Rhys Fingas is going from playing for his brother to competing against him in the fall.
In 2013, Fingas’ Westman-based club volleyball team was coach by his brother Ryland, who is an assistant coach with the Briercrest Clippers of the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference. This September, Fingas, a 6-foot-0 left side from Inglis, will be joining the University of Alberta Augustana Vikings, which means the brothers will be competing against each other on the court.
Rhys Fingas did consider joining forces with his brother, but ultimately decided against it.
"Ry is obviously a great coach because he coached me in club last year," Rhys said. "For me, I wanted to make my own path in life and with schooling I wasn’t able to take my science degree there."
Fingas has a successful volleyball season. He was named a tournament all-star at the provincial AA high school boys’ volleyball championship in Grunthal, helping Russell’s Major Pratt Trojans reach the final, which they lost 2-1 (20-25, 25-23, 15-12) to the Green Valley Pirates.
He joined the Brandon-based Team Extreme for the club season this spring and helped the squad place fifth at provincials. Team Extreme then reached the Division 2 Tier 2 quarter-finals at the under-18 boys’ club volleyball national championship in Edmonton on the weekend.
For Fingas, he always dreamed of playing volleyball after high school, and he felt moving to Camrose, Alta., was a perfect fit for his athletic and academic goals.
"The schooling is exactly what I want to take with a science degree and also just coaching for the volleyball team is very good," he said. "I’m definitely expecting it be a jump up from high school and club, but it’s exciting to go there. I know going there will obviously improve my game hugely because once you play in a higher league, it will elevate my game as well."
Fingas is joining a solid ACAC team. The Vikings finished fifth in the regular season last year with an 11-7 mark and reached the ACAC semifinals before falling to eventual champion Red Deer College.
While the 18-year-old would love to one day play in the CIS, he doesn’t want to set expectations too high for himself and is focused on proving he can excel at the college level first.
"Just see if I have what it takes to play at that level," he said. "Hopefully get all-around better at everything."