Friday, June 26, 2009

Tough loss to China

I am updating after our first match of pool play here at the World Championships in Stavanger, Norway.  We had drawn a Chinese team who are the 7th seed in the tournament and played them on center court today at noon.  

Center court was an amazing atmosphere with about 1000 people attending and loads of Canadian flags out!! Such a pleasure to play in front of a few fellow country men as any support network helps.  It was a fantastic day with plenty of direct sun and a slight warm breeze making center court a little stuffy. 

Ahren and I had a great warm up and were feeling superb.  We were able to bring that positive energy to the court and won the first set 23-21, fending off a game point advantage for the Chinese.  We battled hard and were paid off for our patience and tough serving. The second set was also a tight one and had us leading 12-9 at the technical timeout.  We were making great points from their left side player who is a more juvenile athlete in the Chinese program but we just couldn't build on the lead.  The second set finished at 28-26 for China even though we had 3 match point attempts with us serving.  They made some great blocking plays and I wound up getting aced on my line to put them back in the game for the last push.  

The third set saw us go down 4-1 on the first switch but we brought it back to what felt like a tight 11-9 score for China.  We had a few points to tie it but we just couldn't convert and wound up switching 14-11.  We brought it to 14-12 but unfortunately couldn't hold them off long enough to tie it.

Overall it was a great game for us and we proved to ourselves that we are able to compete with the top ranked teams in the world.  We displayed our grit and determination late in sets which isn't usually present in new teams so we are excited to build on this promising duo. Please check out the tournament photos where you can find some great actions shots of us!

Our next opponents will be Germany on Sunday at 11 Norwegian time so we will have plenty of rest and refocus time before we hear another whistle.  

All the best from Stavanger!


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Start of the World Championships in Stavanger, Norway

My new partner Ahren Cadieux and I landed in Stavanger, Norway Tuesday evening after a fairly lengthy travel day from Toronto. We unfortunately missed a connection in Frankfurt due to complications so we spent a little more time in the airport lounges than anticipated. We are pleased to report we landed safely and to a lovely surprise! After preparing ourselves mentally for terrible weather, we landed in Stavanger at 8 at night to 22 degree blue skies!! It has been fabulous since our arrival and this fantastic weather is supposed to continue for a while!!

The amenities here are second to none and we were taken care of the second we got off the plane. We were then taken by our personal athlete shuttle to a friend's house we were invited to stay at prior to the event.  It is always amazing to have support from Canadians abroad and Norway is definitely special.  There are many expats as well as Canadian related workers in the oil business who are pleased to have us as guests and help us out wherever they can. Thus far we have been wined and dined by various families which helps considering this is the most expensive spot on the FIVB tour! 

We have trained twice thus far, once with Brazilian and French teams and the second with the top Brazilian team who are ranked #1 at these World Championships!! A great team for sure who challenged us in all aspects of the game.  The definitely helped us prepare for our first match tomorrow which will be on center court at 12 against a Chinese team.  The schedule here in Norway is starts with pool play for 6 days and then moves to a single elimination 32 team championship draw.  We are the first game on center court tomorrow and will play one match Sunday as well as Tuesday making it perfect for relaxing and scouting!  I am really looking forward to giving everything I have during the games and making a move forward at this crucial time in my career.  

For those who care to watch our match, you can do so on and search for Beach Volleyball. They should be televising our midday match tomorrow which will be about 3 in the morning for all you keeners or late nighters in British Columbia!  Our Sunday match will be 11 AM Norwegian time (2 in the morning in BC) and our Tuesday Game will be at 5 PM making it 10 in the morning Tuesday. The World Championship website is
if you care to look at photos and results.

Until the next post!!


Sunday, June 21, 2009

World Championships here we come!!

It has been a fantastic two weeks here in Toronto training with my new partner Ahren Cadieux.  We have adapted very nicely to our respective playing styles and I am truly confident we are a threat at the World Championships. 

