Abbotsford (Dan Kinvig) – The University of the Fraser Valley men’s volleyball team has signed five newcomers as it continues to build toward its Canada West debut in the fall.
Cascades head coach Nathan Bennett’s latest group of signees features a pair of veteran transfers – Reece Wilson (College of the Rockies) and Noah Bouius (Columbia Bible College) – along with a trio of athletes from the high school ranks in Keegan Hanrahan (Edmonton-M.E. LaZerte High), Braden White (Kelowna Secondary) and Nathan Hall (Lethbridge, Alta.-Immanuel Christian).
The quintet joins one previously announced recruit – middle Tyson Ardell out of Abbotsford-MEI – in the Cascades’ Class of 2020.
Neelin High School / College of the Rockies
Wilson joins the Cascades following two seasons with former PACWEST rival College of the Rockies. The son of Brandon Bobcats men’s volleyball head coach Grant Wilson, he brings a multisport pedigree, having played hockey and baseball at a high level as a teen.
Wilson’s highly decorated prep career saw him win three Manitoba provincial championships with Brandon’s Neelin High School, and he was twice named a tournament all-star. He also won a provincial high school beach volleyball title. On the club volleyball scene, Wilson was an all-star at 18U club provincials, and was part of Team Manitoba for the National Team Challenge Cup.
“Reece loves to win,” Bennett said. “He’s an ultimate competitor, and in the libero position he’s going to lead by example. His grittiness is going to come into play from his background as a multi-sport athlete.”
I look forward to getting my degree at UFV while continuing my volleyball career and being able to play with and against the best university volleyball players in the country,” said Wilson, who plans to study ciminology at UFV. “My dreams and goals are to become the best volleyball player that I can be as well as helping the team to succeed.”
John Diefenbaker Senior School / Columbia Bible College
Bouius joins the Cascades for his fourth year of eligibility, following previous stops at Redeemer University and Columbia Bible College. He helped Redeemer win back-to-back Ontario Colleges Athletic Association bronze medals in 2018 and 2019, and was an OCAA West Division second team all-star in 2019. Bouius brings great athleticism and size at 6’9”, and while he lined up as an outside hitter for the Bearcats this past season, Bennett plans to deploy him in the middle.
“Everyone’s told me Noah is a great teammate,” Bennett said. “He’ll add size and aggression in our middle corps, and I’m looking forward to working with him.”
“I’ve always dreamed of playing at the U SPORTS level,” Bouius said. “UFV has given me the chance to do that, and to continue my degree in kinesiology.”
M.E. LaZerte School
Hanrahan has had an outstanding prep career. A high school all-star with the M.E. LaZerte Voyageurs, he was part of Fog Volleyball Club’s gold medal-winning squad at the 17U national championships in Toronto last summer and has been part of the Team Alberta program.
“He plays in the top club in Alberta right now, and everything I’ve heard from them is he’s improving his game,” Bennett said. “He’s got great size, and he’ll grow into a really good middle blocker with our program. I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do.”
“I chose UFV because I wanted to explore outside of my hometown,” said Hanrahan, who plans to enrol in Arts. “When I went to visit UFV, I realized that it was the perfect place to do this. The campus and location is beautiful. Coach Bennett has some really great ideas for the volleyball program, and I’m excited to be part of his vision for the team. I will do my best to help him and the team build the program, and I’m looking forward to playing for him and representing UFV.”
West Kelowna, B.C.
White, an honourable mention on VarsityLetters.ca’s Super 15 list of the top Grade 12 players in B.C., has had an stellar high school career with the Kelowna Owls. A three-year starter at the senior level, White was named MVP of the Thompson Rivers tournament last fall, and was an all-star at the Best of the West tourney. He also excelled on the club scene with Kelowna Volleyball Club, earning provincial all-star honours in 2019.
“He’s a tall, athletic setter, and I think he has a lot of upside,” Bennett said. “It might take him a year or two to figure out the level of play in Canada West, but he’s going to be a great setter in this league.”
“I’m really excited to play with UFV next season, especially in its first year in Canada West,” said White, who plans to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree. “It’s a great opportunity. I’m also really excited to work with Coach Bennett and the rest of the UFV team.”
Immanuel Christian Secondary
Hall helped his Immanuel Christian high school squad win a pair of Alberta AA provincial titles (2017 and 2019), and he’s a two-time Southern Alberta all-star. He also excelled with Lethbridge Volleyball Club, finishing second at club provincials in 2018.
“Nathan, as a young guy coming in, is going to learn a lot from Reece about the level of compete that’s required at this level,” Bennett said. “But he has some really great skills as far as serve-receive and defence, and he’s a really smart kid. I’m really looking forward to working with him and developing his game for the Canada West level.”
“I chose UFV for their kinesiology program, and the amazing atmosphere I felt when I was there,” Hall said. “My goals as a Cascade are to have an impact in the community here, make my hometown and the previous influencers in my life proud, and to give 100 per cent effort in everything I do.”