Marshall, Canada eye Olympic berth

Abbotsford volleyball star hoping to help lead Canada to Rio de Janeiro

Abbotsford’s Steve Marshall was only three years old the last time the Canadian national men’s volleyball team competed at the Olympic Games.

Marshall has the opportunity to end the drought in Edmonton this weekend, as he and his Team Canada teammates battle Mexico, Cuba and Puerto Rico in a qualifying tournament.

The winner of the round robin tournament, which runs from Friday to Sunday at the Saville Community Sports Centre in the Alberta capital, punches a ticket to the Games in Rio de Janeiro this summer.

Marshall spent four seasons with the Trinity Western University Spartans and won a Canadian Interuniversity Sport championship in 2012, before signing a contract with Poland’s Transfer Bydgoszcz in the summer of 2014.

He caught the eye of Team Canada shortly after and began playing for the red and white internationally. After one year in Poland, Marshall joined Germany’s SVG Lüneburg for the 2015-16 campaign. He also earned a bronze medal as a part of Team Canada at the Pan-Am Games this past July.

Canada, ranked 10th in the world, opens on Friday against 22nd-ranked Puerto Rico. They battle 24th-ranked Mexico on Saturday and then 15th-ranked Cuba on Sunday to close the tournament. It marks the first time Canada has ever hosted an Olympic qualifying tournament.