The Red River Rebels men’s volleyball team is remaining steady in their quest for a fourth consecutive conference title. Their two straight-set match wins at home over Assiniboine Community College on Saturday, November 6 give the defending champs a healthy first place lead with a record of 4-0.
One of the reasons the Rebel men remain in the hunt year after year is their ability to develop and build talent from within. Mike Kozoway is a textbook example of head coach Dan Gilbert’s ability to recruit and develop a player into a dominant starter.
Mike was our second right side option last year, playing behind (the graduated) Jeff Draper,” said Gilbert. “Entering this year as a second year player he has demonstrated huge improvements as both an attacker and blocker, resulting in him earning the starting position with this year’s team.”
In Saturday’s first match, Kozoway had 7 kills on 12 attempts with only 1 attack error for a 58% kill percentage and a 50% attack efficiency. He also had a team-high 5 blocks.
“These are awesome numbers for an outside attacker,” added Gilbert. “These stats are based on him playing in only two sets of the first match. However, he was our most consistent player throughout the entire weekend including the second match.”
Coach Gilbert went on to tell of the circumstances Kozoway had to overcome before the 2010-11 season.
“Mike was in a motorcycle accident and broke his collarbone in 3 spots in early August, leaving his role on this year’s team questionable. He has made a great recovery and his work ethic and positive approach to the game have resulted in huge success for himself and our program.”
The Rebels will battle to retain first place in the MCAC with two matches against a fellow undefeated squad, the 3-0 Canadian Mennonite University Blazers on Friday, November 19 at 8:00 p.m. and Saturday, November 20 at 3:30 p.m. Both matches will take place at Red River’s Notre Dame Campus.
By Darrin Bauming