A disappointing season for Humber men’s volleyball is in the rearview mirror and a once in a generation talent now gone.
Left side Terrel Bramwell is on his way out, and while most teams would be going into panic mode right about now, the future is looking bright here at Humber.
The Hawks had a disappointing run in 2014-2015 provincials by their standards, finishing fifth in Ontario. That run was preceded by a turbulent rollercoaster season that saw dips in form at the wrong time and injuries to key players.
“We underachieved,” said head coach Wayne Wilkins, who is returning next season for his twenty-first year coaching at Humber.
“We definitely set out in the beginning with high hopes. We were ranked in the top two in the country at one point this season,” said Wilkins.
The provincials, held at St. Clair College this year, ended with the Hawks falling to the hosts before a 3-0 shutout at the hands of bitter rival Mohawk meant Humber would finish outside the medal round.
Mohawk head coach Matthew Schnarr was happy with his team’s performance against the Hawks, but expects them to be a very different proposition next season, especially with the departure of veterans such as Bramwell and middle hitter Matt Isaacs.
“They’ll have a complete overhaul of their roster. They’re losing their top scorer (Bramwell) so it’ll be interesting to see where their points are scored from,” said Schnarr.
“We don’t know what we’re up against yet, but we do expect them to be very competitive and at the top of the league again,” he said.
Wilkins is already busy at work finding new blood as the team transitions in the post-Bramwell era. New recruits include Guelph’s Clayton Blanchette, a 6’6’’ middle outside hitter, as well as highly touted outside Nathan Murdock, who has played for the Jamaican national men’s volleyball team.
“With the addition of three or more positions in the next 30 days, we are probably looking at our best recruiting class in a long time,” said Wilkins.
Wilkins and assistant coach Hank Ma are looking at the positives adversity and disappointment can bring to a younger team.
“The message we’re going to share with the young guys going forward is live every moment. When you get to OC’s (OCAA provincials), anything can happen. You can’t take anything for granted. You get to OC’s, you only need three days of great play to win a championship,” said Wilkins.
Ma sees replacing Bramwell as just another evolution of a winning team in a consistently winning program.
“It was great to have someone like Terrel,” said Ma.
“He’s like the Abrams tank you wish you had going into a fight, but you don’t always get that. He did a great job when he was here, but we’re looking forward to next year and having a different crop of players who will do the exact same job. We’re just not going to rely on one player to do that anymore,” he said.
Wilkins is confident in his overall squad and expects players like Kamyn Wilkins and Alex Gibbs to step up and bring some leadership into next season.
“They’ll help push the other guys and at the same time, show exactly the way Humber volleyball is played and that there’s a lot of pressure but a lot of excitement,” he said.