Langley’s Daniel Jansen Van Doorn and the Canadian Olympic men’s volleyball team were the surprise team at the Rio Olympic men’s volleyball tournament.
And they gained loads of respect along the way.
Ranked 12th going into the Olympic tourney, Canada made it all the way to the quarter-finals before being swept in straight sets by defending Olympic champion Russia.
Prior to that, Canada pulled off a major upset by beating No. 4 Italy to earn a spot into the quarter-finals. Going into the game, Italy was undefeated in its first four matches and finished atop Pool A with 12 points.
Jansen Van Doorn, 26, along with Steven Marshall (Abbotsford) and Rudy Verhoeff (Calgary) are all former Trinity Western University Spartans, and helped Canada earn its ticket to Rio earlier this year in a last-chance qualifier.
They were named to the Olympic roster July 22.
Jansen Van Doorn, Marshall, and Verhoeff were all part of the 2011/12 Spartans men’s volleyball team that posted a 19-1 regular season record, before going undefeated in the playoffs en route to winning a second straight national championship.
Jansen Van Doorn and Verhoeff were also part of the 2010/11 Spartans team that won the CIS title on home court at the Langley Events Centre.
Canada shocked No. 5 United States to open the tournament, before losing 3-1 to Brazil and 3-0 to France.
The Canadians swept Mexico 3-0 to wrap up their preliminary action.
The Russians are moving on to play either Brazil and Argentina in one of two semifinals slated for Friday.
Also among the 313 Canadian athletes competing in Rio is Langley rower Lisa Roman.
She was a member of the Canadian crew that finished fifth in the women’s coxed eight final.