A quartet of University of the Fraser Valley volleyball players have been selected to the PacWest conference all-star teams.
On the men’s side, Adam Chaplin was named a first team all-star, while Joel Kleingeltink and Isaiah Dahl were second-teamers. On the women’s side, Nicole Blandford was recognized as a second team all-star.
Both Cascades volleyball teams are in action this week at the PacWest provincial championships, hosted in Abbotsford by Columbia Bible College. In Thursday’s quarter-finals, the No. 5-seeded UFV women’s squad takes on the No. 4 Douglas Royals at 6 p.m., followed by the No. 4-seeded Cascades men facing the No. 5 College of the Rockies Avalanche at 8 p.m. The games can be viewed online at pacwestbc.tv.
Chaplin’s first team all-star nod caps a tremendous five-year career with the Cascades. The high-flying left side out of Hatzic Secondary had a fantastic senior season, finishing seventh in the PacWest in total offence (3.89 points/set), seventh in kills (3.03/set) and second in aces (0.68/set).
“He finished off his final year in style,” UFV men’s head coach Kyle Donen said of Chaplin. “He definitely improved on last season, which is something I know he wanted to do. He’s pretty pumped about what he was able to accomplish in the regular season, and I know he wants to see it come to fruition in the playoffs.”
Kleingeltink was named a PacWest second team all-star for the second straight season. The fourth-year right side out of Langley Christian led the Cascades and finished third in the league in both total offence (4.16 points/set) and kills (3.35/set), and was 10th in the PacWest in aces (0.35/set).
“Even though it might be hard to believe, he improved on last year,” Donen said. “He elevated his game to another level. He’s made improvements, he’s been one of our captains, and he’s taken on that challenge. His energy level for us all year has been sky-high, and we’re expecting big things in the playoffs.”
It’s a tall order for a defence-only libero to crack an all-star team, and that Dahl was able to do so is indicative of how outstanding his season was. The second-year player from Langley Christian led the PacWest in digs per set (3.69) and tied for first in total digs (277) despite missing the better part of four games due to injury. He was the only libero to earn all-star honours this season.
“He made a statement around the league in the second half last year, and he carried it into this year,” Donen said. “He started off incredibly well and had a great first half, and even though he had some injury troubles in the second half, he still managed to lead the league in digs.”
Blandford, like Chaplin, has made her fifth and final year of eligibility one to remember. The setter out of North Surrey Secondary not only facilitated the Cascades’ offence, she also showcased her well-rounded skillset by finishing among the PacWest leaders in aces (0.56/set, fourth) and digs (2.28/set, 15th).
“This is a great league with excellent players, and it’s nice to see that Nicole is valued by other coaches like she is by us,” UFV women’s coach Mike Gilray said. “She is a very deserving all-star, as she has led us since Day 1.”