(MELBOURNE, Australia) Sam Alves is getting one last chance to play some university volleyball.
After completing his fifth season with the UNB Varsity Reds and exhausting his U SPORTS eligibility, Alves has been selected to the men’s team that will represent Australia at the upcoming FISU Summer Universiade, in Taipei City.
“I am extremely excited to represent my country again,” said Alves. “I represented Australia at youth and junior levels, but never at any form of senior level, so it’ll be a new and exciting experience for me.”
A middle blocker, Alves hails from Melbourne, on Australia’s southeastern coast.
He helped the Varsity Reds capture Atlantic University Sport titles in three of his five seasons, including back to back championships in his final two seasons. Alves was named an AUS all-star in 2015-16 and 2016-17.
“I found out about a month ago that I had been selected to play,” said Alves, one of six Australian team members coming from the Canadian university ranks.
“The fact that I have so many Australian teammates in Canada shows how highly U SPORTS is regarded,” he said. “We have no form of college or university league at home, so Canada is a popular destination for Australian volleyballers looking to play at the next level while getting an education.”
“Although Sam isn’t suiting up for Team Canada, we’re incredibly proud that he is able to represent his country at these games,” said Varsity Reds head coach Dan McMorran. “I feel that part of our job as U SPORTS coaches is to prepare athletes to play at the next level, and we’re thrilled that Sam is able to do this, and add to the list of Varsity Reds who are taking the next step.”
At the Summer Universiade, the Aussies find themselves in a pool with Russia, China, the Czech Republic, Hong Kong and Romania.
Known as the ‘Uniroos,’ the men’s volleyball squad will be looking to improve on Australia’s 0-5 record from the 2015 Universiade. Twice, in 2015, they pushed opponents to a fifth set.
“As a team, we would like the best result possible,” said Alves. “Personally, I’d love to get out of the group stage and into the winners bracket where anything in achievable.”
McMorran believes Alves will be a big asset to the Australian team.
“He’s a passionate and intense player who is an extremely quick, powerful, and efficient attacker out of the middle. He’ll be facing taller middles from most other countries, but his work ethic and power will more than make up for the difference,” he said.
Alves will be one of six current or former Varsity Reds competing in the Games.
Javon Masters has been named to Canada’s men’s basketball team, while Marcus Lees, Evan Barker and Kalen Park are part of Canada’s men’s soccer team, along with incoming recruit Tristan Nkoghe. That team will be coached by Miles Pinsent, head coach of UNB’s men’s soccer team.
Following the Taipei Games, Alves will begin his first season of professional volleyball. He’s joining VC Bitterfeld-Wolfen, in Germany’s 2nd Bundesliga.
“I’m eager for the opportunity to play in a new country and play at a new level of volleyball.”
The 2017 Summer Universiade, in Taipei City, runs August 19th through 30th.