The UNB Varsity Reds men’s volleyball team hopes to improve after a disappointing finish last year. The V-Reds were 8-9 last year, which was UNB’s first losing record since the 2008-09 season.
“There was a lot of parity last year,” V-Reds head coach Dan McMorran said.
This year, McMorran said, the V-Reds have a stronger and deeper team. “We’re expecting to put a great group on the floor,” he said. “It’s been a couple years since we won our last Atlantic championship, so we’re hungry for another one and guys are excited with that possibility.”
Not only do the V-Reds have 10 returning players, but they have four rookie starters in this year’s lineup.
The 2015 recruiting class includes Balmoral’s Francois Pitre-Pelletier, Simon Davis-Power from Conception Bay, N.L., Andrew Gough of O’Leary, P.E.I. and Fredericton’s Alex Egers.
McMorran said Pitre-Pelletier, an outside hitter, has amazing potential.
The coach said Davis-Power, an outside hitter, was a highly-sought player who is among UNB’s most athletic recruits in a few years.
McMorran said Gough, a middle hitter, proved to be a hidden gem during the recruiting process who joined the V-Reds late in the game.
As for Egers, a left side hitter who stands five-foot-ten, McMorran said he’s a second-year student who tried out last year, but was unsuccessful. He then took his game and physical condition to the next level.
McMorran said UNB’s three international players will also have starting roles this year. They are outside hitter Elvind Anderson from Norway, Australia-born middle hitter Sam Alves and Elliott Allison, a middle hitter from London, England.
“It’s the first time that’s happened with our program,” said McMorran.
The V-Reds played their first interlock from Oct. 23 to 24 at Dalhousie University in Halifax. They fell 3-1 to Laval and downed Montreal 3-1 before losing to Sherbrooke 3-1 for an overall record of 1-2.
“It was a disappointing result for us,” said McMorran. “But we’re starting four new players this year out of seven, so there will be some growing pains. Overall, we’re pleased by the efforts from the new guys.”
McMorran said the V-Reds are a team that’s working hard.
“We’re all about building a program that competes for a national championship every year,” he said.
UNB hosts the Memorial University Seahawks on Saturday, Nov. 7 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 8 at 1 p.m.