Team Canada, otherwise known as the Trinity Western’s men’s volleyball team, has started the FISU America Games by earning a 3-0 (25-23, 25-23, 25-17) win over Colombia Sunday at the Brazilian Paralympic Center.
“It’s nice to get the first one out of the way,” said Spartans coach Ben Josephson.
“It’s always weird playing on the road in a weird venue and just all the travel, but I thought the guys played with great heart and represented Canada really well. It’s a good start and we’re excited to continue to get acclimatized and get ready to go for Argentina, who we hear is fantastic.”
As the previous year’s U SPORTS champions (2017), the Spartans were selected to represent Canada in this year’s FISU America Games.
The FISU America Games is a Pan American branch of the FISU World University Games.
This is the third time TWU has donned the Maple Leaf on an international stage.
In 2012, the Spartans represented Canada at the U23 Pan American Cup, finishing fourth.
In 2011, the team participated in the FIVB Club World Championship as Canada’s representative, finishing with one win from three matches, including a victory over Iranian professional side Paykan Tehran.
“The more different experiences a team can experience together, the stronger we’ll be and that definitely translates onto the court,” said libero Carter Bergen, who is entering his fifth year at TWU.
“This is my first time to get to represent my country and I’m overjoyed,” Bergen added. “It’s been a dream of mine to wear the Maple Leaf and I’m ecstatic.
“It’s such an honour. I think we’re all looking forward to wearing the jersey and when that anthem comes on, it’ll be a pretty special moment.”
The TWU roster representing Canadaincludes incoming star recruit Brodie Hofer (Langley) as well former Spartan Mike Grypma (Langley). Jordan Schnitzer (Langley), who plays for Briercrest College and was the 2017-18 ACAC Men’s Volleyball Rookie of the Year, will also be part of the Spartans contingent in Brazil. Derek Epp (Saskatoon), who transferred from the University of Saskatchewan prior to last season will see his first game action with the Spartans after redshirting the 2017-18 season, while superstar middle Aaron Boettcher (Surrey, B.C.) is also expected to return to action after he missed all of last year with a shoulder injury.
Adam Schriemer, who recently signed a contract with SVG Luneburg in Germany, will play with the Spartans one last time before embarking on his professional career.
Eric Loeppky (Steinbach, Man.), Pearson Eshenko (Banff, Alta.) and Jackson Howe (Calgary) will miss the tournament as they are all currently with Volleyball Canada.
Canada roster for FISU America games:
Carter Bergen (Winnipeg)
Jesse Elser (Calgary)
Brodie Hofer (Langley, B.C.)
Ben Lieuwen (Abbotsford, B.C.)
Kaden Gamache (Abbotsford, B.C.)
Adam Schriemer (Winnipeg)
Jordan Schnitzer (Langley, B.C.)
Colton Loewen (Abbotsford, B.C.)
Aaron Boettcher (Surrey, B.C.)
Jacob Kern (Edmonton)
Jordie Koslowsky (Abbotsford, B.C.)
Derek Epp (Saskatoon)
Mike Grypma (Langley, B.C.)