Three former Trinity Western University men’s volleyball stars are off to Rio, as Dan Jansen Van Doorn (Langley), Steven Marshall (Abbotsford) and Rudy Verhoeff (Calgary) will make up one quarter of the Canadian Olympic men’s volleyball roster.
The Spartans trio, who helped Canada earn its ticket to Rio earlier this year in a last-chance qualifier, was officially named to the Olympic roster on July 22.
Friday’s announcement lifts TWU’s vaunted men’s volleyball program to yet another level as the four-time CIS national champions (2006, 2011, 2012 and 2016) can now boast four Olympians.
“Knowing those guys and how hard they’ve worked for this opportunity and hearing the stories of their journeys – the ups and the downs – it’s pretty neat that I’ve been able to have a relationship with these guys for so long and walk with them in this process,” said Spartans coach Ben Josephson. “It’s awesome to see them achieve their goals and dreams.
Jansen Van Doorn, Marshall and Verhoeff were all part of the 2011/12 Spartans 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.
After qualifying for the Olympics, the Spartans trio went on to help the Maple Volleys win the Group 2 title in the FIVB World League, something Canada has never done before.
“A lot of athletes come to our program with hopes and dreams of playing professionally and playing for the senior national team,” Josephson said. “One of our goals is to provide a pathway to that. We want to make sure we create a high-level, intelligent and driven environment where you have to have good learning skills, good development skills, good work ethic and lots of technical focus. Ideally we align our systems with what the senior national team is doing and the international trends, so our athletes are ahead of the curve.”
Canada, who is currently No. 12 in the FIVB rankings, will open its Olympic campaign Aug. 7 with a match against No. 5 ranked U.S.