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February 27, 2013

Alberta’s Irvine named player of the year

Photo credit Yan Doublet

QUEBEC CITY (CIS) – Mitch Irvine, a fifth-year right side hitter from the University of Alberta, was named CIS player of the year in men's volleyball, Wednesday night.

Irvine, who hails from Red Deer, Alta., became the seventh member of the Golden Bears to claim CIS MVP honours, and the first since Joel Schmuland in 2009. He is also the 15th straight winner from the Canada West conference.

Other major award recipients announced during the All-Canadian Banquet held at Universel Hotel in Quebec City were McMaster middle Dany Demyanenko, who was voted CIS rookie of the year; Alberta teammate Erik Mattson, who was named the nation's top libero; Manitoba's Dane Pischke, who received the Dale Iwanoczko Award for his excellence in volleyball, academics and community service; as well as McMaster's Dave Preston, who was honoured by his peers as coach of the year.

The 2013 CIS championship, presented by Rogers, gets under way Friday at Laval University and concludes Sunday at 4:30 p.m. with the national final. All 11 matches from the competition will be webcast live on www.CIS-SIC.tv.

CHAMPIONSHIP WEBSITE: http://english.cis-sic.ca/championships/mvball/index

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Mitch Irvine, Alberta

Irvine joined six former Golden Bears as recipient of the CIS MVP award, including Schmuland, Nicholas Cundy (2005), Pascal Cardinal (2003), Murray Grapentine (1999), Doug Bruce (1997), as well as current Alberta head coach Terry Danyluk, who was the inaugural winner of the trophy in 1981.

The 6-foot-5 attacker, who played two seasons with Red Deer College in the ACAC before transferring to the U of A in 2010-11, was exceptional in his third and final campaign with the Bears. In 22 league games, the education student finished third in Canada West in points per set (4.42) and fourth in kills (3.83), while maintaining a .268 hitting percentage and a .781 success rate from the service line, including 19 aces. He also chipped in defensively with 2.21 digs per set.

Irvine's stellar play helped the Bears to a first-place finish in Canada West with a 20-2 mark, which set a new conference record for most wins in a single regular season. His selection as a first-team all-Canadian was his second in as many years.

A former member of Team Alberta (2006-08) and the junior national squad (2008-09), he was a two-time all-Canadian while at Red Deer College and was the ACAC conference player of the year in 2009-10.

"Mitch has consistently been one of our top set getters and has hit his way out of a lot of tough situations," said Danyluk. "His backcourt defence has also made him an incredible two-way player as he has led our team in digs several times this season."

The other nominees for MVP honours were UNB outside hitter Julio Fernandez, Laval left side Frédéric Mondou and Western outside Garrett May.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Dany Demyanenko, McMaster

Demyanenko became the third Marauder to earn CIS rookie-of-the-year honours after Peter Hrkal (2005) and Mike Chaloupka, the inaugural recipient in 1991.

A native of Toronto, the 6-foot-6 freshman posted a superb .469 hitting percentage in his university debut, good for second best in the country behind teammate Alex Elliott. He also finished in the top 10 in the OUA conference in points (3.46) and blocks (0.60) per set, while also contributing 13 service aces. The kinesiology student was named a first-team OUA all-star and was the only first-year player selected among all-Canadians (second team). His performances helped McMaster take first place in Ontario in league play (17-1).

Demyanenko was a member of the junior national team that captured silver at the NORCECA regional tournament last summer, a result which qualified Canada for the 2013 world championship. He has also represented Canada internationally in beach volleyball, finishing fourth at the world under-21 championship and fifth at the U-19 event.

"Dany has done everything we have asked of him and more as a first-year athlete," said head coach Dave Preston. "Along with being a terrific player he has been a great teammate and he is a pleasure to coach."

UNB right side Eivind Andersen, Sherbrooke outside Daniel Moreau and Manitoba middle Kenny Rooney were also in the running for top-rookie honours.

LIBERO OF THE YEAR: Erik Mattson, Alberta

Mattson is the first U of A player to be named CIS libero of the year since the inception of the award in 2004.

A four-year starter with the Edmonton powerhouse, the 6-foot-1 senior led the charge defensively in his fifth and final campaign with 2.56 digs per set, which was good for sixth in Canada West and ninth at the national level. A CIS champion in his freshman season in 2008-09, the Toronto native ranks fifth in Canada West history with 716 career digs.

Mattson is a former member of Ontario's provincial team (2006-08) and won silver at the 2009 Canada Summer Games with Team Ontario.

"Erik's desire to improve and his ball control skills have played a big part in his contribution to our team," said Terry Danyluk. "He has challenged himself to get better each year with the Golden Bears and has made players around him better along the way."

The other finalists were UNB's Andrew Costa, Sherbrooke's Olivier Guimond and Waterloo's Erich Woolley.

COACH OF THE YEAR: Dave Preston, McMaster

The only McMaster mentor to be named CIS coach of the year in men's volleyball, Preston had already claimed the award in 2007-08.

In his 11th season guiding the Marauders, Preston led his troops to first place in the OUA with a stellar 17-1 record. McMaster won 51 of 63 sets in league play and was the top offensive team in Ontario with a combined .291 hitting percentage. Including his nine seasons as head coach at Western, he has compiled a career record of 248-72 in conference action. Last weekend, he led the Marauders to their fourth OUA title in six years.

