Now that Kevin Miller has made the team, he’s focused on making THE team.
The 24-year-old left side from Russell earned a spot on Volleyball Canada’s national B team last month on Gatineau, Que., but he still has some work to do to crack the 12-man roster that will compete in the Pan Am Cup, July 7-15 in the Dominican Republic.
“There’s 20 guys on the B team and only 12 get to travel, so practices have been pretty intense,” Miller said Friday from Gatineau. “There’s no guarantee that I’ll get to go to the Pan Am Cup, but I’m just working hard every day hoping I can make the travel roster when the time comes.”
With the injury bug working its way through the Canadian roster, Miller’s priority is staying healthy enough to put in his best effort for the Canadian team’s coaching staff. The 6-foot-3 former Brandon University Bobcat is confident enough in his abilities, having represented Canada in the Pan Am Games in Guadalajara, Mexico last fall.
But Miller knows there are plenty of other skilled players vying for the same spots on the travelling team.
“There’s a lot of guys and everyone’s really good,” said Miller, who totalled 15 kills in five matches at the Pan Am Games for the sixth-place Canadians. “It’s a tough job for the coaches to pick this roster. We’ve got eight left sides right now. I’m assuming we’re going to travel with three or four, but I think the experience (of playing in the Pan Am Games) will help me a little bit.”
Miller has had plenty of time to work on his game since competing in Mexico. He’s trained full-time in Gatineau since September and said the results are showing on the court.
“If I see video of where I was back in September to where I am now, it’s miles ahead of where I was,” he said. “It’s helped me so much to be at the training centre and I credit it for me making this B team.”
Miller’s experience with the national program has done more than just improve his game. It’s also given him a taste for wearing the Maple Leaf, making him want to do it again.
“(Wearing the Canadian uniform is) pretty special,” he said. “I still remember the first game we played in Brazil (where the team was tuning up for the Pan Am Games).
“It’s something I’ll never forget and hopefully I can put it on again in the Dominican Republic in July.”
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition June 16, 2012