In these extraordinary times, people are turning to the internet to help pass the time. The OVA staff and volleyball friends are always ready to help. These great resources are where we turned to compile a list of some of the best volleyball matches ever played.
Given the scope of the sport, for this list, we are only including indoor volleyball, without further ado, here is a ‘Best of Volleyball’ list with YouTube links where possible for your consideration. Please note that the videos are the best that YouTube had in each case but that some of the videos are not in English or are highlights only.
There is lots to choose from. Chris Irwin, Executive Producer CBC Olympics has had a lifelong love affair with volleyball. He had many matches to offer to the list, saying: “I fear I show my age doing this and reaching back to the 80s and 90s. When you love the game over your life the years add up!”
For starters, Canada v USA at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
“A great three-set sweep with the red and white coming out on top and the ever-powerful USA, a great rival always to get the better of in a big event. Any time really. And as a fan of volleyball in Canada this one was just pure joy,” said Irwin.
“The indoor final from Atlanta 1996 was great too. Again, it seemed to be two great teams having two great games on the same day and that seldom happens,” Irwin commented.
OVA’s Director of Athlete Development, Louis-Pierre Mainville, was Captain of Canada’s Men’s Volleyball team between 2008 and 2011 and went on to enjoy a professional career in Greece, Argentina and Romania.
Here is a little of Mainville’s story. The passion to play with the maple leaf on his back has been a driving force throughout his life. “Playing on the national team was all I could dream of for years. I started playing on a volleyball team at 12 years old. In 1999 I caught a CAN-ARG World Cup match on TV and I never looked back, that was what I wanted to do,” said Mainville. “I was very proud to have the privilege of wearing the maple leaf and always felt a high sense of responsibility as a national team player to be the best possible role model for younger players. I guess that translated in me wanting to coach and eventually wanting to create opportunities for young players to reach their own volleyball goals.”
Who better to throw out some ideas for a ‘best of’ list? When asked, LP wondered if he could include a couple of matches from his own time with Team Canada – you bet! So here are just some of the outstanding volleyball play that LP would like to suggest.
To start with, there has been some amazing club play right in our own OVA region. “There are so many of them but a recent one I remember is the 3rd set of Halton Hurricanes vs Aurora Storm 17U girls at Ontario Championship last year. What a come back!” said LP.
What follows are some of Mainville’s favourite international games:
LP, like Chris Irwin, recognized the outstanding play that happened at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Here are some more great volleyball moments to re-live on Mainville’s list:
Representing your country has to be a highlight for any athlete. For Louis-Pierre Mainville, representing Canada “was the biggest possible honour for me to be able to play the game I love while representing my country. To this day, hearing the national anthem gives me goosebumps and puts me in game mode.”
What follows are two events, of many over the course if his career, where LP got to do just that.
As Executive Director of Ontario Volleyball, it is no surprise that Jo-Anne Ljubicic is a fan of the game. She continues to play the sport where she first found her passion and had some great ideas about what to add to the list:
University of Toronto women’s volleyball team won USports (CIS) Championships in 2016. An Ontario school had not one title since University of Western Ontario in the 1970’s.
The success of the program for the Ontario University women was augmented two years later when Ryerson University took the title in 2018.
In both Universities’ cases, these were the first national titles for those programs.
“Volleyball is for life,” said Ljubicic, “and it is a wonderful to live at a time in our world where we are able to share these great moments once again.”
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