasons in the Spartans’ illustrious history, earning him the Canada West Most Valuable Player award. The 6-foot-5, 185-pound left side averaged 4.9 points per set, which put him second in Canada West and first in the Spartans record books. He averaged 3.92 kills per set, which placed him third in Canada West and is the second best average ever posted by a TWU player. He also averaged a conference-best 0.57 service aces per set, which equaled the TWU single season record.

After being named a Canada West First Team All-Star each of the past two years, Del Bianco culminates his time with TWU with both a third straight First Team nod and his first MVP award.

Del Bianco is the third Spartans player to earn the Canada West MVP award after Ben Ball did so in 2011-12 and Josh Howatson did so in 2006-07.

“Nick is the poster child for what professionalism looks like as an amateur athlete,” said Spartans coach Ben Josephson. “His away from the court dedication in the weight room and the film room is second to none in our program. His focus on details in our small group training sessions is perfect. Even in our team warm ups, he is flawless in his approach to the smallest parts of each skill. Combine that laser-like focus with God-given athletic talent and that makes not only the 2014-15 Most Valuable Player but maybe the most complete volleyball player the Spartans men’s volleyball program has ever produced. I couldn’t be more proud of Nick or think of a more deserving recipient of this great honour.”

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR & ALL-ROOKIE TEAM. Tyler Schmidt is this season’s Canada West Rookie of the Year. The Calgary, Alberta native is the first male Mount Royal Cougar athlete to win top rookie honours. Carolyn O’Dwyer of the women’s program won the award two seasons ago.

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Mount Royal Cougar Tyler Schmidt

The outside hitter from Calgary, AB was exceptional this season. He was not only one of the most impressive rookies in 2014-15 but showed that he could match up with some of the best players in the entire conference. His numbers were staggering this season, leading Canada West rookies in seven of the top ten statistical categories (while not being any lower than third in the other three). His offensive numbers were second on the team only to fourth-year Jordan Parkyn.
“Tyler was so impressive this year. He exceeded the coaching staff’s expectations. He played four matches on the rightside and 20 matches on the leftside, having never played the leftside position before in club or high school. Tyler has such a fantastic work ethic, outlook and attitude. He picks up concepts very quickly. The best thing about him is that he is only scratching the surface of his potential,” said coach Shawn Sky.

Joining Schmidt on the All-Rookie Team are Adrian Dyck (Winnipeg), Colin Fraser (Saskatchewan), Byron Keturakis (UBC), Alex McMullin (Alberta) and Noah Miller (Regina).

LIBERO OF THE YEAR. Fourth-year Trinity Western Spartan Tyler Koslowsky earns his first Canada West Libero of the Year award after an impressive 2014-15 campaign in which he averaged 2.66 digs per set. The product of Abbotsford, BC hit double digits in digs 14 times this year and twice collected a season-high 17 digs.

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Trinity Western Spartan Tyler Koslowsky

Koslowsky has now put together three of the four best digs per set seasons in Spartans program history. His 2.66 digs per set puts him third in the TWU record books, behind his own 3.17 in 2012-13 and Jarrod Offereins’ 2.97 in 2011-12. Koslowsky joins Offereins, who won the Libero of the Year award in 2011-12, as the two Spartans who have earned the Canada West honour.

“Tyler has really worked hard to become the libero he is today,” said Spartans coach Ben Josephson. “Coming from a setting background in high school, he has had to work hard at his reception. His baseball background as a short stop has helped him immensely with respect to body orientation and lateral movement. These two non-libero training backgrounds have helped create the league’s most dynamic libero player. What he does for us is immeasurable. His ability to set our offence from the back half of the court, which reduces pressure on our setter and keeps us in higher percentage scoring situations, is one of the most important things anyone does on our team. Without that, our scoring potential reduces exponentially. His system awareness and gap control defensively is innate and his read from his position is impeccable. All that, combined with being one of our emotional leaders make his value to our team among the highest of all players and his selection as the Canada West Libero of the Year shows that the coaches in the league see his value as well. I’m very happy for him and this honour bestowed to him.”

COACH OF THE YEAR. In just his third season as Bobcats head coach, Grant Wilson led the Bobcats to the team’s best record in the program’s 10-year history. At 19-5, this year’s record shattered the team’s previous best record of 12-6 in 2009-10. It also gives Brandon the third longest Canada West active playoff streak at eight seasons, behind powerhouses Alberta and Trinity Western. In his previous two seasons, Wilson led the Bobcats to the team’s first Canada West league title in 2012-13 and a CIS bronze medal that same season.

