Wear­ing maple leaf ‘never gets old’ for World Uni­ver­sity Games par­tic­i­pant

Orleans Star - - LOCAL SPORTS - Dan Plouffe

Falling­brook’s Adam Si­mac has had a num­ber of mem­o­rable ex­pe­ri­ences in the past few years as a pro­fes­sional volleyball player in Europe, but his first World Uni­ver­sity Games in Bel­grade, Ser­bia from July 1-12 of­fered some­thing new for the Team Canada mid­dle.

“This was my first time at­tend­ing an event of this mag­ni­tude,” the 25-year-old noted in an email to the Star from Ser­bia. “Even af­ter talk­ing to some other guys who had been through it be­fore, noth­ing can re­ally pre­pare you for it.”

One thing that was new for Si­mac and his team was fac­ing teams that play styles they don’t see in North Amer­ica, which re­quired ad­just­ments on the fly based on their op­po­nents.

The 6-foot-8 Sir Wil­frid Lau­rier Secondary School grad, who never played club volleyball be­fore go­ing to Queen’s Uni­ver­sity, is still learn­ing new block­ing cues from the na­tional team coaches and in­cor­po­rat­ing them into his game.

It was also Si­mac’s first trip to Bel­grade for a com­pe­ti­tion, al­though he was able to of­fer some in­sight into the his­tory of the coun­try for some of his team­mates who had less in­ter­na­tional ex­pe­ri­ence.

“For the guys on the team who hadn’t been to Europe be­fore, it was a unique city to visit as there was still some vis­i­ble dam­age from the civil war,” Si­mac added.“But this area is so rich in cul­ture and the city is so metropoli­tan that every­one has been tak­ing in as much as they can. Bel­grade has done a great job in pro­mot­ing it­self as a wel­com­ing city, so I’m sure I’ll be back in the fu­ture.”

One as­pect that wasn’t to­tally new for Si­mac was play­ing for his coun­try – he had a big role in help­ing the se­nior ‘A’ team to a sil­ver medal at the June Pan Am Cup tour­na­ment in Mex­ico – but the gig as a na­tional team mem­ber re­mains spe­cial to him.

“The best part about be­ing at th­ese Games (as well as play­ing for the na­tional team all sum­mer) is wear­ing the maple leaf and know­ing that not only ev­ery time I step on the court, but ev­ery time I’m out in pub­lic,I’m rep­re­sent­ing Canada,”Si­mac said.“It’s some­thing that never gets old for me.”

The Cana­di­ans amassed a 4-1 record in pool play – in­clud­ing a sig­na­ture 3-2 victory over Egypt’s top squad – be­fore be­ing stopped by Rus­sia in a two-point loss in the fifth set of the quar­ter-fi­nals as the team wound up sixth over­all.

Si­mac will be in action with the na­tional team for an ex­hi­bi­tion match against Aus­tralia at the Uni­ver­sity of Ottawa on July 21.

St. Peter Catholic High School grad Court­ney Pi­ly­paitis and the Cana­dian women’s bas­ket­ball team didn’t have quite as suc­cess­ful a run, suf­fer­ing sev­eral close de­feats en route to a 2-5 record and a 15th-place fin­ish.

The Uni­ver­sity of Ver­mont ju­nior scored a to­tal of 40 points in the tour­na­ment’s seven games.

Sir Wil grad Richard Adu-Bo­bie didn’t make the trip to run the 4X100-me­tre re­lay be­cause he tore his quadri­cep.

File photo

Adam Si­mac.

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