Recruits have coach ready to start new season

After a season that fell short of reaching team goals, McMaster men’s volleyball coach Dave Preston is introducing an impressive group of recruits expected to help keep the Marauders in contention for Ontario University Athletics and Canadian Interuniversity Sports championships.

“The recruiting process has become increasingly competitive and I think we have secured the right student athletes to be successful the ‘McMaster Way’,” Preston said. “I really look forward to assisting these young men accomplish their goals while we all strive to achieve those of the men’s volleyball program as well.”

Committed to attend McMaster this September are seven outstanding high school players:

Jacob Siekierski, 6-foot-3 outside, from Kincardine District Secondary School and Team Ontario.

Seyar Karimi, 5-foot-7 libero, from Mississauga Rick Hansen Secondary School and Pakmen Volleyball.

Stephen Maar, 6-foot-8, outside, from Aurora Bill Crothers Secondary School and Toronto Crush Club.

Jayson McCarthy, 6-foot-9 outside, from Oshawa Monsignor Paul Dwyer Secondary School and Toronto Crush.

Shayne Herbert, 6-foot-1 outside, from Rick Hansen SS and Pakmen.

Dillon Phoenix, 6-foot-1 libero, from London Saunders Secondary School and Forest City Volleyball Club

Connor Parker, 6-foot, libero, from Ursuline College Chatham and the Chatham BallHawks Volleyball Club.

With lIberos Sean Lowe and Chris Spack not returning for the 2012-13 season, building some depth at that key defensive position was a recruiting priority.

“Getting the right player in the libero position can dramatically affect the offence, defense and transition game, and all three of the young men we are bringing in give us very different looks in that spot,” said Preston. “With a good positive rivalry mentality – the internal competition for that position will surely help our squad become the team we want to be. Connor is a former setter and a great hand passer. Dillon is very sound technically and understands the game at a very high level and Seyar is a natural leader and very fast.”

Also looking to add some offense on the outside, Preston believes Crush teammates Maar and McCarthy are capable of making an immediate impact, while Team Ontario veteran Siekierski and Herbert from Pakmen are also exciting prospects.

“These four outside hitters give us great depth and will challenge our returning players for spots right out of the block,” Preston said.

In viewing them as individuals, the coach said they are all very impressive.

“Stephen is a good passer and has a lightning quick hitting arm. He’s long at 6’8” but he can defend, too. He also provides us a back court threat out of the pipe. Jayson’s 6-9 frame gives us a great option on the right to help slow down some of the top OUA outside hitters. He has a good spin serve and is deceivingly quick for a big guy. Shayne is capable of playing both left and right side which gives us some great options. He has had tremendous coaching during his high school and club careers so his volleyball IQ is very high.

“Jacob is maybe one of the best athletes I’ve seen in a long time. With no club experience he has relied on his high school season and his family’s influence. A badminton and hockey all-star in high school as well, Jacob is just flat out fun to watch because the things he can do in the air are nothing short of remarkable.”

As evidence of the talent level donning Maroon this fall, Maar and McCarthy recently powered their Toronto Crush club team to the men’s 18U Tier 1 Gold medal at the Volleyball Canada Nationals, while Herbert helped his Pakmen team to the national final four at the same event. Although Siekierski did not play in the national championship, he is the only high school player to have made the 20U Provincial Team this summer.

Preston is anxious to get the season started.

“There are a number of adjustments student athletes need to make in their first year and each guy will adjust at his own rate. It’s good that we have a cast of returning outside hitters that none of these incoming guys need to step up right away, but if they make their adjustments quickly and are ready to go – they’re going.”