Video Spotlight - Volleyball Seniors

BEN BALL

Coach Josephson’s comments:
Benny came to our program as the most decorated BC HS player in history with two provincial titles and two provincial MVP’s.  With him coming in to continue our great tradition of Spartan setting we felt our program was in good hands…literally.  What ben has been able to accomplish has far exceeded our expectations.

On the court Ben has been able to establish our team as the most dominant offensive team in the conference.  His ability to make every set from every location allows our hitters to have an advantage on every swing, which is all you can ask from a setter.  As he has gotten older he has gone from being a great offensive general to the premiere playmaker in the setter position in the country. More than a few times every match he pulls out a play that makes you drop your jaw and try to figure out how he did that.  He is the most exciting setter I have ever had the pleasure of watching.  

Apart from his role as our setter Ben is also a key guy in creating the right mood on the floor.  He always has fun when he plays no matter the pressure or practice.  This attitude is infectious and has a calming influence on the team.  He is genuinely kind and his hitters make the extra effort for him because of the affection they have towards him.  This affect he has extended past his hitters.  All those who have the pleasure of spending time with Ben immediately have joy and smiles on their face.  We will miss Ben’s ability but far more so we will miss the fun he brings to the team.  I often stand as close to him as I can in practice to hear the humorous things he says and the way he encourages his teammates.  We have always believed team beats talent and Ben is the motor that drives our team both in play and attitude.

Ben’s thoughts:
Your experience building TWU into one of the top team in the CIS: TWU was one of the top teams in the CIS before I joined, but my first two years were tough. We were learning how to play in this league and we learned a lot of lessons, mostly the hard way. Even in my third year, we learned what it takes to win in the Finals - the hard way. All of those years of trials and lessons made winning last year so much better. And they make me want to win this year so much more.
 
What are your thoughts on your future: work, education, sport: I’m still deciding what I want to do with my life when I graduate. I will either pursue volleyball and try to play overseas and for Team Canada, or I will figure out what I want to do for a career. But as I’ve been saying for 5 years, that’s a long way off.
 
Advice to your younger teammates: I have so much wisdom to hand down to the young ones so I’m happy this was one of the questions. But as classic as it sounds, bringing joy into everything you do will change how you do everything. If you don’t bring joy into every practice, it is much harder to find the motivation to train so hard every day, and you won’t improve as much. Bringing joy onto the court during matches is a win-win, no matter what you will enjoy the game, you may not like the result, but there are way more important things in life. Joy = win... And E.L.E. Everybody Love Everybody!!
 
What it is like heading into your final post season of your career: It’s very exciting. We are playing quite well for the most part, and we want to win just as badly as last year. It’s also bittersweet, knowing that I’m done after this, it would be awesome to end on a good note. But I mainly just want to enjoy what little time I have left here.
 
Biggest Moment as a Spartan: Last year. Last game of the season, match point. Rudy Verhoeff serves the ball. Paul Sanderson hits a pipe ball into the net. I yell, turn around and get mauled by the Spartan Faithful and proceed to repeatedly kiss Derek Thiessen on the neck at the bottom of the pile.
 
Funniest moment: Something happened probably every road trip of my career that could be worthy of a ‘funniest moment’. Actually, probably every practice. These guys are hilarious - at least to me. Lucas’s run. Steve’s fast feet. Dan’s hair. Nick’s ‘Shut-up!’. Thiessen’s cheeks. Brandon’s voice volume. Marc’s muscles. Micah’s pre-game tomatoes. Jarrod’s thoughts. Rudy’s clapping. Brad’s aggressiveness. Devyn’s laughing/crying. Tyler’s throwing. And Wiebe’s migraines. Oh and the Geransky guarantee... Sorry for all the inside jokes.
 
Favourite Quote: Бог с нами. It means ‘God with us’. We learned it during our Missions Trip to Russia and say it right before every match. We invite God onto the court with us, this helps me focus on what really matters and why I am playing: to please God and try to show His love through how I play...That and almost every quote from Nacho Libre.
 
