AUS Men's Volleyball Awards: Tigers walk away two major awards

- February 14, 2014

Tigers leave AUS men's volleyball award dinner with rookie of the year, coach of the year and three players on the all-star team.

For the third year in a row, fifth-year UNB outside hitter Julio Fernandez was named the Atlantic University Sport most valuable player.

Other AUS major award winners announced today were Dalhousie's Matthew Donovan of London, Ont., who was named rookie of the year; UNB's Chhase McFarlen of Port Moody, B.C., who was selected as the libero of the year; UNB's Logan Keoughan of Miramachi, N.B., who received the student-athlete community service award and Dalhousie head coach Dan Ota, who was named the AUS men's volleyball coach of the year.

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Julio Fernandez, UNB

Fernandez, a fifth-year outside hitter with the UNB Varsity Reds is the Atlantic University Sport men's volleyball most valuable player for the third time in as many years.

A native of Los Teques, Venezuela, Julio has been a force on AUS volleyball the scene since joining the V-Reds three seasons ago.

Fernandez, a 6-foot-2 fifth-year business student, finished second in the league this season in scoring (3.6 points per set), second in kills per set (3.04 per set) and ranked fifth in total digs with 106. He also ranked fourth in AUS hitting percentage (0.234).

Fernandez was also named to the AUS all-star team for the third consecutive year. He earned CIS first team all-Canadian honours in 2012-13 and CIS second team all-Canadian honours in 2011-12.

"Julio has had yet another outstanding season for us, being amongst the top in several statistical categories in our conference," said UNB head coach Dan McMorran. "He is an explosive and dynamic attacker who continues to elevate his level of play each season, making him a threat each time he steps on the floor."

Fernandez's selection marks the fourth consecutive year that a UNB player has been selected as AUS most valuable player. He also becomes the first AUS men's volleyball player on record to be named conference MVP for three consecutive years.

No Atlantic conference player has ever been named CIS player of the year.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Matthew Donovan, Dalhousie

Matthew Donovan becomes the second Dalhousie player in three years to be named the AUS rookie of the year. Teammate Connor Maessen, who has been named to this year's AUS all-star team, took home the honour in 2011-12.

Donovan, a London, Ont. native, started in all 17 regular season matches this season, appearing in 62 of Dalhousie's 64 sets played.

The 6-foot-5 middle led all AUS first-year players in scoring with 1.8 points per set. He finished third overall in AUS blocks with 57. He was third in the conference in block assists with 49 and fourth overall in solo blocks with eight.

"Matthew filled a big hole in our lineup and was a starter for us from day one," said Dalhousie head coach Dan Ota. "He regularly faced established players three to four years older than himself and held his own time and time again. Matthew exceeds our expectations and was a major factor in our team being able to finish first in the league standings."

The only Atlantic University Sport player to ever be named CIS rookie of the year was Dalhousie's Terry Martin in 1994-95.

LIBERO OF THE YEAR: Chhase McFarlen, UNB

Chhase McFarlen, a second-year student in his fourth year of eligibility from Port Moody, B.C., is just the third UNB player to be named the conference's top libero since the award was established in 1999-00.

He joins Kyle Blanchard (2010-11) and Andrew Costa (2012-13) as the only V-Reds players to win the award.

McFarlen was second in the conference this season in digs with 126 and third in digs per set with 2.21.

"Chhase has had a great first season with our program, and has done so in spite of rehabbing from knee surgery this past September," said Varsity Reds head coach Dan McMorran. "He is one of the league's premier defenders and receivers, and adds a lot of experience and leadership to our backcourt."

Former Dalhousie Tigers libero Jeff Weiler is the only Atlantic University Sport player to have been named the CIS libero of the year, taking home the nation's top prize four years in a row, from 2003-04 to 2006-07.

COACH OF THE YEAR: Dan Ota, Dalhousie

Dan Ota, in his 15th year as head coach of the Tigers program, has now been selected by his peers as the AUS coach of the year for the 12th time. This is also his third consecutive year taking home the honour.

This year, Dan guided the Tigers to a first-place finish in the Atlantic conference standings with a record of 13-4. The Tigers will look to reclaim the AUS championship banner when the playoffs resume this weekend. Dalhousie has won 25 of the past 27 AUS titles.

Ota, a native of Calgary, Alta., is a former executive director of Volleyball Nova Scotia, a former technical director for Alberta Volleyball and was a member of the Team Canada coaching staff at the 2007 Summer Universiade in Bangkok, Thailand that captured a silver medal.

