Abbotsford – The University of the Fraser Valley men’s volleyball team is continuing to build out its roster in preparation for its upcoming Canada West debut, signing four players.
The Cascades – set to move up to Canada West/U SPORTS following 18 seasons in the PACWEST – added talent and depth at the outside hitter positions, inking Ryan Adams (Sherwood Park, Alta.), Bailey Burdick (Summerland, B.C.), Josh Gagnon (Red Deer, Alta.) and Comrie Engbers (Langley, B.C.).
6’9” right side
Sherwood Park, Alta.
Archbishop Jordan Catholic High / Thompson Rivers University
Adams spent the 2018-19 campaign with the Thompson Rivers WolfPack, seeing action in seven regular-season matches, and joins the Cascades after taking the 2019-20 season off. He had an outstanding prep career, earning Alberta provincial and Best of the West titles with Edmonton’s Fog Volleyball Club, and helping the club to a fourth-place finish at nationals in 2018. He was also selected for the Team Alberta program.
“He’s definitely got a U SPORTS body,” Cascades head coach Nathan Bennett said, noting Adams’s 6’9” stature. “His physicality is unquestionable. Everywhere he’s played, his teammates have a lot of good things to say about him, and I’m looking forward to working with him to reach our program goals and his personal goals.”
“I chose UFV because of the opportunity to help build a brand new program in U SPORTS, and I’ve heard amazing things about Nathan and his coaching style,” said Adams, who plans to study kinesiology. “UFV, being a smaller campus with smaller class sizes, will enable me to focus in my studies and have a stronger connection with my professors.”
6’6” left side
Burdick had an outstanding high school career at Summerland Secondary, and was ranked No. 12 among high school seniors in B.C. by VarsityLetters.ca in 2018. His prep career was highlighted by a selection to Canada’s youth national team, and he was part of B.C.’s Elite Selects program. An outstanding all-around athlete, Burdick has also had national team looks in bobsleigh and rowing.
“He’s an excellent character guy, and a great athlete,” Bennett said “He took a year off after high school and he has a hunger now and a drive to compete at the highest level. I’m looking forward to working with him.”
“Being a part of a program that is being introduced to U SPORTS with a young team is very exciting,” said Burdick, who will study agriculture at UFV. “I can’t wait to make our mark in the league.”
6’2” left side
Red Deer, Alta.
Lindsay Thurber High School
Gagnon boast an incredible volleyball lineage – his father Terry is a former Canadian national teamer who played in the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. The younger Gagnon is building a strong volleyball resumé in his own right. He’s a fixture on Alberta’s provincial teams, representing the province in indoor at the U16 and U17 levels, and on the beach at U16 and U18. Another career highlight was a trip to South Korea’s Gangwon province on a volleyball exchange.
“He has a really high volleyball pedigree coming from Red Deer and a great volleyball family,” Bennett noted. “He’ll come in and push for a spot right away. He’s a student of the game.”
“I chose UFV because it matches my academic and athletic pursuits,” said Gagnon, who will enroll in the Bachelor of Science program. “I am excited to play for Coach Bennett and to help contribute to the team’s success in U SPORTS, and I’m looking forward to enjoying the great weather.”
6’2” left side
Surrey Christian School
Engbers had an outstanding high school career at Surrey Christian, leading the Falcons to a B.C. AA provincial championship berth and an eighth-place finish last season. Along the way, he earned South Fraser zone first team all-star honours, and a second team provincial all-star nod.
“He’s a great character player, a great teammate, and works really hard,” Bennett said. “I’m looking forward to watching his development over the years.”
“I dream of the day that we come out on top, and I’m excited to be a part of the process of getting there,” said Engbers, who will study kinesiology at UFV.