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Lakers Volleyball nets Manitoba transfer

'I am looking forward to the higher calibre of play along with having a wider variety of teams to play against'

While it’s an unfortunate situation from one side, it turned into a positive for the Nipissing Lakers men’s volleyball team.

With the Memorial Seahawks canceling their men’s volleyball program recently, the Lakers were able to acquire one of their student-athletes, signing setter Eric Ellison as a transfer.

Ellison, who is entering his second season at the USports level, is excited to join the Lakers after the regrettable news regarding the Seahawks programs.

“When I knew that I had to transfer schools to continue playing volleyball, my number one choice was Nipissing. I wanted to play on a team that is driven by competition and all the while pushing each other to improve. With Nipissing, all the criteria were met,” Ellison said.

Originally from Winnipeg, MB, Ellison made his way east and brought with him an impressive resume.

He will now continue that journey as a member of the Lakers.

“Transferring from AUS to OUA, I am looking forward to the higher calibre of play along with having a wider variety of teams to play against. I am excited to play with a whole new team and being able to improve on and off the court,” he said.

Ellison played his club volleyball for the Winman Volleyball Club from U13 to U18 before moving on to the Seahawks.

He also played for Team Manitoba and the Mennonite Brethren Collegiate Institute during middle and high school.

He’s a four-time provincial champion, has one bronze medal, earned provincial all-star recognition, was captain and MVP in Grade 12, as well as athlete of the year in Grade 10.

Lakers head coach Eric Yung said he’s looking forward to seeing Ellison on the court and is happy with the skills he’ll bring to the program.

"Eric will be providing us with a different look and depth at the setter position. With a year of experience under his belt in Usports, we believe he will challenge the rest of the setters to be on the court. We are excited to have the opportunity to provide Eric a place where he can improve on and off the court," Yung said.

Ellison will join two fellow Western Canadian’s on the team’s roster; Mason Blais from Saskatchewan and Ryan Samuelson from British Columbia.

Yung noted it’s disappointing any time a program folds and seeing a great coach and an even better person like Cisco Farrero forced to find a new gig is tough.

Farrero has recently found a new coaching position with the College of the Rockies Avalanche.

Adding Ellison’s skill set to what the Lakers have returning should only boost the program and Ellison himself believes he can contribute right away.

“My biggest strengths as a setter is my agility and deceptiveness. I am able to get my feet to the ball quickly and set all positions from different areas of the court,” he explained. “I am able to read the opponents tendencies very well which improves my decision making.”