What you will miss the most as a member of the Spartans: Everything. I will never be as close to a group of guys in my life. It was the best decision I have every made choosing to come here. I have not regretted it once. This team has challenged me so much in so many ways. Also Ben Josephson, Ryan Adams, and Joel Jansen, who don’t only care about how good we are at Volleyball, but our personal and spiritual lives as well. They set aside time for us to talk about everything, this is huge in helping us grow into men of God, I feel so blessed to be given that opportunity, to be given coaches that actually care about us as people, not players. These five years have been completely different than what I thought they would be like, in a good way. I will miss being part of such a tight group of amazing people. Also the fans, I love each and every person who comes to the games!

MARC HOWATSON

Coach Josephson’s comments:
Marc came to TWU with a lot to live up to.  As a member of the Youth National Team, Provincial Champion and MVP he had a lot of fanfare not to mention the last name that has a special place in our program.  He has done nothing but enhance his and his name’s reputation.  Marc had a tough role his first couple years with us.  He started as a freshman and we were determined to play him through thick and thin.  There were times that first year where we probably should have given him a break but he has such high character and potential we wanted him to work through it.  Marc embraced the challenge and has become one of the premiere left side players in the country.  He has represented Canada the past five summers at the Youth, Junior and B Team levels competing in the Junior World Championships, University Games and NORCECA championships. 

As Marc has developed and matured he has become a rock on and off the court for us.  On court he anchors the reception, defense and block aside from his attacking responsibilities.  He is our most well rounded player and his all-around skill set have made him an invaluable part of this team’s success.  Away from the court his leadership and mentorship of the younger athletes will pay dividends long after he has moved on to bigger and better things.Marc’s greatest legacy will be the 2010-11 Championship season that was nearly ended with a horrific ankle injury in Russia early in the fall.  What could have been career ending ended up being a galvanizing element bringing the team closer together and his example of being a teammate and doing what it took to get back will last forever in our program.  Marc played the second semester but was a shadow of his physical self.  What he did for us during that playoff run was nothing short of heroic.  He couldn’t jump like he could before the injury but he made up for it in toughness, leadership and big play ability in the backcourt. He was one of the key reasons we were able to win the championship last year. We will miss Marc most for his competitive spirit, dedication to his craft and teammates and his will to win.  His never say die attitude has raised the level of performance for our program forever.  With a name like Howatson how could we expect anything different, the question now will be which one had a greater impact to our program…the answer….YES!

Marc’s thoughts:I think our ability to be a great team has come from the players before us showing us how to do it. Our MVB program is rich in history and has allowed us to succeed to level we have. Players from my brothers era, BenJo’s era and even Ron Pikes era have continued to support and be involved in the program which made a huge impact on our current success. Being a top team comes from leadership, so I think a lot of the praise should go to our coaching staff of current and former years. The players they have brought in and the work they have put in is incredible. Rudy, Ben and I all came in the same year as BenJo, so it has been quite the journey up to this point. He has grown in his coaching abilities just as we 3 have as players, and I am excited to see the program come 5 to 10 years down the road, as I know that with his leadership the spartan tradition of excellence will continue. Needless to say our team is full of amazing volleyball players, top to bottom, and that is what makes our team great. Our team has achieved success because we believe that the guys to our right and to our left are great, and through maintaining that belief and supporting each other, it enables us to achieve something greater than ourselves.

What are your thoughts on your future: work, education, sport: The first plan is to get married this summer. That’s exciting. Next fall me and Rachael are planning to move to Ottawa, so I can play volleyball with the national team while she will pursue her PDP to become a teacher. After that the next step will be venturing overseas to play professional volleyball, hopefully alongside my brother. As for work, I don’t really know what real work is besides volleyball, so I am going to stick with volleyball for a while. Later in life I will pursue a career using my Business degree, whatever that means! But, first things first, I need to get my really expensive piece of paper from TWU (hopefully) and get rid of my ‘N’ (embarrassing).

Advice to your younger teammates: Look both ways before crossing the street and don’t do drugs (except maybe ibuprofen for Dan). Enjoy the moment, time flies when you’re having fun (or deadlifts for Rudy). Life is full of ups and downs, prepare for them, and embrace them. Hang out with people smarter and wiser than yourself, that helps a lot. Your Professors are actually friendly and smart so talk to them and get advice. Be intentional with your relationships, they will sustain you. Always have a sense of humour or at least surround yourself with people who do, it makes life entertaining. Grow out your hair at least once, it’s worth it. Most importantly, have fun and let Christ work in your life.

