By Nick Patch
The Ryerson men’s volleyball team is following its most successful season ever the way any true championship-calibre franchise would: by aggressively pursuing the best players in the country.
So far this off-season, that has meant wooing two of the most talented players in Canada — one at the high-school level, the other a university veteran — and creating a logjam at the setter position in the process.
Patrick Corriveau is a 6’6″ setter coming to the Rams after finding success with universitiees out west and more recently, the University of Manitoba’s volleyball team.
Cameron Bartlett, meanwhile, is the fresh face of Ryerson’s volleyball future, a 6’2″ setter coming to the school after building an impressive volleyball resume in high school.
The goal for coach Mirek Porosa can be summed up in one word: depth. “(My aim is) to have the comfort of two or three people at every position, so I don’t have to be worried about injuries or any surprises with academics,” Porosa said.
The Rams, however, already have an established setter in Greg Marszalek, who has been Ryerson’s starting setter for the last three years. Porosa said that the starting setter for next year’s team will be determined after the pre-season.
“Obviously Greg has got experience. He knows the players, he’s been playing three years as a starter, so he’s advantaged, but (the job) is up for grabs,” Porosa said.
Marszalek, for his part, said he welcomes Corriveau to the team, despite the potential loss in playing time. A member of six teams that have reached the national Final Four, including the 2003 CIS championship team, Corriveau’s size and experience make him a valuable addition to the roster. “He’s going to be an impact player, otherwise I wouldn’t have brought him here,” Porosa said.
Corriveau says he isn’t worried about starting. “Greg has been the number one setter for the past three years, so I didn’t even ask for (Porosa) to give me a guarantee.” Corriveau, an Ottawa native, said he has known Marszalek for years. In fact, Greg’s brother Roger and middle Matt Fugard played a big role in helping to recruit Corriveau to the team. “There’s not going to be any hard feelings either as to who gets the spot,” Corriveau said.
“It’ll just be who deserves it, so there won’t be any negative team chemistry.”
Porosa was attracted to Corriveau because of his maturity. He boasts a high GPA and has received academic all-Canadian honours twice. He believes he can help Ryerson’s other newest addition, Bartlett, adjust to university life. “I know when I was in my first year at Western, it was a pretty tough transition,” Corriveau said. “When I was coming to school, it really helped me (to have) a couple of veterans showing me the ropes.”
While Bartlett will appreciate the help, he seems pretty well-rounded, too. Porosa raved not just about Bartlett’s hands, but also his values and dedication. “He’s going to be the cornerstone in keeping the team at the level it is right now. He’s going to be one of the best setters in the OUA when he gets stronger, by far.” Porosa isn’t done tinkering with the Rams lineup.He’s looking for the extra pieces that could help the team bring home a championship.
“It’s extremely hard to be top two in Ontario, which is my ultimate goal. And to be that in Canada as well, because that’s what we are working towards,” he said.
“We’re just sending a message to the volleyball community.”