CIS men’s volleyball: TWU’s Del Bianco named player of the year

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Feb 25, 2015

SASKATOON (CIS) – Nick Del Bianco, a fifth-year left side hitter from Trinity Western University, was named the CIS player of the year in men’s volleyball, Wednesday morning.

Del Bianco, who hails from Surrey, B.C., became the third player in team history to be named CIS MVP, after setters Josh Howatson (2006-07) and Ben Ball (2011-12). He is also the 17th straight winner from the Canada West conference (including the defunct Great Plains conference).

Other major award recipients announced during the All-Canadian Breakfast held at Marquis Hall on the campus of the University of Saskatchewan were York outside hitter Josh Henderson, who was voted CIS rookie of the year; Queen’s Ivo Dramov, who was named the nation’s top libero; Mount Royal outside hitter Jordan Parkin, who received the Dale Iwanoczko Award for his excellence in volleyball, academics and community service; as well as McMaster bench boss Dave Preston, who became a three-time winner of the coach-of-the-year award.

The 2015 CIS championship gets underway Thursday in Saskatoon. All 11 matches from the eight-team competition will be webcast live on www.CIS-SIC.tv, including the Tantramar Trophy final Saturday at 7 p.m. Central Time.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Nick Del Bianco, Trinity Western

Del Bianco capped his university career by putting together one of the most dominant offensive seasons in Spartans history. 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 also averaged 3.92 kills per set, good for third in the conference and the second best average ever posted by a TWU player. Finally, he averaged a conference-best 0.57 service aces per set, which equaled the TWU single-season record.

After being named a second-team all-Canadian last year and a first-team member in 2013, Del Bianco culminates his time with TWU with a third straight CIS all-star nod. He was also named to the CIS all-rookie squad back in 2011.

His performance this season helped the Spartans to a second-place finish in Canada West with a sparkling 20-4 league mark.

“Nick is the poster child for what professionalism looks like as an amateur athlete,” said Spartans coach Ben Josephson. “His dedication away from the court, 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 player of the year 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.”

The other nominees were Dalhousie outside hitter Bryan Duquette, Laval outside Vicente Ignacio Parraguirre Villalobos and McMaster middle Danny Demyanenko.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Josh Henderson, York

Henderson put together an incredible freshman campaign to become the first-ever member of his program to receive CIS top-rookie honours.

The Scarborough, Ont., native, who came to York from the Onyx Volleyball Club and R.H. King Academy, uses his size – 6-foot-6, 260 pounds – and strength to dominate at the net. He made a splash in his first year in the OUA, finishing the season ranked sixth in kills per set (3.23) and points per set (3.9). He was also in the conference’s top 25 in digs per set (1.55) and blocks per set (0.64). In the Lions’ quarter-final victory over Queen’s, the outside hitter proved how dominant he can be, leading the team with 27.5 points on 22 kills, 4.5 blocks and a service ace in four sets.

In addition to earning the OUA rookie of the year award – the second in program history – he was recognized as a conference second-team all-star.

“Josh had the best rookie season we’ve ever seen at York and dominated in every facet of the game,” said interim head coach Mike Chumbley. “He made an immediate impact on our program from day one. He brings a totally different physical dimension to the team, and his presence on the court clearly affects our opponent’s shots and decision-making. He is a humble, quiet leader with a tremendous competitive spirit, and his work ethic in practice has raised the level of his teammates. We are so proud of how quickly he has excelled in the CIS.”

Memorial right side Jordan Smith, Laval outside Vicente Ignacio Parraguirre Villalobos and Mount Royal outside Tyler Schmidt were also in the running.

LIBERO OF THE YEAR: Ivo Dramov, Queen’s

Dramov is the first Queen’s Gael to win the CIS libero of the year award since its inception in 2003-04.

The third-year commerce student who hails from Plovdiv, Bulgaria came to Queen’s not only for its reputation for strong academics but also for its men’s volleyball program run by long-time head coach Brenda Willis.

Dramov had his most successful season for the tricolour finishing with 239 digs and averaging 3.37 per set. The defensive specialist’s digs per set mark was the best in Canada, while his total digs ranked him second in CIS. His season-high of 21 digs in a game also came in a three-set sweep for the Gaels while he proved to be as consistent as they come finishing with 10 or more digs in all but six games.

“Ivo has the highest volleyball IQ of any athlete I have coached in my 28 years at Queen’s,” said Willis. “It is like having a coach on the floor, in that he quarterbacks the serve receive and is constantly helping the other players with adjustments. This year despite being moved to position six, Ivo excelled not only as a receiver and defender but also as a secondary setter. His exceptional performance doesn’t end on the court either, as Ivo is also an Academic All-Canadian.”

The other finalists were Adam Sandeson of Dalhousie, Vincent Thibault-Bernier of Laval and Tyler Koslowsky of Trinity Western.

COACH OF THE YEAR: Dave Preston, McMaster

This is the 13th season that Dave Preston has paced the sidelines at McMaster as head coach. Under his direction, the Marauders have captured six OUA championships and have participated in seven CIS championship tournaments, bringing home silver and bronze medals from the last two national events.

The 2014-15 season marks the third time that Preston has been recognized by his peers as both the OUA and CIS coach of the year, having previously been honoured for the 2007-08 and 2012-13 seasons.

After dropping the OUA season opener to Western on October 17, Preston guided the Marauders to a 19-match winning streak in league play and a first-place conference finish, completing the year with a dominating 59 sets won and only five lost in 20 matches.

