Three members of the Queen’s Gaels men’s volleyball team have signed professional contracts and will continue their volleyball careers in Europe. Middle blocker Michael Amoroso (Toronto, Ont.) and left side/libero Nikolas Rukavina (Mississauga, Ont.) will be heading to the Swedish Eliteserien (first division), while Joren Zeeman (Cambridge, Ont.) will be taking his talents to the Dutch A Division.
The trio, who led the Gaels to OUA championships in 2010 and 2012, all competed their fifth year of eligibility last spring.
â€śThis has been a goal for all three of these players since they came out of first year, and to have it realized for all of them speaks not only to their athletic ability and their drive to succeed, but also to the success of our program,â€ť said Brenda Willis, the Gaels’ head coach. â€śAn important indicator of success is in the ability to prepare athletes for the next level. We have now advanced 12 players to European Pro Volleyball, along with four to the National Team, which is a strong statement for the strength of our program and our ability to help athletes meet their full potential.â€ť
â€śOn behalf of everyone at Queen’s, we wish all three of them tremendous success in this next chapter of their volleyball careers.â€ť
Amoroso, a three-time OUA All-Star, is set to join Ă–relljunga VK of the Swedish Elitserien. He finished his career with 552 kills (1.84/set) overall and an average of 2.6 points per set. He is a three-time OUA All-Star. Ă–relljunga finished 10-8 last season, and was in third place in the ten-team Elitserien.
â€śThis is a really exciting opportunity,â€ť said Amoroso. â€śIt’s a dream come true for all three of us. Some of the best players in the world are in Europe, and we’re all excited to go.â€ť
Rukavina moved into the Libero position in 2011-12, and was named the OUA Libero of the Year and a second-team All-Star. He led the OUA with 3.07 digs per set last season, and had 508 career digs. He recorded 471 kills for his career, including a career-high 176 in 2008-09. He is set to join the Habo Wolley club, who went 9-9 in the Elitserien and finished in sixth place.
â€śThis has been a goal of mine since I started here,â€ť said Rukavina. â€śI’m excited to play with a different team, and a different style of volleyball. I learned a lot about leadership, and how to lead a team, while I was here at Queen’s.â€ť
Zeeman, a four-time All-Canadian, will join the Prins VCV club, based in Veenendaal. Zeeman finished his career with 1,111 career kills (averaging 3.75/set) and was the 2012 OUA Player of the Year, leading the conference with 4.7 points per game. Prins VCV, finished 8-10 last season, in sixth place in the ten-team A Division.
â€śThis is amazing,â€ť said Zeeman. â€śI’ve wanted to do this since my second or third year at Queen’s. I am really looking forward to being able to continue to play volleyball. I want to play as long as I can.â€ť
All three players cited the 2012 CIS Championship at the ARC as their top memory from their distinguished careers in the Tricolour.
Story from the Queen’s University Athletic & Recreation Website | GoGaelsGo.com