David Pastor, Sports Reporter
Humber’s men and women volleyball teams travelled across the world to play in tournaments during the holiday break.
It gave the teams an opportunity to face strong opponents from North America and Europe, improve on their game and build stronger relationships. The men brought home gold by beating an Ontario team in the finals while the women took second in the finals against a B.C. team.
The women’s team travelled to southern California to play in the San Diego Cup, a tournament they have attended a number of times over the last decade.
The tournament consisted of the top colleges and universities in Canada as well as at least one of the state’s best volleyball teams.
Chris Wilkins, the head coach of the women’s volleyball team, found this year’s tournament to be even more important because of the team’s young roster.
“We have a fairly young team this year, we have a bunch of first years and quite a few second years and only a hand full of third and fourth years,” he said. “So, it was nice for us to get away for 10 days, no school, no family, none of that stuff, and just bond and work on some things, and just get ourselves ready for the second half.”
Megan Hunt, Humber’s outside hitter on the left side, took the opportunity to help build on the relationship she had with her teammates.
“It really gave me a chance to meet the girls and bond with the girls that I didn’t think I really get close with, so it really helped us become a tight knitted group,” she said.
The women were able to get away from the cold Canadian winter and do what they enjoy most and loved every minute of it.
“It was awesome. We were all together, the weather was nice, the facility was really good and the volleyball we were playing was really good,” said Alex Bartmann, setter for the women’s team. “It was a good experience and we had some fun, played some good volleyball and was also a good bonding moment as well.”
The men’s volleyball team, meanwhile, were invited to the Dynamo Tournament in Amsterdam by The Netherlands Association. The tournament has been running for 27 years and organizers wanted to increase the amount of international competition.
And the Canadians invited to the tournament did very well. Humber took gold, beating Nipissing University in the final.
Wayne Wilkins, the coach of the men’s team, was excited about the invite his team received and looked to take advantage of the opportunity, physically and educationally.
“Getting a chance to travel overseas and see how the other side of the world plays volleyball and lives and was awesome for the guys,” he said.
“The educational growth that they came away with was far more valuable than necessarily the volleyball stuff,” Wilkins said. “I think seeing things like the Rijksmuseum, we took them to the Anne Frank House, we toured the canals, they got a chance to really see how life is different in other countries and I think that’s something that they’ll never be able to replace or forget and hopefully it makes them better people in the end.”
Despite being away from family at New Year, Rrezart Sadiku and Eduardo Silva Ferreira, Humber’s starting outside hitters felt at home with the team.
“Once we got there, once we settled in, we’re like, hey, we’re with our second family. So, we were good,” Sadiku said.
“Personally, for me, I’ve never been in Europe, so it was actually a great time, a chance that I had to be with the team, it’s our second family,” Ferreira said. “Everybody’s pretty close. It was just a great time and a great experience.”