SCLATER NAMED CANADA WEST PLAYER OF THE YEAR, LOEPPKY ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

SCLATER NAMED CANADA WEST PLAYER OF THE YEAR, LOEPPKY ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

LANGLEY, British Columbia – Trinity Western men’s volleyball fifth-year star Ryan Sclater (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) is the Canada West Player of the Year, while first-year Eric Loeppky (Steinbach, Man.) is the conference’s Rookie of the Year.

Sclater had one of the most dominant attacking seasons in both Spartans and Canada West history, averaging 4.29 kills per set, while collecting a whopping 369 total kills. His kill count was the ninth most in conference history and set TWU’s all-time record. Sclater also finished the year with 427.5 points, which is the fifth best single-season Canada West performance ever. Sclater finishes his career as a three-time conference all-star and helped TWU to a program best 21 regular season wins this year.

“Ryan’s year was special,” said Spartans coach Ben Josephson. “We’ve had some great outside players come through here and the year he put together is statistically the best outside season we’ve ever seen. We’ve had him play left and right for the majority of the season and he’s been equally efficient at both. He’s a pretty special player. Not a lot of athletes I’ve had can play both sides and play that many different roles at a high level every single weekend. He has been incredible all season long and is very deserving of this award.”

Also taking home a major award for the Spartans was Eric Loepkky, who named Rookie of the Year after a stellar opening season at the university level. Loeppky led all Canada West servers in aces per set, with 0.55 and finished second on the Spartans – trailing only Sclater – with an average of 3.03 kills per set.

“Eric’s year was surprising and unsurprising at the same time,” Josephson said. “It’s surprising in that rookies don’t usually play that polished. Most rookies have holes in their games and he doesn’t really have a lot of holes. He’s maybe our best receiver, he’s a great server, he’s a solid defender and he’s an incredible attacker. The crazy part is the sky is the limit. The part that’s not surprising is he’s been one of the best players in his age group his entire life. Anyone who has followed the game has seen him coming through the system knowing that he’s always been great and now he’s continued to be great. The best part is he’s just the best kid. He’s as good of a player as you’ll find as a rookie and he’s also the nicest and kindest person and a great teammate.”

Sclater is the fourth Spartan men’s volleyball player to win the Canada West Player of the Year award, following in the footsteps of Josh Howatson (2006-07), Ben Ball (2011-12) and Nick Del Bianco (2014-15). All three went on to win the U SPORTS Player of the Year awards.

Loeppky is the third Spartans men’s volleyball player to capture the Canada West Rookie of the Year award, with Chris Meehan (2001-02) and Adam Schriemer (2013-14) also earning the honour. Both previous winners also went to win the U SPORTS Rookie of the Year award.

Rounding out the major award winners are a pair of Manitoba Bisons.

The 2016-17 Student-Athlete Community Service award winner is Ken Rooney, who has been a four-year captain for the Herd. On the coaching side, Garth Pischke was selected this year’s best by his colleagues. Pischke, who competed for Canada at both the 1976 and 1984 Olympics, previously claimed the Great Plains Athletic Conference Coach of the Year award in 2000-01, but his award marks his first Canada West award win.

The conference’s 13 head coaches selected the major awards, along with the all-star and all-rookie teams, which were unveiled Monday, March 6.

All four major award winners – along with the Alberta Golden Bears, and UBC Thunderbirds – are in Winnipeg for the Canada West Men’s Volleyball Final Four at the University of Manitoba. Semifinal action is slated for Friday (4:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. (PT)), while medal games go Saturday (4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. (PT)).

All four teams at this weekend’s Final Four have secured their spot at the U SPORTS Men’s Volleyball Championship in Edmonton, which is set for March 17-19 at the University of Alberta.

2016-17 CW Men’s Volleyball Award Winners
Player of the Year
Ryan Sclater
Trinity Western
Outside hitter
5th-year
Port Coquitlam, B.C.

Fifth-year outside Ryan Sclater had one of the most dominant attacking seasons in both Spartans and Canada West history. Sclater finished the year averaging 4.29 kills per set, while collecting a whopping 369 total kills. His kill count was the ninth most in conference history and set TWU’s all-time record. Sclater also finished the year with 427.5 points, which is the fifth best single-season Canada West performance ever.

Sclater, who will finish his career as a three-time conference all-star, posted a remarkable .308 hitting percentage as the Spartans high-volume attacker while helping TWU to a program best 21 regular season wins.

The Port Coquitlam, B.C. native is now looking to become the second TWU player in three years to win the nation’s top player, after Nick Del Bianco claimed the award in 2014-15.

“Ryan’s year was special. We’ve had some great outside players come through here and the year he put together is statistically the best outside season we’ve ever seen. We’ve had him play left and right for the majority of the season and he’s been equally efficient at both. He’s a pretty special player. Not a lot of athletes I’ve had can play both sides and play that many different roles at a high level every single weekend. He has been incredible all season long and is very deserving of this award.” – Trinity Western head coach Ben Josephson.