What it is like heading into your final post season of your career: Mixed emotions. It feels extremely odd to know that my university career is coming to an end, but at the same time looking forward to the next chapter of life. These 5 years have been special so looking forward to one last post season run. The success and satisfaction out of every year is the process and challenge of the post season. Therefore I’m looking forward to another 3 week whirlwind leading up to the National Championship.

Biggest Moment as a Spartan:First and foremost… Winning the Championship on home court. Nothing can top that in terms of volleyball moments. For non-volleyball moments I would have to say our missions trip to Russia. The 2 week trip was very impactful for our current team and for our program moving forward. The spiritual growth and development that took place in that time shaped me, and definitely left a lasting influence on all who were involved.

Funniest moment: Jodi - “are my ankles still that skinny?”. ‘The Fall… of Rudy’. Basically anything P.Lindy has ever said. Viktor from Russia trying to say “suicide” Derek flippin’ around… My lung collapsing for being too skinny. Too many moments, too little time to write them down.  

Favourite Quote:“Love God, Love Others” - Jesus
“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” - CS Lewis
“A difficult time can be more readily endured if we retain the conviction that our existence holds a purpose - a cause to pursue, a person to love, a goal to achieve
Cause to pursue: glory; for ourselves, for each other, for God
Person to love: my team, my brothers, my family.
All great achievements require time.
Our time will come”  - Steven J. Marshall

What you will miss the most as a member of the Spartans:
Everything. Top to bottom this has been an amazing 5 year career. The special thing about the Spartans program is that people do extraordinary work every day because they believe in what the program stands for, the Complete Champion. From the athletic therapy staff, to the Spartan Foundation, to the gym supervisors, to the whole Athletics department, you all make a difference every day. The culture and community is something special, and Christ is the reason for that. To be a part of that is something to be cherished, and leaving TWU it will be hardest for that reason.Most of all, it’s the brothers I have made along the way. Words can’t describe the guys I have been associated with over the last 5 years. Starting with DougVS and Rogo, to Chaim and Hawkes, to Doorny, Mik and Aaron and everyone else in between, it’s been a pleasure. To look and see what this program has developed in terms of male Godly character is amazing, and an honour to be a part of. Love ya brothers.

Any other things you might want to enlighten me or other with (pearls of wisdom)?I wish Matt Myers played volleyball… Lucas and I still don’t have tattoos unlike the rest of the old guys… BenJo drinks a lot of coffee…Rudy isn’t single anymore… sorry single ladies.

RUDY VERHOEFF

Coach Joesphson’s comments:
Rudy came to our program with much less fanfare than the other two seniors but will leave as maybe the most famous player in Spartan Men’s Volleyball history.  As an undersized middle coming out of high school he wasn’t highly recruited by the big schools, not that it would have mattered, he had his heart set on TWU from an early volleyball age.  Upon arriving at TWU he still didn’t show signs that he would become a dominant player even prompting Spartan legend Chris Meehan to ask me why we recruited him.  “He is the worst recruit we’ve had.”  Then Rudy’s character began to show itself and his unquenchable work ethic took over and he began to improve by leaps and bounds to the point where at the beginning of the second semester of Rudy’s first year Meehan took it all back and said that Rudy would become one of our programs greatest…and he has.

After being cut from the youth national team in grade 12 for being too short for the middle position Rudy spend his first year at TWU developing his craft and made junior national team as the same small middle.  Not only that but was named Captain and has held that spot with his national teams the past 4 summers.  As an undersized middle he led the Canada West Conference in attack efficiency in his second year proving the old saying, “ its not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of fight in the dog that matters.”  

The following year Rudy made the move to the left side to fill the void left by Howatson’s injury.  The move from middle to left side is maybe the most dramatic position switch one can make in volleyball.  After not receiving serve in his career he now had to become a primary passer.  To this end Rudy spend 4 mornings a week in extra reps trying to get his skill up to a level he was satisfied with.  He more than succeeded capturing an All Canadian Award, 1st Team All Conference & National Championship MVP.  The legend of Rudy Verhoeff was now in full effect.  This season Rudy is playing his third position in 3 years as he has made the move to the right side.  The rationale behind this move was simple, I want to be able to have Rudy set at any time in any match and the right side is that position.  Rudy’s toughness, preparation and character have established him as one of the best players in the country and the rock that our team is built upon.

