The University of the Fraser Valley men’s volleyball program’s 2017 recruiting class added eight new players last week, including three Abbotsford talents from MEI.
Graduating Eagles Dylan Neudorf, Brendan Loewen and Matthew Korlnelsen will all be moving from MEI to UFV this fall.
Loewen, Neudorf and Kornelsen helped the Eagles climb the podium at volleyball provincials in all four years of their high school years. At the junior level, they were part of a championship-winning team in 2013 and a bronze medal squad in 2014. They mirrored those results upon moving up to the senior AA ranks, winning gold in 2015 and bronze in 2016.
Loewen, a 6’3” setter, was a tournament all-star at junior provincials in 2014, and helped his Fraser Valley Volleyball Club squad win the B.C. U18 title this summer.
“Brendan is going to bring some depth to the setter position,” said Cascades head coach Kyle Donen. “He comes in with a lot of experience, and he’s definitely a competitor who wants to win. I like to see that drive in a setter. And being a left-handed setter also brings a great element to the team.”
“I chose UFV because it’s a good opportunity for me,” said Loewen, noting that it was special to sign alongside a pair of former MEI teammates. “It made my decision easier, knowing that Matt and Dylan would be here. I know a couple other guys on the team as well, so it was a good fit.”
Donen has a great deal of familiarity with Neudorf, having coached him the past two summers with the Abbotsford-based Orangemen Volleyball Club. Neudorf played middle at MEI, but he’ll likely transition to outside hitter at the next level.
“I saw a good personality and what he can bring to the table,” Donen said, reflecting on what he learned about Neudorf over the last two years. “He has a desire to really be successful in this sport, and I felt good about giving him the opportunity at this level. I know he’ll work hard for it, and he has a great competitive drive. I have confidence he’ll have success with us.”
Neudorf, who will pursue a kinesiology degree at UFV, said his high school years with the Eagles have given him a taste for winning and stoked his competitive fire.
“I have always been passionate about volleyball, and playing for MEI has been a highlight of my schooling,” he said. “I’m excited to be able to play locally in a competitive league on a high-level team with teammates of the same mindset.”
Kornelsen, like Neudorf, spent two years under Donen’s tutelage with the Orangemen. He brings tremendous speed and athleticism to the libero position, and Donen said it’s just a matter of sharpening his passing skills in the faster collegiate game.
“He’s a workhorse on defence, and I hope that element translates to the next level,” Donen said of Kornelsen. “I think he’ll add some great depth at that position.”
“UFV is an awesome local university right in my hometown where I can get a good education and play some great volleyball,” noted Kornelsen, who plans to enrol in the Faculty of Science at UFV.
The trio will be joined by new recruits Justin Peleshytyk and Keyshon Jackson from Kelowna Secondary, Lucas Mantel from Centennial Christian School in Terrace, Landon Uy from Prince George and Ian Jagersma from Edmonton.
The team kicks off the PacWest season in October. For more on the club, visit ufvcascades.ca.