HALIFAX, N.S. (Atlantic University Sports) – Atlantic University Sport has announced its 2017-18 men’s volleyball all-stars and major award winners.
The awards were handed out following the AUS Championship best-of-three series, won 2-1 by the UNB Varsity Reds.
Dalhousie earned a 3-0 win in the first game of the series on Saturday, Feb. 24 in Halifax. The Varsity Reds evened the series in game two with a 3-1 win over the Tigers in Fredericton, N.B.
Back in Halifax tonight, UNB claimed the 2018 AUS conference title tonight with a 3-1 win over the Tigers in game three. Kent Doucette of the Varsity Reds was named the AUS championship MVP.
UNB now advances to the 2018 U Sports Men’s Volleyball Championship being hosted by McMaster University at the Burridge Gymnasium in Hamilton, Ont., March 16-18.
Coaches for the two AUS teams selected the award winners and all-stars, and for the first time in his AUS career, fifth-year Dalhousie Tigers outside hitter Matthew Donovan was named the Most Valuable Player.
Other AUS major award winners announced today were Dalhousie’s Mathieu Lavoie of Winnipeg, Man., who was named rookie of the year; Dalhousie’s Adam Spragg of Gilford, Ont., who received the student-athlete community service award and Dalhousie head coach Dan Ota, who was named the AUS men’s volleyball coach of the year.
Most Valuable Players: Matthew Donovan, Dalhousie Tigers
A fifth-year outside hitter from London, Ont., Donovan led the Tigers to a 7-8 regular season record this year, clinching first place in the conference standings.
The six-foot-four engineering student led the league in points with 244.5, and points per set, averaging 4.40. He also led the conference with 3.79 kills per set, earning a total of 212 kills all season with a .243 hitting percentage.
Donovan also had 22 blocks, averaging 0.39 per set, and added 125 digs this season.
In addition to taking home MVP honours, Donovan was also named to the AUS all-star team for the third consecutive season.
He now looks to become the first Atlantic conference player to be named U Sports player of the year.
Rookie of the Year: Mathieu Lavoie, Dalhousie
The science student and first-year libero from Winnipeg, Man. appeared in 14 games and 56 sets for the Tigers this season.
Lavoie finished the season in second in the league in digs with 108, averaging 1.93 digs per set. He also finished with 29 assists on the season for an average of 0.52 assists per set.
Lavoie now becomes the AUS nominee for U Sports rookie of the year. The only Atlantic conference player to ever earn the national honour is Dalhousie’s Terry Martin, who won it in 1994-95.
Coach of the Year: Dan Ota, Dalhousie
Dan Ota, in his 19th season at the helm of the Tigers program, has been named the AUS Coach of the Year for the 16th time. This is his seventh consecutive year taking home the honour.
This season, Ota guided the Tigers to a first-place finish in the Atlantic conference standings with a 7-8 record. He has compiled a career regular season record of 255-59.
Dalhousie has won 34 of the past 38 AUS titles and 15 of the past 18 under Ota’s leadership.
A native of Calgary, Alta., Ota is a former executive director of Volleyball Nova Scotia, a former technical director for Alberta Volleyball and was a member of the Team Canada coaching staff at the 2007 Summer Universiade in Bangkok, Thailand which captured a silver medal.
He holds a bachelor of arts and a Master of Kinesiology from the University of Calgary and is a certified NCCP Level 3 coach as well as a Master Learning Facilitator.
Ota now becomes the AUS nominee for U Sports coach of the year. The last Atlantic conference head coach to earn the honour was UNB’s Dan McMorran following the 2010-11 season.
Student-Athlete Community Service Award: Adam Spragg, Dalhousie
The 2017-18 recipient of the AUS student-athlete community service award and nominee for the U Sports Dale Iwanoczko award is Adam Spragg of the Dalhousie Tigers.
The nominee for this award is a player exhibiting outstanding achievement in volleyball, academics and community involvement.
Currently, in his fourth year of kinesiology, the Gilford, Ontario native has been a U Sports academic all-Canadian for the past two years and is on pace to repeat this accomplishment for a third time this season.
As the Tigers starting setter, Spragg is a leader both on and off the court, earning a spot on the AUS all-star team this season. A source of consistency for the Tigers, he leads the AUS in assists and assists per set with 9.16. Additionally, he is ranked fifth in total blocks and sixth in digs.
In addition to his academic and athletic success, Spragg volunteers extensively within the community. He has been the co-president for Dalhousie’s Varsity Council for the last two years. As co-president, he helps organize events for his fellow athletes in support of initiatives on campus such as the White Ribbon campaign, and in the surrounding community, raising funds for organizations such as the Ronald McDonald House.
Spragg is also a regular at Special Tigers Day events working with children with intellectual disabilities. As well, he has spent time volunteering at the Toronto General Hospital.
Spragg is the ninth player from the Tigers to win this honour. Former Dalhousie students John Hobin (1997-98), Sasho MacKenzie (1998-99), Aaron Nutting (2000-01), Chris Geddes (2002-03), Tim Wiley (2004-05), Jeff Weiler (2005-06, 2006-07), Niklas Rademacher (2007-08) and Daniel You (2011-12) have previously earned the honour.
The U Sports Dale Iwanoczko award has been won by a number of AUS men’s volleyball athletes in recent years. UNB’s Jacob Kilpatrick (2010-11), Rademacher (2007-08), Weiler (2005-06), Geddes (2002-03) and Paul Villeneuve (1993-94) are all previous recipients of the prestigious national award.
2017-18 AUS Men’s Volleyball All-Star Team
Matthew Donovan, Dalhousie (fifth year – London, Ont.)
Brad Stewart, UNB (second year – Wolfville, N.S.)
Graham Schmuland, Dalhousie (second year – Calgary, AB)
Pascal McCarthy, UNB (fifth year – Fredericton, N.B.)
Matthew Woods, Dalhousie (third year – Halifax, N.S.)
Ryan Colpitts, UNB (fifth year – Fredericton, N.B.)
Adam Spragg, Dalhousie (third year – Gilford, Ont.)