(FREDERICTON, NB) It’ll hardly be a vacation, but Connor McConnell is in Florida this week.
The incoming member of the UNB Varsity Reds men’s volleyball team is the only athlete from east of Ontario to make Volleyball Canada’s Youth National Development Team.
They’re participating in the U.S. High Performance Championships, in Ft. Lauderdale, July 19th-24th.
“From this experience, I hope to get more knowledge about volleyball and Team Canada’s systems,” says McConnell. “I want to learn as much as I can, to help make my transition to the CIS level an easier one.”
An outside hitter, McConnell was a stand-out on Ecole Ste. Anne’s dominant team that won the 2016 New Brunswick AAA high school volleyball championship. He’s among five new players who’ve committed to join the defending Atlantic University Sport champion Varsity Reds.
“We are very proud of Connor for being selected to this team, and all the hard work that he’s put into achieving this,” says Varsity Reds head coach Dan McMorran. “Anytime one of our athletes gets the chance to represent Canada and compete against some of the top international players of their age group, it’s a special opportunity and an invaluable experience for them.”
“The identification and selection process is always challenging, but through the true Canadian volleyball spirit of partnerships, the process has resulted in an excellent group of young athletes representing Canada,” stated Dawna Sales, of Volleyball Canada, in a release.
McConnell and Team Canada begin play Tuesday, and are in a pool with six American regional teams and Team New Zealand.
“Competing in this environment will definitely strengthen his overall game, which can only strengthen our overall team,” says Coach McMorran.
“I feel like this experience will help me going into my first season with the Reds because I’ll have experienced an international level of volleyball,” says McConnell. “I will come back with more confidence in my abilities due to the high level of play.”
Three other Varsity Reds recruits were invited to attend the national youth team’s final selection camp.