By Garrett Simmons
Lethbridge School Division Communications
It’s not often two high school teammates have an opportunity to play together at the post-secondary level.
But for Lethbridge Collegiate Institute’s Brett Boone and Sean Vanderzee, that dream became a reality on Monday.
Olds College coach Ryan Marsden made the trip to LCI see Boone and Vanderzee sign on the dotted line to play for the Broncos.
“Sean as a setter is an amazing playmaker,” said Marsden. “He does such a good job of finding his hitters, creating good opportunities for them to score. As a coach, we look for players to score, obviously, but you need that person to set them up in order for them to be successful.”
The coach added Boone is the perfect compliment for a set-up man like Vanderzee.
“As far as Brett in concerned, his biggest thing is his attack,” said Marsden. “He’s such a great attacker. On the court he has good knowledge of where the block is. From watching him, I think he sees the block really well and he has different angles that he can hit.”
Dustin McCubbing, who coached the duo at LCI, is excited to see what his seniors can accomplish at the next level.
“Sean was a very important part of our team, a team captain and someone that I’m going to miss personally, and the same with Brett,” he said. “Brett and I developed quite a great relationship this year. He was our starting right side and I just wish the best for both of these guys going forward to next year and into the future with volleyball.”
As good as the LCI Rams standouts are on the court, Marsden added that’s only part of the equation.
“On behalf of Olds College, I want to welcome these two guys,” he said. “They’re fantastic people, great athletes. In my communication with anybody that we try to recruit, it’s about whether they are going to fit into our program culturally, and we’re kind of culture snobs. We’ve had to do a lot of work to change the culture in our program and so we want good human beings – people that are honest and work hard.”
The coach added he was sold on Boone and Vanderzee after the Lethbridge athletes made a visit to Olds.
“We were able to have both of them come to campus, meet our guys and train with us, and I think that was a big difference maker for us, to be able to see them on campus and have us recognize them as the good people they are. We are honoured. We know we are super lucky these two have decided to come to our institution and we embrace them wholly as a member of our family.”
For Marsden, securing commitments from two Rams, who were first-team Southern Alberta Volleyball League all-stars, speaks to the quality of volleyball played at LCI.
“The program here at LCI has been a great program year after year, all the way back a 100 years ago when I was an athlete. I did not go to LCI but I came here and played against LCI and there’s a strong tradition here and I think it’s a fantastic thing to be able to get two of these athletes to come to our program.”
Vanderzee, who plays the setter position, is excited to take his game the to post-secondary level, after a successful run at high school.
“This year was a big part of my volleyball career, especially with Dustin being a major part of helping me out get to where I am,” he said. “It’s just amazing to be able to play with a player that I know so well for another year.”
The all-star setter added his mind was made up after having the opportunity to spend time with his future Broncos teammates.
“Olds was one of my options, out of a few, and the environment there just completely changed everything. I wasn’t 100-per-cent sure and as soon as I got to go to campus and practised with them for a bit, it completely changed my decision.”
Boone, who played the right side position at LCI, knows playing college volleyball will come with its challenges.
“I’m super excited but also super nervous – it’s going be a change in environment but I think I’ve had a really strong community that I’ve been able to play with and I’ve been playing with Sean for six-plus years. So, it’s pretty exciting.”
He added he’s looking forward to getting to know his new Olds teammates.
“I chose Olds because I really enjoyed the team culture and I especially enjoyed playing with the team. They’re a bunch of really nice guys.”