Chaim Schalk - Band of Brothers

Chaim Schalk Men's Volleyball

Men's Volleyball
Setter/Outside Hitter
Fourth Year
6'6"

If you've followed Trinity Western University men's volleyball at all in the past few years, you certainly recognize the name Schalk, as they've been synonymous with the Spartans and winning since the first Schalk brother, Jaben, enrolled in 2001. Chaim, the third of four boys to play at Trinity Western, is doing his part to carry on the Spartans, and the Schalks', winning ways.

The tallest at 6'6", and perhaps the most laid back of his four volleyball-playing brothers, Chaim is still definitely a Schalk.

"All four of them are hyper competitive, and they're all relentless in their need to win games," says TWU head coach Ben Josephson, who played with Jaben, and has coached Seth, Mikiah and Chaim. "Chaim's probably the quietest competitor of the group, but he's fierce. Like his brothers he'll do anything in his power and will often go above and beyond in order to make plays to help the team."

Jaben was the first of the Schalks to come to TWU from Red Deer, Alberta. A libero from 2001 to 2005, he set a Spartan record for digs in a season (294) that still stands, while helping his team to a silver medal. His younger brother Seth was also a starter on that team as an outside hitter and the next season, in 2005-06, he would help lead TWU to its first national title in volleyball. Last year, Chaim came to Trinity Western and helped Seth and the Spartans win a bronze medal, sending Seth out with his fourth national medal in as many years.

"The Schalk's are very volleyball orientated, and it got pushed on me at an early age," Chaim says with a grin. "That's how I got into volleyball was that my brothers loved the game so much that it just rubbed off on me."

Growing up he and his brothers would play almost every day in the backyard beach court their dad helped them build. The competition Chaim faced from his family certainly helped his transition to high school, where he and his brothers helped Central Alberta Christian, a small double A high school, compete and challenge schools in 4A. His development was also helped by playing in the Red Deer College club program and with Team Alberta.

When it came time to pick a college, Chaim decided to stay in Red Deer for his first two years and play for powerhouse Red Deer College and coach Keith Hansen. He was a reserve on a national champ his first season, and then in his second he was instrumental in helping to win another national title as the starting setter. As one of the top recruits in the country, he then decided to follow Jaben and Seth to Trinity Western. Did he ever dare think of playing anywhere else?

"I did talk to Alberta a bit, but once my brothers heard that they got real mad at me and told me not to talk to them anymore," laughs Chaim. "They basically told me that I was coming to Trinity Western, so I didn't have much of an option to where I was going, but I've definitely enjoyed the choice."

Last year, his first as a Spartan, Chaim would again have to watch and learn as a veteran team that had just won a national title, including brother Seth and All-Canadian setter Josh Howatson, would pursue another. In the final weeks of the season however, injuries to TWU's middle hitters forced them to move Howatson to middle and put Chaim in at setter. They went on to win their first Canada West gold, and a bronze medal finish at the CIS nationals.

This season, with Seth graduated and younger brother Mikiah transferring in from King's College, Chaim was now the older Schalk. But just as last season took an unexpected turn, so too did this one. Chaim lost his spot as the starting setter to rookie Ben Ball, but was determined to help the team win anyway he could, so he volunteered to move to right side for the good of the team.

"He's been a setter his entire life, but we've asked him to do something different by playing some right side," says Josepshon. "He's embraced it and he's having a lot of fun trying to do some different things on the court. He's a huge playmaker, and we need that on the floor right now."

Some might see a position switch as a daunting task, but for a Schalk, it's just another challenge to overcome, and just another chance to prove yourself. "I've been hitting for about three weeks now and it's coming along well," Chaim says with a shrug. He has 64 kills on the season, and has a hitting percentage well over .300.

Chaim has stayed in close contact with his brothers, and while there are certainly strong opinions amongst them on his move to right side, their influence on him will only help to make him, and the Spartans, better.

"He has great control and is a great shot maker," says Josephson. "We're just really thankful that he chose to follow his brothers on this path and end up here at Trinity Western."

Last Updated: 2008-02-04
Author: Jeff Kilpatrick

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