Preston has been involved with Canada's national team programs for a number of years. Last summer, he was head coach of the junior squad which qualified for the 2013 world championship thanks to a second-place finish at the NORCECA regional tournament. He was an assistant coach with the senior team that claimed bronze at the 1999 Pan Am Games and which was later enshrined in Volleyball Canada's Hall of Fame.

"Dave has done a remarkable job over his time at McMaster. He talks about doing things in the "McMaster Way" and that includes dedication, hard work and always challenging yourself," said director of athletics and recreation, Jeff Giles. "We are very proud of his team and his recognition as coach of the year."

Dalhousie's Dan Ota, Laval's Pascal Clément and Saskatchewan's Brian Gavlas were the other nominees.

DALE IWANOCZKO AWARD (volleyball, academics & community service): Dane Pischke, Manitoba

Pischke is the second Dale Iwanoczko Award winner from Manitoba. Former Bison great Scott Koskie was honoured in 1994-95.

On the court, the fifth-year right side hitter enjoyed a remarkable final season. He was named to the first all-Canadian team for the second straight year after he led the Bisons in hitting percentage (.266), kills per set (3.40) and points (4.1).

In the classroom, the native of Winnipeg is a four-time Academic All-Canadian and is expected to achieve the prestigious status once again this year. He holds a grade point average of 3.61 in the Asper School of Business and is a double major in accounting and finance. He was a 2012 recipient of Sport Manitoba's Princess Royal Pan Am Scholarship.

Pischke is also very involved on campus and in the community. He has been a member of the U of M Athletic Council for five years, a volunteer at the Winnipeg Humane Society for two years, and is heavily involved in volleyball-related activities, including as volunteer coordinator for the 2012 Volleyball Manitoba provincial championship.

"Dane is an outstanding student in our Faculty of Management, plus he is a great athlete, competitor and teammate," said Manitoba head coach Garth Pischke. "He has been involved in community service his whole life and totally understands the benefits and rewards of giving back to the community. The greatest compliment I can give Dane is that he comes as close to the type of individual and human being that Dale Iwanoczko was while blending and excelling in all three components of this award."

The other finalists for the Iwanoczko Award were UNB's Logan Keoughan and Queen's Jackson Dakin.

ALL-CANADIAN TEAMS

The all-Canadian teams were also announced on Wednesday.

Joining Irvine and Pischke on the first unit were conference most valuable players Fernandez (AUS), Mondou (RSEQ) and May (OUA), as well as outside hitters Nick Del Bianco from Trinity Western and Ray Szeto from York.

While Irvine and Pischke are returnees from last season's first team, Fernandez and May were members of the second CIS squad a year ago.

In addition to Demyanenko, the second dream team for 2012-13 is comprised of Laval right side Tommy Bélisle, McMaster setter Austin Campion-Smith, Dalhousie outside Bryan Duquette, Saskatchewan setter Chris Gilbert, Alberta left side Jay Olmstead, and Brandon left side Sam Tuivai.

Joining Demyanenko as CIS all-freshmen are conference rookies of the year Andersen, Moreau and Rooney, as well as Winnipeg opposite Casey Schouten, Alberta setter Brett Walsh and Guelph left side Tim Warnholtz.

2012-2013 CIS MEN'S VOLLEYBALL AWARDS & ALL-CANADIANS

Player of the year: Mitch Irvine, Alberta
Rookie of the year: Dany Demyanenko, McMaster
Libero of the year: Erik Mattson, Alberta
Coach of the year: Dave Preston, McMaster
Dale Iwanoczko Award (volleyball, academics & community service): Dane Pischke, Manitoba

First Team

Pos. - Athlete - University - Year - Hometown - Faculty

OH Nick Del Bianco TWU 3 Langley, B.C. S&L Management
OH Julio Fernandez UNB 4 Los Teques, Venezuela Business Admin.
RS Mitch Irvine Alberta 5 Red Deer, Alta. Education
OH Garrett May Western 3 Toronto , Ont. Social Sciences
LS Frédéric Mondou Laval 4 Verchères, Que. General Studies
RS Dane Pischke Manitoba 5 Winnipeg, Man. Business
OH Ray Szeto York 3 Sutton, Ont. Health & Society

Second Team

RS Tommy Bélisle Laval 2 Pierreville, Que. Biology
S Austin Campion-Smith McMaster 3 Bowmanville, Ont. Geography
M Dany Demyanenko McMaster 1 Toronto, Ont. Kinesiology
OH Bryan Duquette Dalhousie 3 St. Thomas, Ont. Kinesiology
S Chris Gilbert Saskatchewan 5 Lethbridge, Alta. Arts & Science
LS Jay Olmstead Alberta 4 Edmonton, Alta. Business
LS Sam Tuivai Brandon 2 Auckland, NZ Physical Education

All-Rookie Team

RS Eivind Andersen UNB 1 Sandnes, Norway Administration
M Dany Demyanenko McMaster 1 Toronto, Ont. Kinesiology
OH Daniel Moreau Sherbrooke 1 Sherbrooke, Que. Business Admin.
M Kenny Rooney Manitoba 1 Winnipeg, Man. Business
OPP Casey Schouten Winnipeg 1 East St. Paul, Man. Kinesiology
S Brett Walsh Alberta 1 Calgary, Alta. Phys. Ed. & Recreation
LS Tim Warnholtz Guelph 1 Guelph, Ont. Information Systems

-CIS-

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