Frank Jones, left, and Sebastien Stagmeier practise with the BU Bobcats at CIS nationals in Quebec City. (CHRIS JASTER/BRANDON SUN)
QUEBEC CITY — After watching the Brandon University Bobcats get to nationals this year, Frank Jones and Sebastien Stagmeier can’t wait to help BU get there again next season.
Jones and Stagmeier sat out the 2012-13 season as red-shirts after transferring to BU and were limited to spectator status as the Bobcats won a bronze medal at the CIS men’s volleyball championship on Sunday. While they did a great job of pushing their teammates in practice, the pair can’t wait to get on the court in game action next season.
"(The year) was good because as much as I wanted to play, you can help," said Stagmeier, a powerful 6-foot-7 right-side hitter from Geneva, Switzerland who transferred to BU from California Baptist University.
"I realized that you can be part of the team in a different way that I didn’t really didn’t know about before because I didn’t have to sit out. At practice, you can tell things and the players know that we can bring stuff, Frank and I, and they’re ready to listen and they’re ready to look to us and do things that we tell them and when you see that it works, you think ‘Oh I contributed. I did something.’ Next year’s going to be different, but this year was OK."
Although they didn’t play during the season, Stagmeier and Jones were always on the court during practices. Jones, a 6-foot-7 middle from Calgary who transfered to Brandon from SAIT, took on an even bigger role in game preparation after Randy Preval left the team after the first semester ended.
Preval’s departure left the Bobcats with only Brendan White and Dan Boutwell at middle, meaning Jones had to play full-time middle against the starters in practice, without a break where a libero would take over.
It gave him confidence in his game, and he hopes to use that experience to push Boutwell and White again next year, although Jones hopes he can earn one of the starting jobs.
"I’ve sat out for a year and Dan and Whitey have proven themselves to be CIS middles," he said. "It’s going to be a battle next year to see who gets the starting spot. If I get it next year, that’s awesome. If I don’t, I will be right on the bench supporting my team again."
Both Jones and Stagmeier have high hopes for next season.
The Bobcats will be without setter Garrett Popplestone and libero Scott Neufeld, both of whom exhausted their CIS eligibility this season. All the other starters from the CIS tournament will be back and Jones believes next year’s Bobcats team may be even better than this year’s squad, which won the program’s first Canada West title and third national medal in five years.
"We weren’t supposed to do what we did this year and get as far as we did," he said. "I think coming back next year will get a lot of people to stop talking and it will be good for our guys. We deserve it. We deserve being here this year and I think next year we’re going to have a little bit different result."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition March 5, 2013