The good news just keeps on coming for the McMaster men’s volleyball team. The conclusion of the National Team Challenge Cup competition, held at the national training centre in Gatineau, saw several Marauders’ players and recruits recognized for their outstanding play.
The Challenge Cup brings together various provincial teams with rosters that haven under-20 age limit, for a tournament style competition. This year’s event also served as an evaluation tool to help select the roster for the Canadian Junior National Team, being coached this year by McMaster coach Dave Preston. Players had to be under-19 to be eligible for the Canadian junior squad.
The winning team was Ontario Black, one of three Ontario teams competing. Black defeated Quebec Élite in the final. Named to the Challenge Cup tournament All-Star team were Marauders players Austin Smith and Jori Mantha, while recently announced recruit Danny Demyanenko was named the Most Valuable Player of the competition.
Marauder fans got more reason to be excited when the junior national team roster was announced, as it included Demyanenko, fellow Mac recruit Stephen Maar, and current Marauder Daniel Groenveld. All three players will accompany Preston to the Junior NOCECA Championship tournament, being held in Colorado Springs, Colorado from Aug. 24 to Sept. 2.
NORCECA is the zone designation for North America, Central America, and Caribbean volleyball federations.
McMaster assistant coach Parrish Offer was in charge of Team Ontario Red for the Challenge Cup and saw his team finish seventh overall, but also enjoyed seeing so many Marauders dominate the competition.
“It truly was an excellent week for Ontario Volleyball, and extra special for our McMaster volleyball family. It is unprecedented for us to have such a young strong core be recognized as all-stars and be selected to the Junior National Team. Now that Team Ontario is over, I am really looking forward to this fall.”
The Canadian Junior Team is currently still training in Gatineau, but Preston will be bringing the team to McMaster for a week-long training camp on Aug. 5, as part of preparations for the NORCECA tournament.