He holds a bachelor of arts and a Master of Kinesiology from the University of Calgary and is a certified NCCP Level 3 coach as well as a Master Learning Facilitator.

"I think this is absolutely a reflection of Dan's hard work, dedication and commitment toward his team and the sport of volleyball," said Dalhousie interim athletic director and executive director of student life Zane Robison. "We're very proud of Dan's accomplishments over his many years at Dalhousie."

The last Atlantic conference head coach to be named CIS coach of the year was UNB's Dan McMorran following the 2010-11 season.

STUDENT-ATHLETE COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD: Logan Keoughan, UNB

The 2013-14 recipient of the AUS student-athlete community service award and nominee for the CIS Dale Iwanoczko award is Logan Keoughan of the UNB Varsity Reds.

The nominee for this award is a player exhibiting outstanding achievement in volleyball, academics and community involvement. This is Keoughan's second consecutive season taking home the honour.

Keoughan, a 6-foot-7 middle in his fourth year of eligibility, led the conference in total blocks with 70, including a league-leading 55 block assists and 16 solo blocks. He also led UNB and was second in the conference in blocks per set with 1.07.

A native of Miramichi, N.B., Keoughan is enrolled in the bachelor of science environment and natural resources program at UNB. He is a four-time CIS academic all-Canadian with a GPA of 3.7 and is on pace to receive the same recognition this year.

Keoughan's involvement in the community extends into a multitude of organizations, programs and causes. He has led the Varsity Reds in several initiatives, including 'Read with the Reds', a program organized with schools in the district to have student-athletes visit and promote literacy to kindergarten and Grade 1 students.

He led 'Bleed with the Reds', an initiative new to UNB this year that sees student-athletes challenge each other and other students to donate to blood donor clinics on campus. Keoughan helped promote the walk to end violence against women through the White Ribbon Campaign and participated in a Christmas gift wrapping station at the local mall to raise money for charity.

He has also volunteered with the Fredericton Food Bank, Operation Christmas Child and the Varsity Reds' Annual Date Auction Night, raising funds to support Right to Play.

Throughout his extensive involvement with the Right to Play program, Keoughan has promoted and organized the annual 'Go Shoeless' event at UNB soccer games, coordinated a flag football fundraiser, created a promotional video for Right to Play on campus, sold program T-shirts and helped to promote 'Canadian Call for the Red Ball' - a new Right to Play initiative involving 24 Canadian universities.

"Logan has been an exceptional student-athlete over his five years with the Varsity Reds, being a consistent leader in each of the three categories that define this award," said UNB head coach Dan McMorran. "He has been a CIS academic all-Canadian in each of his years with our program, an active volunteer in our community and has continued to elevate his level of play every year, earning a spot on the all-star team this season. He is a special young man who has been a role model for all to follow."

The CIS Dale Iwanoczko award has been awarded to a number of AUS men's volleyball athletes in recent years. UNB's Jacob Kilpatrick (2010-11), Dalhousie's Nik Rademacher (2007-08), Jeff Weiler (2005-06), Chris Geddes (2002-03) and Paul Villeneuve (1993-94) are all previous recipients of the prestigious CIS award.

2013-14 AUS MEN'S VOLLEYBALL ALL-STAR TEAM:

Members of the 2013-14 Atlantic University Sport men's volleyball all-star team are:

All-Star Team:
Julio Fernandez, UNB (5th year – Los Teques, Venezuela)
Jonathan MacDonald, Dalhousie (3rd year – Halifax, N.S.)
Logan Keoughan, UNB (4th year – Miramichi, N.B.)
Connor Maessen, Dalhousie (3rd year – Dartmouth, N.S.)
Kristen O'Brien, Dalhousie (2nd year, - Truro, N.S.)
Eivind Andersen, UNB (2nd year - Sandnes, Norway)

The 2014 Subway Atlantic University Sport men's volleyball championship is a best two-of-three series between the Dalhousie Tigers (13-4) and UNB Varsity Reds (11-6). It began last Friday, Feb. 7 at Dalhousie University in Halifax, N.S. The Tigers topped the Varsity Reds 3-2.

The remainder of the championship schedule is as follows:

Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014
- Game 2: Dalhousie at UNB, 7 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 21, 2014
- Game 3: UNB at Dalhousie, 7 p.m.*
(*if necessary)

All matches of the 2014 Subway AUS men's volleyball championship will be available via webcast at www.AUStv.ca.

The AUS championship winner will travel to the University of Calgary for the CIS men's volleyball championship Feb. 27 – March 1, 2014.


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