Sunday, May 7, 2017

Pincher Creek's Michael Svab signs to Lethbridge Kodiaks volleyball team

Michael Svab with coaches Tyler Speelman (St. Michael's) and Greg Gibos (Kodiaks)
Chris Davis -  Michael Svab, a 2017 graduand of St. Michael's School, will be wearing #3 for the Lethbridge College Kodiaks volleyball team starting next season.  Svab will also be studying Geomatics Engineering at the college, a two-year course.  A signing ceremony was held in the St. Michael's common area on May 2, with a crowd of students there to cheer him on as Kodiaks Head Coach Greg Gibos officially welcomed Svab to the roster.

Svab has been involved in a number of sports continually during his time at St. Michael's, notably track and field, basketball, and volleyball. He was MVP for South Zone volleyball last season.
"We saw Michael at a Kodiak camp in the summertime," said coach Gibos.  The Dragons won Zones and the Kodiaks awarded a free camp admission, leading to Svab's attendance. "Coach *Tyler) Speelman gave it to Michael to come, and right away we noticed him walk into the gym and we were 'That is an athletic guy who can do some cool things'."

"I think we made an offer to him that weekend, so right early in September, and we were lucky enough that he chose to attend school for us.   We are really, really excited to have him out there."

Gibos said Svab will face some challenges at the more competitive college level. "It will be a steep learning curve for Mike, I think that will be one of the biggest things.  (It's a) lot bigger, a lot faster, I think that will be the biggest thing for him, definitely getting his physicality up there, putting some muscle mass on, and just learning how to play the game at an extremely high level.  The ACAC South (Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference) is probably the most competitive conference in the country. We definitely have some good teams, we want to get him ready for it."

St. Michael's Athletic Director Tyler Speelman said the college is getting a versatile athlete in Svab. "He can play any position, he is a strong right side hitter,and he is a great middle. And he can jump. Believe it or not, he is 6'5" and he is going up against, there's a kid that is, I think, 6'11", or something like that. Michael, because of his leaping abilities, can jump high enough to compete with the other guys that are that tall. In the middle, it is a big deal to get as high as you can, and be as big as you can so he'll do really good in the middle, I think."  Speelman said the signing is good for Svab, the school's volleyball program, the athletic department, and for St. Michael's School. "I think it is so great that the Lethbridge Kodiaks are doing this and branching out. It's good for their program and our program, and it helps put volleyball back on the map.  We lose a lot of kids to hockey, and we lose a lot of kids to non-school sports." As an athletic director, Speelman said he would rather see students actively participating in after school sports than watching television, or sitting in front of a video game.  "Michael, he is going to fit in with any team, anywhere.  He's easygoing, he is easy to get along with, he listens very well to his coaches.  He's going to do great."

Svab said "I am very excited.  It is a pretty big honour to come from a small school and be able to play post-secondary. I'm pretty excited to start playing."   His advice for the younger athletes in his school, many of them in attendance to cheer him on: "Keep playing, whenever you get a chance, and never set your hopes low."

Pre-season for the Kodiaks starts with a September 22 game against Medicine Hat's Rattlers. The regular season begins after Thanksgiving, October 14-15.

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