The award adds to the third-year player’s already illustrious collegiate career
Natasha Jones // Contributor
Simon Friesen was surprised and honoured when he heard his name being called up to the stage at the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Men’s Volleyball National Championship banquet in Victoria.
Just two weeks earlier, Friesen was named Pacific Western Athletic Association (PACWEST) Player of the Year.
“It was pretty cool,” he said. “I knew I was going to be one of the top players in the league this year, but I wasn’t expecting to be recognized as the top player. It’s really cool to be recognized for all the work you put in, even though other players put in effort.”
While winning the PACWEST Player of the Year meant he had a shot at winning the National Player of the Year at the CCAA Awards, the setter didn’t think that he would come this far after his team didn’t make it to national tournament after coming up short in the PACWEST provincial playoffs. “I thought all those chances dropped off, that they’d give it to a guy who played in the tournament. It was a shock,” he said.
Despite the fact the season ended rather disappointingly after two losses at the PACWEST’s provincial tournament, the Capilano Blues men’s volleyball team finished the year with a unforgettable regular season, and Friesen is proud of how far his team has come and reflected on how much they’ve grown. “After such a strong season, it got us all very excited for next year because we can do the same thing but finish strong as well,” he said. The team excelled at keeping a spread out offence, and clear communication on court meant that Friesen could set to any of his teammates.
Friesen got into volleyball after his friends encouraged him to try out for the school team in Grade 6, and shortly after that, he developed a love for the sport when his team won provincials and nationals in Grade 8. While he didn’t receive as much playing time back then, the setter remembers his experience fondly and continued to improve as a player ever since.
Since then, Friesen has grown exponentially as a player, rarely finding himself on the bench while playing for the Blues. His time at CapU has allowed him to gain a better understanding of the game, as well as helped him grow stronger both physically and mentally. He also attributes his performance to his coach, the PACWEST Coach of the Year Emmanuel Denguessi, who’s lead the Men’s Volleyball since Friesen arrived.
In addition to his contributions on the court, the student-athlete is team representative for the Blues Athletic Council, and volunteers alongside his teammates at kids volleyball camps in the summer run by the team’s assistant coach, who works for Volleyball BC.
Currently in his third-year, Friesen is pursuing his degree in the Bachelor’s of Arts program at Capilano University and wants to play Volleyball professionally in future. Friesen also hopes to one day win a national championship with the Blues.