Last season Rudy was asked to wear #11 in honor of Jason Senechal, a teammate who passed away in the summer of 2003.  The #11 in our program is worn by the athlete who best exemplifies the Complete Champion Approach.  Rudy is one of the nation’s best players.  He is one of our team’s top students.  He is among our hardest workers on and off the court.  He cares deeply for his teammates and coaches.  He is a true servant leader.  And most importantly he loves Jesus with all his heart.  That is what we will miss the most with Rudy graduating.  Every day we all get to witness the Joy of the Lord in the way Rudy plays volleyball and that is all a coach could ever ask for.

Rudy’s thoughts:
Your experience building TWU into one of the top team in the CIS: Starting out I had no idea if I was going to have what it takes to continue and maybe even advance what the Spartans had already built up. It was a daunting task and all I think of is the countless hours of training, watching video, traveling around the country and the world in order to get sweet matches in order to push our team to the best that we have ever been, and we have that chance to make history this week by winning the league.

What are your thoughts on your future: work, education, sport: Future work, My dream is to use the sport of volleyball to communicate and show the love of Christ. I dream of playing professionally while partnering with Athletes in Action to develop a Christian network of volleyball athletes overseas and also here in Canada. Who knows where God will take me from there, but I know that it is my purpose on this earth to love others, make them feel special, and show them God.

Advice to your younger teammates: Don’t waste your life, especially your time at Trinity, invest in others and love deeply
What it is like heading into your final post season of your career: Its overwhelming to reflect back into what it has taken to get to this point, to have a shot at another national title and knowing that these are going to be the last games wearing a Spartan jersey is something that I can’t comprehend, I feel like I should always be playing here, but i guess my time has come. I am just as excited and just as honored to wear the Spartan logo as when I first came.  

Biggest Moment as a Spartan: Winning nationals at LEC, something that won’t ever be forgotten.

Funniest moment: JD getting packed consecutively in Spartan digging drill, 4x4 with Rogo, Romantic ice tubs, and anything that Paul did, especially tying his shoes and trying to fall asleep standing up.  

What you will miss the most as a member of the Spartans: an easy question to answer, I will miss spending everyday with the greatest group of guys there is, being with a group of guys who are fun loving and looking to pursue Christ while playing volleyball is an experience I will never have again, I will miss all the times when we were hanging out waiting for coach to finish talking, the random games that come up. The Good conversation and challenging the way that I live or look at life is something that I am indebted to everyone that I have played with here. I am going learning from my coaches on the court but more importantly off the court, how to be a good man, father, leader, and follower of Christ.  

Any other things you might want to enlighten me or other with (pearls of wisdom)?I:There is only one person who is a big deal, forget about yourself and follow the One.

CHELSEA HUDSON

Coach Hofer’s comments:
Chelsea is a unique blend of talent, hard work, compassion and commitment to excellence – both on and off the court.  

On the court Chelsea is a gifted setter who has a great touch on the ball.  She brings consistency, composure and a great understanding of the game.  Chelsea truly has a “setter’s mind.”  This ability must have some roots in her past, for she comes from a family of setters.  Chelsea has accepted every role she has been given on the team with character and class and has always been committed to ensuring the well-being and success of the team.

Off the court Chelsea is a devoted and extremely hardworking student who has achieved excellence in the world of academics.  She is a four-time Academic All-Canadian, will graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and plans to complete her Education degree or Masters in Psychology and counseling.

Chelsea’s leadership stood out this past May as the team did an overseas service project in Paraguay. We saw a heart that cares for the underprivileged and takes joy in working with those less fortunate.  We admired her natural ease with children, especially those with special challenges.       

Chelsea is also beginning a new chapter in her life with her upcoming marriage to fiancé Aaron. They are a great team and together will make an impact wherever they go.

Chelsea’s thoughts:
Your experience building TWU into one of the top team in the CIS:
It has been a great experience. Anytime you invest time and effort into something and reach some level of success, it is extremely rewarding. It is even more enriching doing it with a team of girls that you love, because you are all working towards the same goal and experiencing it together.  
 
What are your thoughts on your future: work, education, sport:
I’m really excited for the future! I’m getting married this summer, then moving to either Victoria, Winnipeg or Ottawa to do some more school. Depending on where we end up, I’ll be taking Education to become an elementary school teacher, or a Masters in Counselling Psychology. I’m also looking forward to getting into coaching, and one day hopefully being as good a coach as my dad!
 
