Voth brings pro experience to new-look Rebels
By Drew Jensen
The Red River College Rebels men’s volleyball team rallies through practice on Halloween night in preparation for regular season action this weekend under new head coach Chris Voth.
The team will strike first against the Université de Saint-Boniface Les Rouges on Sunday, November 2. The Rebels look to improve last year’s 2-14 record and push for a spot in playoffs.
Voth, 29, took over as head coach this year and he said he is up for the challenge.
Voth is new to the college level volleyball system but has over 15 years of playing experience. He played pro for five years oversea in Europe for teams in Finland, the Netherlands and Czech Republic. Voth has also coached high school teams, summer camps and senior men’s and women’s teams while in Netherlands.
“Chris is the perfect balance of strict and fun – He’s a pro,” said Cyril Hernandez, 21, the team’s libero.
Hernandez is a first-year player and a first-time libero. He said he wants to learn the position better while, becoming more effective without always being on the attack.
Voth is implementing new techniques he learnt as a player at pro level and he said he thinks it will benefit the team.
“I think Manitoba is a little old school – I’m trying out new things, things I’ve never tried or seen before in pro,” he said.
Part of the old school system is how the Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference schedules their season. The Rebels play five games against each team this regular season, making for a short playoff run.
“If the regular season was shortened it would make playoffs more meaningful” said Voth.
Voth is pushing for the regular season format to be changed so that the playoffs are longer.
“With the current format, the best team doesn’t always win,” he said.
Playoffs are played throughout one weekend and a lot of pressure is put on teams to perform in the one-game knockout tournament.
Voth said he’s less focused on winning regular season games and more focused on playing their best volleyball closer to post-season.
“I would like to see us grow from the beginning to the end” he said.
By focusing on development and growth throughout regular season, Voth said his team should be “at their peak” come playoff time.
The Rebels first home game will be Saturday, Nov. 9 at the NDC North Gym, at 6 p.m.