Wesmen reload volleyball powerhouse

KEN WIEBE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:45 AM ET

Why does a star, two-sport athlete choose to go to a school where he has virtually no chance of starting as a freshman?

That's easy. The young, but mature individual realizes the importance of going to an institution that values winning.

Nobody has won more CIS men's volleyball championships (10) than the Winnipeg Wesmen and that's why Adam Erickson decided to enroll at the University of Winnipeg and be part of the 2007- 08 title defence.

"It's an amazing program they have here and they've had it for a long time," said Erickson, a J.H. Bruns student who is also member of the Manitoba Provincial basketball team and the 19-and- under Provincial volleyball team. "It was a pretty easy decision. Volleyball is what I've been leaning toward the past couple of years. The decision kind of made itself."

The Wesmen will lose three of the seven starters from the championship squad, but head coach Larry McKay expects the vacancies to be filled by players who came off the bench last year.

"Guys usually need a year to get up to that level," said McKay. "But (the recruits) will play a vital role right away because the veteran guys will see those young guys (work in practice) and they know the way it works is that if they get passed by a younger guy, they will be replaced."

Knowing that he'll have an opportunity to push for playing time is a challenge Erickson embraces.

"(Starting as a reserve) is a small price to pay and I'm willing to pay it to be able to play for this team," said Erickson.

Other local products committing to the Wesmen men's volleyball program for the upcoming season include Marc Ross of College Jeanne-Sauve, Linden Mandryk of John Taylor, Rory Scott of Dakota and Emory Wells of Miles MacDonell.

Dave Crook's men's basketball team welcomes Oak Park forward Ben Kingdon, Vincent Massey forward Ryan Willerton and former Glenlawn Collegiate guard Cam Hornby, who spent last year as a red-shirt player at South Dakota State University.

Women's basketball coach Tanya McKay introduced Amy Ogidan of Oak Park, Rosemary Mills of Westwood Collegiate, MacKenzie Prasek of Vincent Massey Collegiate and Caity Purivs-Collins of Churchill High School.

Women's volleyball head coach Diane Scott unveiled a group that includes Alix Krahn of River East, Leah Brezinski of Sisler, Karen Montgomery of Vincent Massey, Devyn DeGagne of River East and a trio of out-of-province recruits in Sarah Croft of Weyburn, Sask., Christie Nairn of Saskatoon and Lauren Sears of Truro, N.S.

Krahn said she and Scott have similar personalities and share the passion for the sport.

"It's something in me that she likes, to see the bit of vinegar in there and competitiveness," said Krahn, noting she will pursue a bachelor of science degree in bio-chemistry. "Competitiveness is important our sport and the best (players) are the most competitive."


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