Simac digs national team shot

CHRIS STEVENSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:57 AM ET

Ottawa's Adam Simac is close to where he wants to be.

The 6-foot-7 middle blocker is in the thick of the battle for a spot on the national men's volleyball team and showed some good flashes in last night's Red and White match at Carleton, part of the national team selection camp being held in Gatineau through Sunday.

Simac had back-to-back big blocks to help the Whites rally to a 25-23 win in the first set and ultimately rule the night 3-1 over the Reds in front of a gym packed with the players competing in this weekend's Canadian Open Championships.

SIR WIL GRAD

"It's the first time everyone is together and there was a little rust, but we saw some good things. I'm looking forward to building on that the rest of the weekend," said Simac, who attended Sir Wilfrid Laurier High School in Orleans and went on to Queen's.

He spent the last season playing professionally in Austria and looks ready to take on a role on a young Team Canada.

"My goal ever since I started playing was playing for the national team," said the 25-year-old. "I want to make the A team and contribute as much as I can, whatever the coaching staff wants. It's time for me to start contributing."

Simac was full time with the national training centre coming out of this camp last year.

"He's got really good blocking skills," said Canada's coach Glenn Hoag. "He needs more experience at this level, but he has all the attributes. He's a very intelligent kid. They're all good athletes at this level. It's how fast you read the situation and he's got a really good intelligence, which is really great for him."

OFF TO CUBA

The national men's program is focused on getting into the world championships in Italy next year and they'll try and take a step toward that in August in Cuba in the first of a couple of opportunities to qualify for the worlds. Some members of the national team will also be members of Canada's team at the 25th Universiade (FISU Games) in Belgrade, Serbia in July.

The longer term goal, of course, is qualifying for the Olympics in London in 2012.

"Our senior group is quite young," said Hoag. "They've been together for two years, but except for two or three guys, they are not so experienced. It will be interesting to see how the young guys do against pro athletes."


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