Rob McLean and Randy Preval have travelled across North America playing volleyball together.
McLean helped Preval attend a Junior Olympics after Preval’s club team didn’t have the money to go. Preval then committed to attend Long Beach State City College and convinced McLean to join him. This season, the New Yorkers have brought their talents to Brandon.
While some notoriety could follow the pair as they become the first Americans in the history of the Brandon University Bobcats men’s volleyball team, they’re downplaying their past. Instead they’re focusing on what they can bring to the Bobcats this season.
“I want to prove what I can do and hopefully it’s just the person they brought in and not the stature behind it,” said McLean, a 6-foot-4 left side. “I want to show them my abilities and what I can bring.”
The addition of the two Americans adds more international flavour to a team that already features Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders and a Swiss red-shirt.
With players from all over the world, some people would think that it would take the team a bit to come together, but Preval said it’s the exact opposite. He’s never seen a team come together so quickly, claiming any cultural barriers fell in the first week of training camp.
Having everyone together is a feeling the 6-foot-6 middle doesn’t want the Bobcats to lose. Although he’s new to the team, Preval is making it his mission to keep everyone together.
“I hope I can bring some wins by making sure everyone stays gelled and together, whether it be by cracking a joke when people need it or by coming out with a little intensity,” he said. “Not being a jerk, but making sure I get empathy from my teammates. If I’m fired up, I want it to rub off on anybody in any way to make sure that fire is up. At the same time make sure everyone’s fundamentally sound.”
The pair have impressed new Bobcats head coach Grant Wilson. Preval can reach 12 feet in the air with his jump and has been able to use that to hit over blockers in training camp.
McLean’s defensive play has also caught Wilson’s attention.
“I think they’re both real athletic and real intense,” he said. “They’ve helped raise the level of play in practice and they compete hard and we definitely like to see that.”
Wilson also said they fit right in with the team.
“We’re not talking too much about who’s American and who’s Canadian or whatever,” he said. “We’ve got so many players on our team who are from various backgrounds. We’re just happy that they’re Bobcats and that they’ll contribute to our program and we’ll look forward to working with them.”
CAT SCRAPS: Former Bobcat Jon Sloane will be part of the Canadian volleyball team competing in a pre-season tournament for Argentinian and Brazilian club volleyball squads next week in Argentina. The Canadian team, which features Brandonite Dustin Schneider as an assistant coach, is made up of full-time players at the national team training centre in Gatineau, Que. They leave for Argentina today.
Name Pos. Year Ht. Wt. Hometown
Dan Boutwell Middle 4 6-7 210 Kenora, Ont.
Roy Ching Setter 1 6-5 210 Nelson, N.Z.
Jeremy Davies Libero 1 5-9 150 Calgary, Alta.
r-Frank Jones Middle 4 6-7 230 Calgary, Alta.
Craig Lowe Left side 3 6-7 198 Acova Beach, Aus.
D.J. McCharles Left side 2 6-5 210 Brandon
Rob McLean Left side 3 6-4 178 East Northport, N.Y.
Conan Mickey Left side 1 6-1 178 Brandon
Scott Neufeld Libero 5 6-1 185 Brandon
Garrett Popplestone Setter 5 6-1 175 Brandon
Randy Preval Middle 2 6-6 210 Queens Village, N.Y.
r-Sebastien Stagmeier Middle 4 6-7 220 Geneva, Switz.
David Stasica Setter 2 5-10 185 Winnipeg
Sam Tuivai Left side 2 6-4 212 Auckland, N.Z.
Scott Vercaigne Left side 1 6-3 180 Winnipeg
Brendan White Middle 3 6-9 205 Brisbane, Aus.
Head Coach: Grant Wilson (first year).
Assistant Coaches: Ed Zalusky, Warren Birch, Pat Thompson, Luke Reynolds.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 15, 2012