It’s only fitting that the volleyball player of the year in Ontario University Athletics is a member of the team that resided at No. 1 in the national rankings for half the season. McMaster’s fourth-year outside hitter Jori Mantha was named OUA men’s Player of the Year as the major award winners and all-stars, sponsored by Mikasa Sports, were announced Tuesday (Feb. 18).
Mantha was the top scorer for the Marauders, who finished the regular year with a 19-1 record and atop the Canadian Interuniversity Sport rankings. The fourth-year outside hitter from Vanier, Ont. was dominant all season long. Mantha finshed the year fifth in OUA in points per set (4.09); fourth in total kills (210); fifth in total points; and sixth in service aces (23) and kills per set (3.33).
He also receives recognition as an OUA first-team all-star this season, which is the first time a member of the Marauders has earned player of the year honours since 2007-08.
The 2013-14 OUA rookie of the year is Adam Anagnostopoulos of the Ryerson Rams. The first-year setter from Waterloo, Ont. had a strong year in setting his Ryerson team to a 12-8 record and a fifth-place regular season finish. He finished the season fourth in total assists (709) and fifth in assists per set (9.45), plus added 75 digs and 21.5 blocks defensively. Anagnostopoulos will also be recognized as a member of the 2013-14 OUA all-rookie team.
Erich Woolley of the Waterloo Warriors is the libero of the year for a second straight season. The third-year athlete from New Dundee, Ont. had an incredible season in taking home the award a year ago, and improved upon his numbers this season. Woolley topped all OUA liberos in total digs (227) and digs per set (3.29). Both numbers are the highest totals in the OUA since the 2008-09 season. Woolley’s 227 total digs leads the CIS and his digs per set total is second.
Fifth-year York middle Greg Ivan was named the Dale Iwanoczko Award winner for 2013-14, becoming to first Queen’s Gael to be given the honour since 2011-12. Ivan becomes the OUA nominee for the CIS Outstanding student-athlete award for his dedication to volleyball, academics and community involvement. In addition to his efforts off the court, Ivan earned second team-all star status by helping the Lions to a 13-7 regular season, collecting 114 kills and 49 blocks in the process.
Rounding out major award winners is the Coach of the Year, Waterloo’s Chris Lawson. The award is the first for Lawson in his seven years coaching at the OUA level with the Warriors. Lawson motivated his squad to a 16-4 regular season record, as well as appearing in the CIS rankings for five weeks, peaking at No. 7 and finishing the year ranked ninth. This year Lawson’s players earned Libero of the Year, three OUA all-stars and one all-rookie honour.
Joining McMaster’s Mantha as first team all-stars are his teammate Austin Campion-Smith, Western’s Garrett May and Phil James, Ray Szeto of the York Lions, Scott Thompson representing the Waterloo Warriors, and Ryerson’s Robert Wojick.
Marauders setter Austin Campion-Smith becomes a first-team all-star for the second year in a row. In his fourth OUA season the Bowmanville, Ont. native did a great job distributing the ball to a talented team around him, finishing second in the OUA in assists per game with 9.90.
The Mustangs’ May is no stranger to accolades. Entering this season, the fourth-year left side already had and OUA player of the year award two OUA first-team all-stars, a second team nod, OUA and CIS rookie of the year, an OUA all-rookie and two CIS all-Canadian awards under his belt a. Now May can add a third straight OUA first team honour to his list of accomplishments. He finished the season second in kills with 276 and third in points per set (4.41) and total points (308).
After collecting 174 kills, 22 service aces and 258 total points, Western’s James has been named an OUA all-star in 2013-14. James’ also collected 62 blocks on the year, placing him second in the OUA. James was vital to the Western Mustang attack that finished the regular season 17-3 and in second place. James becomes a first-team all-star for the second time in his career.
Szeto represents the York Lions on the OUA first-team. The fourth-year left side collected 350 points on the season to lead the OUA. His 4.61 points per set was second in the OUA and tops among players who played at least 50 sets. Szeto led the league with 305 kills, a total that topped the nearest competitor by 29. The all-star nod is the second straight first-team honour for the Sutton, Ont. native.
Waterloo’s Thompson finished the regular season second in the OUA in assists (720), while also collecting 119 digs from his setter position. The fifth-year veteran was like a coach on the floor in helped his Warriors team to a 16-4 mark in the regular season, and No. 9 ranking in the final CIS poll of the year. By being named a 2013-14 OUA first-team all-star, Thompson receives the first postseason honour of his career.
Wojick, a six-foot-six right side, had a breakout season in 2013-14. He finished second in OUA in total points (321) and service aces (27), while finishing third in total kills (269) and fourth in points per set. The third-year player out of Whitby, Ont. becomes an OUA honouree for the first time in his career.
The talent pool in OUA volleyball is as strong as ever. This is clear when seeing the list of second-team all-stars which feature previous OUA and CIS all-stars and award winners.
The OUA second all-star team is comprised of Danny Demyanenko and Jayson McCarthy of the McMaster Marauders, Western’s veteran setter Sean McKay, Waterloo Warriors teammates Jordan Dyck and James Evans, Mike Tomlinson of the Queen’s Gaels and York’s Greg Ivan.
The 2013-14 rookie class in the OUA is a deep group of players that offered key contributions in their first OUA season.
This year’s all-rookie team features OUA rookie of the year Adam Anagnostopolous and his Ryerson teammate Jeff Ardron, Nicholas Pirnat of the York Lions, Waterloo’s Jordan McConkey, the McMaster duo of Brandon Koppers and Pawel Jedrzkewski, and Warren Taylor of the Nipissing Lakers. Taylor becomes the first Nipissing volleyball player to earn a postseason honour, following the team’s first year of OUA competition.
The players will be recognized during the opening night of the OUA Men’s Volleyball Final Four, being hosted by McMaster University at the Burridge Gymnasium on Feb. 21-22. The Final Four opens with Waterloo taking on Western at 5:30 p.m. in the first semi, then the McMaster Marauders battle the Ryerson Rams beginning at 8 p.m. The awards presentations will take place between the semifinal games.
2013-14 OUA MEN’S VOLLEYBALL ALL-STARS & AWARD RECRIPIENTS
Jori Mantha, McMaster
Austin Campion-Smith, McMaster
Garrett May, Western
Phil James, Western
Scott Thompson, Waterloo
Ray Szeto, York
Robert Wojick, Ryerson
Danny Demyanenko, McMaster
Jayson McCarthy, McMaster
Sean McKay, Western
Jordan Dyck, Waterloo
James Evans, Waterloo
Greg Ivan, York
Mike Tomlinson, Queen’s
Brandon Koppers, McMaster
Pawel Jedrzejewski, McMaster
Adam Anagnostopolous, Ryerson
Jeff Ardron, Ryerson
Jordan McConkey, Waterloo
Nicholas Pirnat, York
Warren Taylor, Nipissing