Rookie of the Year
Eric Loeppky
Trinity Western
Outside hitter
Steinbach, Man.

The product of Steinbach, Man. stepped into one of Canada’s most prestigious volleyball programs and made an immediate impact that few before him have ever even approached.

Loeppky led all Canada West servers in aces per set, with 0.55, which was the seventh best single-season average in Canada West history. On the attack, Loeppky finished second on the Spartans to Canada West Player of the Year Ryan Sclater, with an average of 3.03 kills per set. His .285 hitting percentage was the eighth best in the conference, while his 3.9 points per set was the ninth most in Canada West and once again second only to Sclater amongst Spartans.

Loepkky is looking to become the third TWU Spartan to claim the national rookie of the year award, after Adam Schriemer (2013-14) and Chris Meehan (2001-02) previously earned the honour.

“Eric’s year was surprising and unsurprising at the same time. It’s surprising in that rookies don’t usually play that polished. Most rookies have holes in their games and he doesn’t really have a lot of holes. He’s maybe our best receiver, he’s a great server, he’s a solid defender and he’s an incredible attacker. The crazy part is the sky is the limit. The part that’s not surprising is he’s been one of the best players in his age group his entire life. Anyone who has followed the game has seen him coming through the system knowing that he’s always been great and now he’s continued to be great. The best part is he’s just the best kid. He’s as good of a player as you’ll find as a rookie and he’s also the nicest and kindest person and a great teammate.” – Trinity Western head coach Ben Josephson.

Student-Athlete Community Service Award
Ken Rooney
Manitoba
Middle
5th-year
Winnipeg, Man.

A four-year captain for the Bisons, Rooney has been a leader on and off the floor since the moment he joined the Manitoba program. The three-time Academic All-Canadian has served for four years on the Manitoba Bison Athletic Council, including the last two years as president. He has worked to coordinate two key outreach initiatives for the Bisons, helping to lead the Bisons Against Bullying program, as well as the Bison Book Buddies Program.

Rooney has also been a volunteer for Manitoba’s ‘I Love to Read’ program, which is a month-long celebration that is held each year to encourage reading, writing, and sharing in the joy of literacy. In addition to these volunteer commitments, Rooney also volunteers at the Siloam Mission, which is a Christian humanitarian organization that alleviates hardships and provides opportunities for change for those affected by homelessness.  

Rooney moves forward as the nominee for the U SPORTS Dale Iwanoczko Award as outstanding student-athlete.

“Ken is a fantastic role model for all of our student-athletes. He has taken on a leadership role both on and off the court and is always involved in some form of giving back. He has been one of my favourite athletes to coach over my career and his incredible work ethic is truly inspiring.” – Manitoba head coach Garth Pischke.

Coach of the Year
Garth Pischke
Manitoba

As one of the most successful and respected coaches in Canada, Garth Pischke is in his 35th head coach of the University of Manitoba men’s volleyball program. In the middle of that stint, Pischke served as head coach of the Canadian National Men’s Volleyball Team from 1996-2000 and guided them from 21st in the world rankings to No. 10.

During Pischke’s 35 years as the Bison men’s volleyball head coach, the Bisons have qualified for the U SPORTS national championship 26 times. With Pischke at the helm, the Bisons have collected nine national gold medals.

On January 14 this season, Pischke reached another milestone with his 1,300 overall match win. His 1,308 total wins is the most by a North American men’s volleyball coach all-time. Heading into the Canada West Final Four, the Winnipeg native now holds an overall coaching match record at 1,308-361 (78.4% winning percentage).

A two-time Olympian (1976 and 1984), Pischke was inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame in 1989, the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 1999, the Canadian Volleyball Hall of Fame in 2000, and the Manitoba High Schools Athletic Association Hall of Fame in 2009. He was also selected as the top Manitoba amateur athlete of the 20th century by the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame.

He now moves forward as the Canada West nominee for the U SPORTS Coach of the Year award.

“Garth’s selection as the Canada West Men’s Volleyball Coach of the Year is fantastic news for Bison Sports. His record is unparalleled in university volleyball and he continues to drive the success of our program. He achieved the milestone of 1300 overall wins as a Bison coach this season and led the Bisons team to a 20 game win streak in conference league play. We are excited and honored by this award given to Garth.” – Manitoba director of athletics and recreation Gene Muller.

About Canada West
Canada West is the premier athletic conference in the country and is home to champion student-athletes that excel on the field, in the classroom and in their communities. Canada West and its 17 member institutions commit to a student-athlete experience where competitive excellence, scholarship and sportsmanship contribute equally towards moulding outstanding graduates and community leaders.

Canada West – Training leaders, building champions.

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