SPARTANS ALUM HELP CANADA QUALIFY FOR RIO OLYMPICS

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The Rio 2016 Olympic Games men’s volleyball tournament runs from Aug. 7 until Aug. 21.

LANGLEY, British Columbia – For the first time ever, the Trinity Western Spartans alumni will be represented at the Olympic Games, as three former men’s volleyball players – Steven Marshall (Abbotsford, B.C.), Dan Jansen Van Doorn (Langley) and Rudy Verhoeff (Calgary) – helped Canada qualify for Rio 2016 with a fourth place finish at the FIVB World Olympic Qualification Tournament in Japan this past weekend.

With Marshall playing a starting role on the left side and both Jansen Van Doorn and Verhoeff coming off the bench, Canada claimed an Olympic berth for the first time since 1992.

A tournament-ending win over China helped Canada to a 4-3 overall record and gave the Maple Volleys one of four tickets to Rio that were granted at the last-chance qualification tournament.

Marshall, who became a regular starter as the tournament progressed, finished with 26 kills, two blocks and one ace, while Jansen Van Doorn had 24 kills, 10 blocks and three aces over the course of the event and Verhoeff, who was the team’s captain, had five kills, one block and one ace.

At the Olympics, Canada will be in Pool A, along with Brazil, Italy, USA, France and Mexico. The top four sides from each pool will move on to the elimination round. The pools were allocated using the serpentine system, with those with the highest world ranking as of January 1, 2016 drawn first into Pool B after hosts Brazil (who are automatically placed in Pool A).

The Rio 2016 Olympic Games men’s volleyball tournament runs from Aug. 7 until Aug. 21.

While former Spartans will play a large role in Canada’s indoor volleyball aspirations, former TWU setter Chaim Schalk (Red Deer, Alta.) is on the verge of qualifying for Rio on the beach. Schalk and his beach partner Ben Saxton currently sit 13th in the FIVB World Tour rankings with the top 15 teams earning a spot in the 24-team Olympic field. This week’s Hamburg Major marks the final event of the qualifying season.

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