Talsma wraps up career at Redeemer with All Canadian, Player of the Year awards

Just weeks after Orono’s Dustin Reid received the Coach of the Year (East division) award from the Ontario University Association for coaching the Ryerson Rams women’s volleyball team, another native son is also receiving kudos in the volleyball world.

Ryan Talsma is at Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta today (March 10th) to be recognized by the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association (CCAA) at its 2010 Men’s Volleyball All Canadian Awards. Each of the ten award recipients is selected by their individual conference based on their performance and contribution to both the sport of men’s volleyball and their team, according to the CCAA. This is the third year in a row that Talsma has been named All Canadian.

On Feb. 25th, Talsma was also honoured with the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association’s (OCAA) Player of the Year award for men’s volleyball.

Talsma has had an impressive career with the Redeemer Royals of Redeemer University College in Ancaster, Ontario. In his first year, he won the OCAA Rookie of the Year award. Now finishing his fourth year, Talsma helped lead the Redeemers to a bronze medal win against the Mohawk Mountaineers at the OCAA Provincial Championships.

Redeemer qualified for the bronze medal game with a 3-2 win over the Nipissing Lakers. The Royals had a 13-2 record for regular season play, with both losses to the Lakers, according to The Hamilton Spectator.

Redeemer took the third place medal after defeating Mohawk 3-2, winning the deciding set 15-10. Talsma had the most points in the battle for bronze, with 16, according to the Spectator.

It is the first OCAA medal win in the team’s history, according to the Redeemer University College website. The college played host to the championships, which took place Feb. 25-27. The event included the OCAA championship breakfast banquet at which Talsma was awarded the Player of the Year award.

According to the Ontario Volleyball Association (OVA), Redeemer coaching staff noted that Talsma “is the consummate teammate… His leadership, natural gifts and his work ethic have made him one of the most feared players in the OCAA and across the country.”

The OVA website reported, “Talsma rewrote the OCAA’s record books this season, becoming the all-time leader for kills in a career with 719 and total career points with 907.” He finished the 2009-10 season ranking second in four of the six West Region statistical categories: total kills, service aces, total points and points per game average. Talsma also ranked eighth in digs, according to the OVA.

On top of the Player of the Year award, the OCAA also named Talsma one of five Men’s West Region 1st Team All-Stars and one of five OCAA Championships All-Stars.

“We’re really proud of Ryan,” said his father, Ray when reached by phone. “Volleyball is a team sport, and Ryan had a really good team around him this year.” Although he wore number one for the Royals, Talsma believes it takes a team effort to win, said his mother, Debbie. “We are quite proud of his accomplishments, but Ryan doesn’t like to be in the limelight. He’s a real team player,” she said.

Talsma is over 6’ 6” tall, and plays the right side on the volleyball court. Like Reid, he also played club volleyball for the Ganaraska Wolves in his teens. He attended Knox Christian School and Durham Christian High School, said his father.

“When he was at Durham Christian High School, they won the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations gold medal.” said Ray Talsma. “It was the first time a school from our area won an OFSAA gold, and the first time a Christian high school in Ontario won an OFSAA gold.”

Now, it is possible that Ryan Talsma may still add to his impressive college record. As he turns 22-years old next week, he is eligible to play one more year at the college or university level. While he has finished four years studying business and history at Redeemer, he is presently considering whether he might continue his education and play one more year of volleyball, said his father.

“Right now, he’s keeping his options open,” he said.

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