By Carly McKay
With only a couple of weeks to go before the official season starts, Dinos men’s volleyball Head Coach Greg Ryan is quietly confident. The team is looking to improve on last years’ finish in a tough conference, and with five returning starters, Ryan believes his team has what it takes to go the distance.
“This team is definitely top four material,” he boasted. “We’re looking at the playoffs for sure.”
Although last year’s team failed to make the post-season cut, strong middle players Sean Kendall and Blake Adair look to make an impact this time around. With rookies Greg Emslie and Cam Main adding depth at the libero and offside hitting positions, the Dinos are poised to make a serious run at the national title.
The kickoff point of the season comes Oct. 28-30, when the 18th annual Husky Dino Cup roars into the Jack Simpson Gymnasium. The “best volleyball tournament in North America” features the Dinos, along with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies, the York University Lions, and the University of California, Los Angeles Bruins in a showdown that draws huge fan support every year.
Despite this being a pre-season tournament, Ryan recognizes that it provides his players with a valuable opportunity.
“It helps us prepare for the pressure you’d see at nationals,” he explained.
With the gym packed full and TSN showcasing the matches, the team will get just a taste of the excitement they are gearing up for in February, when they will hopefully see a playoff berth.
“Volleyball struggles to get television coverage, but when it is on, it’s well received,” said Ryan. “The Dino Cup [coverage] shows that we can compete with the NCAA, and that’s important.”
We’ll see just how competitive the Dinos are on Thu., Oct. 28, when the Dinos face UCLA at 8 p.m. in the Jack Simpson Gymnasium.