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Coach Grant Wilson

Wilson has been with the Bobcat volleyball program since its inception, serving as an assistant coach under former coach and current Athletic Director Russ Paddock. Wilson is known for thinking outside the box and using tactics that other coaches might not entertain, leading the Bobcats to success in the process.

“Canada West Coach of the Year is well-deserved recognition for the success of our men’s volleyball program over the past three years, particularly this season,” says Paddock. “Our conference is the best in the country with many great programs, so to be recognized by his peers for his work and dedication is a great accomplishment.”

Wilson is only the second Bobcats coach to receive the award, and the first one since Paddock won in 2009-10.

STUDENT-ATHLETE COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD. Mount Royal outside hitter Jordan Parkyn is this year’s Canada West Student-Athlete Community Service Award winner and CIS nominee for the Dale Iwanoczko Award. The Dale Iwanoczko Award rewards excellence in the student-athlete. The recipient exhibits outstanding achievement in three areas: volleyball, academics and community involvement.

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Jordan Parkyn Mount Royal 

Jordan was one of the Cougars’ most important leaders on and off the court this season. The fourth-year Calgary Christian High School grad led the team in all major offensive categories. His 2.8 kills per set and 3.45 points per set ranked him in the top 20 in the conference and amongst the highest in the nation.

In the classroom Jordan is equally impressive. He holds a 4.0 GPA (fall semester) and has twice been honoured as an Academic All-Canadian. Jordan is an example to his teammates of what one can accomplish with hard work and strong time management skills.

It is Jordan’s work in the community that is perhaps the most impressive. Jordan is the president and co-founder of the Power to Change MRU campus group which encourages students to live well and consistently encourage positive and healthy lives. This past summer he spent six weeks in Uganda building an orphanage with the program. He also finds time during the volleyball season to involve himself in mentorship programs and tutoring for a wide range of advanced level university courses.

“Jordan is the model student-athlete. His work ethic is exceptional. He simply gets better as a student-athlete every semester, adding new components to his game and taking his academics to a new level. His community service and student leadership is unparalleled to anyone I have ever coached. The amount of time he commits to the community, his church and helping others in need is truly special. He possesses tremendous empathy for his teammates and fellow students. He embodies the concept of student-athlete,” said coach Shawn Sky.
FIRST & SECOND ALL-STAR TEAMS. Joining Del Bianco on the First Team All-Stars are 2013-14 MVP Brad Gunter (Thompson Rivers), Ryley Barnes (Alberta), Tom Douglas-Powell (Winnipeg), Ken Rooney (Manitoba) and Sebastien Steigmeier (Brandon). Rooney and Steigmeier are first-time All-Stars.

The Second Team consists of Mac McNicol (UBC), Ryan Sclater (Trinity Western), Paul Thomson (Saskatchewan), Sam Tuivai (Brandon), Brett Walsh (Alberta) and Keith West (Calgary). Only Sam Tuivai is a repeat All-Star, after having been previously selected to the First Team in 2012-13.

Complete list of 2014-15 Canada West Men’s Volleyball Awards winners:

Most Valuable Player: Nick Del Bianco, Trinity Western
Rookie of the Year: Tyler Schmidt, Mount Royal
Libero of the Year: Tyler Koslowsky, Trinity Western
Coach of the Year: Grant Wilson, Brandon
Student-Athlete Community Service Award: Jordan Parkin, Mount Royal
2014-15 Canada West First Team All-Stars (repeat-winners in bold):

Ryley Barnes, Alberta
Nick Del Bianco, Trinity Western
Tom Douglas-Powell, Winnipeg
Brad Gunter, Thompson Rivers
Ken Rooney, Manitoba
Sebastien Steigmeier, Brandon
2014-15 Canada West Second Team All-Stars (repeat-winners in bold):

Mac McNicol, UBC
Ryan Sclater, Trinity Western
Paul Thomson, Saskatchewan
Sam Tuivai, Brandon
Brett Walsh, Alberta
Keith West, Calgary
2014-15 Canada West All-Rookie Team:

Adrian Dyck, Winnipeg
Colin Fraser, Saskatchewan
Byron Keturakis, UBC
Alex McMullin, Alberta
Noah Miller, Regina
Tyler Schmidt, Mount Royal

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