Last weekend I had the pleasure of competing in an Ontario Volleyball tournament with Christian Redmand while Ahren was at a funeral. Christian and I matured over the single day event and took the finals 21-17, 21-17 against a solid Ontario veteran team. I had a lot of fun switch blocking with Christian and I really impressed myself with defensive touches! In total we played 6 games over the Saturday and I was wrecked by the end of it.  Not since Highschool have I played that many matches in one day.  Thank goodness for my good friend Glenn who is a Muscle Activation Therapy specialist and he had put me in the physical condition to last the full day and not be crippled the following day!!

My body is feeling fantastic and after todays bump and spike against National Champions Matt and Josh, I believe we are as prepared we will ever be.  

Our flight is Monday at 5:30 so regular road posts can be expected now that we will be on tour!! The 10 day World Championships will be a highlight in my career and I am looking forward to executing my skills after months of focused preparation.



Tuesday, June 9, 2009


After a light day of full travel I have arrived safely in Toronto and my new beach partner Ahren Cadieux was at the airport to pick me up.  Unfortunately Air Canada has recently replaced the backings in theirs seats to a non-adjustable head rest which conveniently sticks into the middle of my shoulder blades.  Needless to say, my posture on the entire trip was poor and consequently my lower back has tightened up.  

To resolve my back issue, we immediately went to the beach to get warm, move around a bit and play some ball.  It always amazes me when I land at Ash Bridges Bay in Toronto because there are over 100 courts set up every night for league play.  With 4 or 6 people per side, you can imagine how many people are down there!!  It is a great vibe and it staggers me how the popularity of our sport hasn't influenced a pro league across our great nation. It was great to show up and see some familiar faces and friends who are highly involved with the development and promotion of the sport.  Mark Riley and Brian Hiebert who I have played with and against are still heavily involved in beach and it was great to see them both running training sessions for numerous male and female youth teams.  The level was high and I am excited to say that there are some great looking athletes coming through Ontario.  Lets just hope BC has what it takes to compete with their bitter cross country rivals!!

Ahren and I jumped in with a few kids he had coached this year in club and it was an easy transition to play with him.  We will be working out our team play over the next few weeks but I am confident everything will fall into place by the end of this week.  During the training I was also invited to play in a beach tournament happening this weekend with Christian Redman, a solid friend and beach athlete! I agreed to play so I can look forward to playing in a top Ontario series this Saturday as Ahren will be attending a funeral all weekend.

Ahren and I finished the training and chilled on the beach for a while discussing the west coast and how amazing it is.  His mother lives in Victoria and he frequents the Island for holidays so we were able to share some thoughts on the best place to live on the planet.  From there we hit an all you can eat Eastern Buffet in the Beaches area and discusses past partners, mistakes and our commitment to the sport.  I wasn't sure what my role was going to be or how the vibe would be between us but I am pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to connect with him and communicate about our mental stances, playing styles, dreams and equality on the court.  I am really looking forward to the partnership and the next 6 weeks of competition!

Cheers from Toronto

Monday, June 8, 2009

Partner switch and change of plans

Life has taken a serious change and I have completely changed my training and travel plans.  I have been training in California for the last two weeks with Ray Sewell as we had planned on playing in the World Championships and Grand Slam events together in 2009.  Unfortunately we didn't qualify for the World Championships but the top ranked player in Canada (in terms of international points) called me and asked if I wanted to play in those events.  I had made a clear goal for myself before the 2008 season started and it was to play in the World Championships and proceeding four Grand Slam events due to their great importance for gaining points and also heavier cash purses.  It looked like I wasn't going to qualify for the main draw with Ray and I couldn't pass up on this golden opportunity to get into the main draws with another top athlete in Canada.

So I was living and training with Ray in California and all that has now changed.  I left California to return home and pack for the new plan of training with Ahren Cadieux in Ash Bridges Bay, Toronto for two weeks leading up to the World Championships.  I have had 2 days to pack at home and sort my life out and I am really looking forward to turning it up a notch in Toronto as the new Team Canada coach will be helping us.  

I must go and finish packing, so many things to cram into my suitcase!!