(FREDERICTON, NB) The UNB Varsity Reds are preparing to defend their AUS men’s volleyball title, and head coach Dan McMorran says his 2016 recruiting class promises to be one of the best in recent history.
In fact, four of McMorran’s five recruits were invited to Volleyball Canada’s final selection camp for the national men’s youth team.
Connor McConnell, Steven Randall, and Evan Schlodder, all of Fredericton, and Brad Stewart, of Wolfville, Nova Scotia, all attended the early June selection camp, at Niagara College, in Ontario. All four have signed CIS Letters of Intent, and will join the Varsity Reds beginning in the 2016-17 season.
Connor Herget, of Tignish, Prince Edward Island, has also signed a CIS Letter of Intent to join the V-Reds.
“We lost only one athlete to graduation this past season(Cody Timmons), so there weren’t many holes in our line-up,” says McMorran. “I’m thrilled that we were able to secure such depth to further strengthen our roster.”
McConnell is one of two recruits joining the Varsity Reds from Ecole Ste. Anne’s dominant high school volleyball program.
The 6’6” outside hitter helped the Castors win the 2016 New Brunswick AAA high school championship.
He plans to study business.
"I chose UNB because, growing up in Fredericton, the dream is to study and play for the Varsity Reds,” says McConnell. “I hope to bring a presence on the court in practices and games. I expect to have a very successful career as a UNB volleyball player, and many AUS and CIS titles.”
Coach McMorran says McConnell is a versatile player, who can hit from either side. “Connor is talented, strong and physical as an outside hitter, attributes that will certainly make his transition to the CIS game an easier one.”
Schlodder set for his teammate McConnell at Ecole Ste. Anne, and should end up doing the same with the Varsity Reds.
At 6’1”, Schlodder says joining the AUS champs is a dream come true. “I've looked up to the guys that have been playing for UNB since I first started playing volleyball in elementary school. Now, to be playing among some of my childhood idols next season, feels amazing.”
Schlodder intends to study science at UNB.
“I chose UNB because of its great academic and athletic programs. UNB is ranked high among Canadian universities in academics and sports, and their volleyball team has been improving exponentially recently.”
“Evan is a setter who possesses a great volleyball IQ, and I’m impressed at his early ability to run a dynamic offence,” says Coach McMorran.
Like Schlodder and McConnell, Steven Randall has grown up watching the Varsity Reds.
About to join the team, Randall knows it comes with responsibility.
“It means that I get to be a part of a community that so many of my role models over the years have been a part of,” says Randall. “In the fall, I hope that my skill set can help the team claim another AUS banner.”
Coach McMorran says the 6’3” Randall will bring a strong and powerful presence to the court.
“He too adds some versatility,” says McMorran. “He has the ability to play the left and right side positions.”
An outside hitter, Randall plans on studying science.
Brad Stewart is a 6’5” middle who was recently named male athlete of the year at Horton High School, in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley.
Coach McMorran says Stewart is extremely athletic, and has great blocking and offensive potential.
“I chose UNB because I thought it was the best fit for me, with academics and athletics,” says Stewart. “As a Varsity Red, I expect to bring energy to the team on and off the court. I will contribute in any way I’m needed. I look forward to the start of the season in September.”
Stewart will study engineering while at UNB.
Connor Herget is an all-round athlete, one Dan McMorran feels can develop into a top CIS volleyball player.
The 6’5” outside hitter was the MVP for both the volleyball and basketball teams, and male athlete of the year at Westisle High School. That’s the same school that produced current Varsity Reds Kent Doucette and Andrew Gough.
“UNB drew my attention from the start, with state of the art athletic and engineering facilities,” says Herget. “The fact that there are two Westisle players already on the volleyball roster helped my decision as well.”
“I really appreciate the opportunity I've been given and I plan to make the most of it.”