Advice to your younger teammates:
Discover who you are on and off the court.
 
What it is like heading into your final post season of your career:
There are a lot of mixed emotions. I’m sad because it’s the end of something that has been a massive part of my life forever. I’m excited because since its my last season, I’m ready to give it everything I have, leave it all out on the court because I think that great things are up ahead! I also feel surprised because five years has snuck up on me and flown by really quickly, and I’m just anticipating and excited for the whole collection of new opportunities up ahead!  
 
Biggest Moment as a Spartan:
Bronze medal at Nationals.
 
Funniest moment:
I never really remember funny moments, but one in particular was scheming a plan and then scaring some girls at Kara’s cabin.
 
Favourite Quote:

“I have lived through much, and now I think I have found what is needed for happiness... Rest, nature, books, music, love for one’s neighbor — such is my idea of happiness” - Leo Tolstoy

“Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it”    
- C.S Lewis

What you will miss the most as a member of the Spartans:
Definitely will miss seeing my team every day, and going out to watch and support the fellow Spartans teams.

JODI NEUFELD

Coach Hofer’s comments:
You don’t have to be around Jodi for long, before you realize she has made an impact on you.  Whether as a teammate, or a friend, you cannot be around her without breaking out in a smile.  To see her tenacity on the court, makes you realize that no one should be judged by their size.  She has a big heart and plays much bigger than she is.

Jodi came to TWU after one year in college, and decided early that she was going to challenge those in her position every day.  She is a competitor and comes to practices ready to take on anyone.  Her consistent, hard work ethic helped her earn a role as a defensive specialist in previous years, and this year-a starting role as a libero.  She is a solid defender and passer who never gives up.  

In life, Jodi has also waged a personal battle to never give up.  In the fall of her 3rd year, Jodi lost her dad suddenly.  Though it was a tragic loss for her family, and a shock to the entire volleyball community, Jodi persevered.  Though it might have been easier for her to “walk away” from volleyball, that’s not what her dad would have wanted for her.  She  has used the memory of him and the inspiration he was to her, to drive her to be the best she can be.
Jodi is a consistent and supportive friend. Her heart for people attracts many. Friends and family alike know that she can always be depended on. Jodi will graduate this spring with her degree in human kinetics and geography and has plans to teach elementary school after she completes her PDP year in Education.
 
Jodi’s thoughts:
Your experience building TWU into one of the top team in the CIS:
All but one of my years we’ve made nationals.  We’ve had such great teams through my years and I’m really proud of what has been done through my time here, and excited for what the future of our team is.  

What are your thoughts on your future: work, education, sport:  
I plan to become an elementary school teacher and coach club and school teams most likely.  I’m not sure I’ll ever be done with volleyball, but competitively I think I’ll be taking a hiatus except for the occasional grass tournament.
 
Advice to your younger teammates:
Love every second and laugh you guys have together.  It honestly goes by so fast and soon you’ll be old and graduating like me.  You guys seriously are going to be so good for so long - just remember to always look as good as possible, wear as many blue suits as possible, do as many crossovers and jumping jacks as possible, ccdb as much as possible and of course fill everything out via googledocs.  

What it is like heading into your final post season of your career:
It’s weird and exciting at the same time.  It feels like yesterday I was just hoping to make the travelling roster and now I’m in my last year.  Every year has had its ups and downs but my teammates  have been there through it all and have become my best friends.  I’m sad to be leaving but so excited to come watch with kj and ball! I’ve  made such great memories regardless of wins and losses, I’m gonna miss absolutely everything about this team.

Biggest Moment as a Spartan:
Winning Bronze last year! Even though it wasn’t the colour we wanted getting the first medal for our team was pretty sweet!

Funniest moment:
Perrin describing a certain coach breaking a desk (which he was warned not to stand on) while painting a brick room in Paraguay.  Not only did he break the desk, he also did some sweet matrix moves and landed and broke their birthing table while splattering paint everywhere.  His immediate reaction was to inform the translator that they would in fact be receiving a new desk after he broke everything. That and all the nacho things said in Paraguay.

Favourite Quote:“Get in, get out”  and “nacho”

What you will miss the most as a member of the Spartans:
Definitely seeing the girls everyday.  They’re all a bunch of weirdos but I’m going to miss getting to hang out and see them all day everyday.

Last Updated: 2012-02-11
Author: Mark Janzen