McMaster assumed the top spot in the national rankings on January 20th and held it for the remainder of the season. The Marauders are 26-1 record versus CIS competition heading into the national championship, including the tournament title at the prestigious Alden Cup in Florida.

“This award for Dave Preston is very well deserved,” said McMaster director of athletics and recreation Glen Grunwald. “It’s the third time he has been honoured as CIS coach of the year and I think that is proof that he is one of the best coaches in Canada, in any sport, and not just in men’s volleyball. He is a great representative of McMaster.”

Dalhousie’s Dan Ota, Montreal’s Georges Laplante and Brandon’s Grant Wilson were the other nominees.

DALE IWANOCZKO AWARD (volleyball, academics & community service): Jordan Parkin, Mount Royal

Parkin is the first MRU player to win a major award in CIS men’s volleyball.

The Calgary native 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, Parkin 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 Parkin’s work in the community that is perhaps the most impressive. He 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,” said coach Shawn Sky. “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.”

The other finalists were Brett LeDrew of UNB and Mike Tomlinson of Queen’s.

ALL-CANADIAN TEAMS

The all-Canadian teams were also announced on Wednesday.

Joining Del Bianco on the first unit were conference MVPs Danny Demyanenko of McMaster, Bryan Duquette of Dalhousie and Vicente Ignacio Parraguirre Villalobos of Laval, as well as Alberta left side Ryley Barnes, York outside hitter Ray Szeto and Thomson Rivers right side Brad Gunter, last year’s CIS MVP.

Demyanenko (2013 second team), Barnes (2014 second), Szeto (2014 second, 2013 first), Duquette (2013 second) and Gunter (2014 first) are all repeat all-Canadians.

This season’s second CIS all-star team is comprised of McMaster setter Austin Campion-Smith, Brandon right side Sebastien Steigmeier, Ryerson outside Lucas Coleman, Winnipeg outside Thomas Douglas-Powell, Dalhousie setter Jonathan Macdonald, Montreal middle Samuel Landry and Manitoba middle Ken Rooney.

Campion-Smith (2014 & 2013 second team), Macdonald (2014 second) and Landry (2014 second) had been honoured at the national level in previous years.

Joining Henderson as CIS all-freshmen are Laval’s Parraguirre Villalobos, Mount Royal outside Tyler Schmidt, Alberta left side Alex McMullin, McMaster outside Andrew Richards, Montreal power Philippe Carrier and Saskatchewan left side Colin Fraser.

2014-2015 CIS MEN’S VOLLEYBALL AWARDS & ALL-CANADIANS

Player of the year: Nick Del Bianco, Trinity Western
Rookie of the year: Josh Henderson, York
Libero of the year: Ivo Dramov, Queen’s
Coach of the year: Dave Preston, McMaster
Dale Iwanoczko Award (volleyball, academics & community service): Jordan Parkin, Mount Royal

First Team

Pos. – Athlete – University – Year – Hometown – Faculty

LS – Nick Del Bianco – TWU – 5 – Surrey, B.C. – Management
M – Danny Demyanenko – McMaster – 3 – Toronto, Ont. – Justice, Pol. & Law
LS – Ryley Barnes – Alberta – 4 – St. Paul, Alta. – Phys. Ed. & Recreation
OH – Ray Szeto – York – 5 – Sutton, Ont. – Psychology
OH – Bryan Duquette – Dalhousie – 5 – St. Thomas, Ont. – Kinesiology
RS – Brad Gunter – TRU – 4 – Courtenay, B.C. – Science
OH – Vicente Ignacio Parraguirre Villalobos – Laval – 1 – Santiago, Chile – Business Admin.

Second Team

S – Austin Campion-Smith – McMaster – 5 – Bowmanville, Ont. – Geography
RS – Sebastien Steigmeier – Brandon – 5 – Geneva, Switzerland – Physical Education
OH – Lucas Coleman – Ryerson – 2 – Brooklin, Ont. – Professional Comms
OH – Thomas Douglas-Powell – Winnipeg – 5 – Brisbane, Australia – History / Classics
S – Jonathan Macdonald – Dalhousie – 4 – Halifax, N.S. – Management
M – Samuel Landry – Montreal – 4 – St. Alexandre, Que. – Physical Education
M – Ken Rooney – Manitoba – 3 – Winnipeg, Man. – Business

All-Rookie Team

OH – Josh Henderson – York – 1 – Scarborough, Ont. – Liberal Arts
OH – Tyler Schmidt – Mount Royal – 1 – Calgary, Alta. – Business
PH – Vicente Ignacio Parraguirre Villalobos – Laval – 1 – Santiago, Chile – Business Admin.
LS – Alex McMullin – Alberta – 1 – Brisbane, Australia – Phys. Ed. & Recreation
OH – Andrew Richards – McMaster – 1 – London, Ont. – Humanities
PH – Philippe Carrier – Montreal – 1 – Gatineau, Que. – Administration
LS – Colin Fraser – Saskatchewan – 1 – Saskatoon, Sask. – Business

About Canadian Interuniversity Sport

Canadian Interuniversity Sport is the national governing body of university sport in Canada. Every year, over 11,500 student-athletes and 700 coaches from 56 universities and four regional associations vie for 21 national championships in 12 different sports. CIS also provides high performance international opportunities for Canadian student-athletes at Winter and Summer Universiades, as well as numerous world university championships. For further information, visit www.cis-sic.ca or follow us on:

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