Ryan Sclater, a former player with the Langley-based Trinity Western University (TWU) Spartans, was the top scorer for Team Canada during their win against Argentina on the weekend.
Sclater collected 21 points in the 3-1 victory (25-21, 29-27,16-25, 26-24) that saw the Canadians outscore the Argentinians before a hometown crowd in Mendoza, Argentina, on Sunday (June 2).
Another former TWU player, Lucas Van Berkel, was an offensive standout with seven points.
It was the start of the 16-nation Volleyball Nations League competition, an international round-robin volleyball tournament for the senior men’s national teams of the members of the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB), the sport’s global governing body.
Canada opened with a loss to Bulgaria on Friday (May 31), and a win over Portugal Saturday (June 1).
Team Canada head coach Glenn Hoag called the win against Argentina a “solid match.”
“It was a great team effort, as Argentina was also playing really well,” Hoag said.
“Our block defense was outstanding and (setter) Brett Walsh conducted a very good offense. I thought that Lucas Van Berkel and Ryan Sclater brought some fresh energy, and were very solid in their performance.”
Sclater, a six-foot-six outside hitter, previously racked up multiple awards, both as a high school and university player.
He led the Terry Fox Ravens to the 2012 B.C. 3A provincial senior boys basketball championship title, earning most valuable player honours along the way.
In 2017, in the final game of his five-year university volleyball career, Sclater helped lead the Trinity Western Spartans to the U Sports national championship with a 3-1 victory over the host Alberta Golden Bears in Edmonton.
This is not his first experience of international-calibre competition.
In 2018, Sclater was one of four Spartans who helped Canada to a perfect three-win weekend at the FIVB Volleyball Nations League in San Juan, Argentina, along with Van Berkel, Dan Jansen VanDoorn and Steve Marshall.
Canada finished seventh that year with an 8-7 record – just short of a spot in the final six.
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Sclater and Van Berkel were part of a sizeable TWU contingent on the long list of 30 players that Volleyball Canada submitted to the FIVB for the Volleyball Nations League competition this year.
Eight other former, current, or future Spartans were included.
Among the former Spartans were Olympians Steven Marshall and Daniel Jansen Vandoorn, who hails from Langley, as Blake Scheerhoorn, and Adam Schriemer.
Current Spartans included Eric Loeppky, Derek Epp, and Brodie Hofer, another Langley native.
Incoming TWU freshman Mathias Elser was also included.
TWU men’s volleyball head coach Ben Josephson was proud of the players.
“Knowing these young men and how hard they have all worked, it’s super exciting to see them getting the ultimate reward for their tireless efforts,” Josephson commented.
“So many of these players have had the talent and the drive to play for Canada since the day I met them,” Josephson added.
“We at TWU are humbled and honoured that they choose to spend their university volleyball years with us at Langley as they developed their game and pursue their dreams of helping Canada to the Olympic Games.”
Five Spartans were on the first Team Canada weekend roster: Ryan Sclater, Lucas VanBerkel, Steven Marshall, Adam Schriemer and Eric Loeppky.
Other Spartans on the long list could be called up as the series continues.
Currently, Canada is sixth-ranked of the 16 teams taking part in the Volleyball Nations League.
“We continued to improve game by game, which is very satisfying,” Gord Perrin, team captain, said of the matches in Argentina.
“This was by far our best game of the weekend. Our offense has made a major improvement and we played very well on defense. Unfortunately, we let the first match [against Bulgaria] slip, but day by day we are finding our game again.”
Canada will host the series next weekend, taking on Australia, Germany and Serbia on familiar ground at the Arena at TD Place in Ottawa.
Finals will take place in the U.S. next month.
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