One of U of T’s best volleyball players is getting an opportunity of a lifetime. Marc Arseneau, Blues team captain, is off to Daegu, South Korea at the end of August to represent Canada at the World University Championships.

Arseneau had been training with the Canadian National A2 volleyball squad when he heard the good news. “This is an opportunity of a lifetime,” said the ecstatic power hitter, “but just making the team is not good enough. The goal is to be a starter for the team, and to play consistently well throughout the entire tournament.”

Last season for the Varsity Blues, Arseneau was selected as a first team All-Canadian after dominating the OUA field from his trademark left side. What is more impressive is that he did it while nursing a thumb injury, a fracture that sidelined him for a good chunk of playing time. Luckily for both the team and his stats, Arseneau managed to make it off the injury list in time for the OUA and CIS playoffs.

While he continues to tape the thumb to play, Arseneau is quick to add that the injury is fully healed and his digit does not bother him at all. Knowing that his mental and physical game is unfettered is great news for both the Blues and the Korea-bound Canadian team.

Joining Arseneau in Daegu is an extremely deep bench, with the 11-man roster boasting nine 2002-2003 CIS Conference all-stars. The entire squad is composed of CIS student athletes.

University of Calgary head coach Greg Ryan will lead the 2003 Canadian team. This will be Ryan’s fourth Universiade and second as a head coach. When asked about his opinion on this squad, Ryan responded that “most of this team has been training with the national program this summer and there will be some great continuity. The team possesses great size, skill and tremendous leaders.”

In preparation for the 2003 Universiade, Team Canada will travel to Korea on August 13, where they will stop in Seoul for exhibition matches versus Korea, Japan and the Netherlands. This group of volleyball stars is hoping to improve on Canada’s showing at the last Universiade in Beijing in 2001, where they placed a disappointing 14th in the 27-team event.

This time around, the draw did not fall favorably for the Canadian men. In their pool are the defending champions-the U.S., fourth place finishers from 2001-Denmark, and tough teams from both the Netherlands, and Ukraine. The first two teams from the pool will advance to the quarterfinals, while the remaining countries will battle for positions nine to 22.

While Arseneau hopes his team makes it out of their pool, he is honoured to simply wear a maple leaf emblazoned jersey. Selection to the squad, a huge nod to his hard work throughout his entire volleyball career, is one major goal this athlete is able to see realized. The ultimate, however, is to make the senior men’s volleyball national team, and to one day represent Canada at the Olympics.

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