(FREDERICTON, NB) In a season that has already seen UNB launch a new era in women’s hockey, a new era in men’s volleyball begins Friday.
The Reds, winners of the last three Atlantic University Sport championships, join Quebec’s RSEQ conference, along with the Dalhousie Tigers, to make a new five team league.
“I think it increases the excitement surrounding every game,” said Reds head coach Dan McMorran. “There is a lot more at stake every time we step on the floor.”
The formation of the new league became necessary after Memorial University’s men’s volleyball team folded ahead of last season.
Each team will visit the other four teams for weekend double-headers, making a 16-game schedule.
“Our guys are excited to get back on the floor and to be at home to open a new chapter for UNB men’s volleyball,” said McMorran. “We have always prepared to win every match we’re in, so regardless of the new conference and the importance of each win for playoff purposes, nothing has changed in how we are approaching this season and each of our opponents.”
The Reds host Sherbrooke to start the season.
They meet Friday, at the Richard J. Currie Center, in a scheduled 7:30pm start.
The two teams will complete their weekend series on Saturday, at 2:30pm.
The Reds are a young team.
Of the nine returning players, eight are in their second or third years.
And while, collectively, they’re young, the Reds are deep.
“One of our strengths over the past several seasons has been our depth at each position,” said McMorran. “This year will be no different, as we have several options and lineups that can be used.”
“One of the challenges will certainly be a lack of game experience at this level,” said McMorran. “We have two first-year setters who are going to be tasked with running the show, so we know there will be an adjustment period, but they’re learning fast and are excited for the challenges ahead.”
Despite his young group and a wealth of new faces, McMorran says the program’s goal for this season is no different than previous seasons.
“Win championships to be able to move on and compete for the national title.”