Langley – Canada’s men’s volleyball team is Tokyo bound after qualifying for the 2020 Olympics this past weekend in Vancouver and four Trinity Western alums were part of Canada’s winning contingent at the Pacific Coliseum.
The Spartans Ryan Sclater (’17, Port Coquitlam, B.C.), Daniel Jansen VanDoorn (‘13, Langley), Steve Marshall (’13, Abbotsford, B.C.) and Lucas Van Berkel (’14, Edmonton) made up nearly 30 per cent of Canada’s roster that earned three straight wins, beating Mexico, Cuba and Puerto Rico to book their ticket to Tokyo. Sclater highlighted TWU’s group, as he finished the weekend with 24 kills and 32 points, highlighted by a 14-kill/20-point effort in Canada’s comeback five-set win over Cuba.
TWU’s quartet was the largest group of players from any single university in Canada.
The result sees Canada set to compete in the Olympics for the second quadrennial in a row after the program had gone 24 years between qualification.
TWU’s Jansen VanDoorn and Marshall will both be targeting their second Olympic Games after helping Canada to a fifth-place finish in Rio in 2016.
TWU’s group of four is yet another example of the dynastic nature of the Spartans over the last decade. In the last 10 seasons, Trinity Western’s men’s volleyball team, which is currently ranked No. 1 in the U SPORTS, has won five national championships and four conference titles, while playing in eight national championship finals and nine conference finals. Add that up and TWU has played in 17 of a possible 20 championship matches over the last decade. TWU has also produced four Olympians, including Rudy Verhoeff and Chaim Schalk, along with Jansen VanDoorn and Marshall.
Ryan Sclater: “I’m just grateful. I’m so grateful that this is the crazy life that I get to live. I’m so grateful for my awesome teammates and my wife and my daughter getting to be here to watch me play and all my friends and family who were here. I’m just trying to make them proud. For all those things, I’m just grateful.”
Lucas Van Berkel: “It feels incredible. We put so much hard work into it and we grew so much as a team after not qualifying in the last chance we had. We knew it would take an extra push and everyone worked really hard in their club seasons and it all came together at the right time.”
Dan Jansen VanDoorn: “I couldn’t have designed a better weekend myself. It was such a special thing and this is probably the highlight of my career so far. To play in what was probably the best volleyball game I’ve ever been a part of (against Cuba) in front of all these people was just spectacular. It’s an amazing feeling.”
Steve Marshall: “It’s pretty awesome. It’s hard to explain how it feels. It’s one of those things that, as an athlete, you work your whole life to do and when it happens, it’s hard to put into words. I’m just excited for the summer. It was nice to have everyone’s family and friends here. It makes it that much more special.”