By Joe Lipovski

Photo by Railene Hooper

The Ooks men’s volleyball team is losing three key players going into the next season.

Brandon Eagle and Simon Coat, two of the three Australians on the team will be heading home over the summer. Starting setter, Mitch Lewington, is expected to return next September after spending the spring and summer recovering from a fractured ankle. Oliver McSwain, a fourth-year player for the Ooks is not expected to return.

Head coach Doug Anton says McSwain may want to explore other options in U sport; however, there is a possibility McSwain may return for a fifth and final year with the Ooks. With several starters on the volleyball team not returning in the fall, it leaves a void to fill.

Anton is hoping to find another international student to replace Eagle as middle blocker. Anton says the team is strong on the left side and that he is comfortable moving up one of their younger players to a starting position. Anton said this is still a young team over all and expects the team to utilize the fitness centre over the summer, untimely working on getting physically stronger.

“The big thing for us in the off season, is our athletes need to get stronger and fitter,” said Anton

Anton said he will be focusing on back row skill when the team begins practice for the fall. Specifically defence and passing.

“Back row skills, defence and passing, needs to improve over the summer. We weren’t really at the level we needed to be to remain consistent at the end of the year,” said head coach, Doug Anton.

More than half of the roster this year was made up of first-year players including Johnathan Shakpa and Karsten Stime who were in the starting lineup on a regular basis.