On the Ball: Spartans star earns nomination

Trinity Western Spartans Ben Ball is nominated for the BLG male university athlete of the year. - Scott Stewart/TWU Athletics
Trinity Western Spartans Ben Ball is nominated for the BLG male university athlete of the year.
— image credit: Scott Stewart/TWU Athletics

Ben Ball is hoping to add one more award to his ever-expanding trophy case.

In March, the 22-year-old senior setter for the Trinity Western Spartans volleyball team capped off his university career by leading his team to a second consecutive CIS national championship title.

Ball overcame sickness at the tournament — he was confined to his hotel room bed between the quarter-finals and the semifinals — to win most valuable player honours.

He was also the Canada West and the CIS player of the year.

And on Wednesday morning, Ball was announced as a nominee for the BLG Awards, which recognize the top female and male athletes from CIS universities across the country.

“A huge appreciation to my school for getting me where I am,” Ball said during the conference call announcing the nominees.

As for the nomination, another accolade in his stellar career, Ball said

“I always hoped for (a season like this) but I never really knew that it would actually happen,” he said.

“This season has been a dream season for all of us. We have been the favourites all year, but that kind of put us in a weird pressure spot that I haven’t really felt in my other four years.

“It was definitely a learning experience that finished well, obviously.”

The Spartans lost just a single match in league play and playoffs this past season, compiling an overall record of 24-1 against their Canadian competition.

As for what comes next for the graduating senior — who joined Trinity Western University after graduating from Abbotsford's MEI Secondary — Ball said he is not completely sure, but is planning on winding down his playing days and getting into coaching.

The other male nominees are quarterback Kyle Quinlan of the McMaster football team, and a pair of hockey players, centre Andrew Clark of Acadia and defenceman Marc-Andre Dorion of McGill.

The female nominees are Tyson Beukeboom (St. Francis Xavier rugby), Ann-Sophie Bettez (McGill hockey), Jacey Murphy (Guelph rugby) and Robyn Pendleton (UBC field hockey).

The winners, one male and one female, will be announced on April 30 at the Jack Singer Concert Hall in Calgary. It will be broadcast on TSN on May 26. Both winners receive a $10,000 post-graduate scholarship.

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