Succession plan to ensure future

In anticipation of an exodus of graduating players, the men’s volleyball team is bringing in a strong recruiting class

With five players on the men’s volleyball team entering their final year this season, Gaels coaching is starting a succession plan.

Head Coach Brenda Willis announced the recruitment of five Canadian high school players. The recruits will replace OUA all-stars like Joren Zeeman and Mike Amoroso. Willis said recruits shouldn’t expect much playing time until players like Zeeman and Amoroso graduate.

“Athletes that go to any ranked program don’t expect that they’ll start.”

Tyler Scheerhoorn, a 6’6 middle from Belleville, said that he’s excited to come to Queen’s.

“[The] volleyball program is the best in Ontario,” Scheerhoorn said. “All I’ve got to do is the hard work.” He added that he hopes to be a leader by his fourth or fifth year. “I’m excited for that.”

Scheerhoorn and Scott Brunet, a 6’7 middle from Calgary, are tall middles looking to replace Amoroso. Matt Bonshor, a 6’2 from BC, and Aaron Nusbaum, a 6’2 from Aurora, are outside hitters looking to replace Gaels passer, Niko Rukavina. 6’5 Stratford outside hitter, Mike Tomlinson, will look to take the place of Zeeman.

Willis said that her long term plan is to become a strong passing team that runs a fast, middle-driven offence.

The last time that the Gaels had this many fifth-year players was the 2006-07 season when the team beat the McMaster Marauders in the OUA finals, then lost both games in the CIS Championships.

“After they graduated, we finished second at the OUA championships for two successive years,” Willis said. “So, in creating the succession planning, we really didn’t drop very far.”

With up to nine players leaving next year, Willis said that she’s looking for quite a bit of mentoring for her recruits.

“They’re all such solid kids ... at least half of them will have to be starters [next year].”

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