Falcons Siblings Go For Gold

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


It’s All About Teamwork For Albert Siblings

by Jeffrey Reed, Editor, LondonOntarioSports.com 

They’re not twins, but Zach and Janelle Albert of the Fanshawe Falcons men’s and women’s volleyball teams are closer than Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. And without a doubt, that sibling bond has played a big part in the success of the Falcons, with both teams competing for a national title from March 6 to 9.

The Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) men’s championship volleyball tournament visits Red Deer, Alta. this week, while the women’s CCAA tourney visits Welland, Ont. But don’t expect the 3,485 kilometres between Zach and Janelle to break their bond.

Zach Albert. Photo: Fanshawe Falcons.

Sure, they’ll follow each other online, and call with encouraging words. But the true sign of their closeness rests in how each of them excels when they’re apart on the court, according to Zach.

“I watch Janelle play all the time, and she does the same. It’s always feedback, feedback, feedback, which we both take to the court. And we’re very, very close. We hang out together all the time, have the same sense of humour and laugh at the same things,” said Zach, who turns 22 in April.

Janelle, turning 20 next month, said she and Zach “are as close to being each other’s coaches as is possible. We support each other 100 per cent. And I am constantly trying to mimic him on the court, because he’s such a great attacker.”

Ed. Note: Janelle was named CCAA player of the year. Click here for story.

The siblings from Brampton, Ont. are both outside hitters and each played a huge role in the Falcons’ drive to the CCAA championships.

The women’s team finished the regular season 19-0, won their first Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) championship in 47 years and are seeded No. 4 in the country.

Janelle, a second-year, five-foot-10 player studying Business Marketing, graduated from Toronto District Christian High School in Woodbridge, then played a year with the Ryerson Rams in 2017-18 and was named to the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) All-Rookie squad

This season, she was named an OCAA West Division First Team All-Star, OCAA MVP – the first female Falcon to claim that award – and CCAA All-Canadian. A complete player, she averaged 4.6 points per set during the regular season, had a .355 kill percentage on offense and collected 155 digs defensively. She led the league with 1.02 service aces per set, had 170 kills, 54 service aces and 18 blocks.

Falcons women’s volleyball head coach Sean Pellow called Janelle “a huge calming influence. When things get into panic mode, there’s never a moment of doubt in her mind. She has full trust in herself, the team and the process.”

“Those are kind words, and yes, that’s a role I play,” Janelle said. “I try to be a rock on the court, keep everyone calm so no one gets crazy, especially when it gets intense out there.”

The No. 1-ranked men’s squad, also 19-0 during the regular season, are on a mission this year after finishing with a disappointing silver medal at last year’s CCAA championship in Victoria, B.C. Their loss to Les Titans de Limoilou in the gold medal game was their only loss of the campaign.

Listed at six-foot-one, Zach said he measures himself at “six-foot-two and a half. I jump pretty high, so that height looks cooler.” A fourth-year player also out of Toronto District Christian HS and who also studies Business Marketing, Zach is well travelled, having suited up for the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds in 2015-16, then the University of Toronto Varsity Blues in 2016-17.

Janelle Albert. Photo: Fanshawe Falcons.

After missing home, wanting to be near his parents, Mike and Jackie – former Sheridan Bruins varsity volleyball players – and then deciding university wasn’t for him, Zach decided on Fanshawe College. He led Fanshawe’s high-powered offense with 3.9 points per set this season, recording 145 kills, 24 aces and 11 blocks. His .379 hitting percentage was fifth best in the OCAA, which named him a West Division First Team All-Star. He, too, was the OCAA’s championship tourney MVP.

“Zach is exciting to watch on the volleyball court,” Janelle said, “and there is so much I can learn from him.”

No surprise, last week the duo were named OCAA stars of the week after dominating at their respective provincial championships.

Zach said his entire family, including brother Tyler, 23, an accomplished weightlifter, excels in anything they tackle on the playing field. And more importantly, he said they enjoy doing it together.

“Mom and dad met on the volleyball court at Sheridan. We all love to compete, even in backyard games or card games. So seeing how well both volleyball teams have done this year is amazing.”

Already during the 2018-19 school year, Fanshawe has a record medal haul – 22 in total, including CCAA gold in women’s cross country, and 10 provincial gold medals. The previous record of 20 overall medals was set in 2017-18.

Now it’s time for the Falcons volleyball squads to add to that total. Knowing the Albert siblings, they’ll enjoy every minute of it.

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About jeffreyreed

A leading Canadian communications professional. Corporate office http://www.JeffreyReedReporting.com established 1989. Publisher/Editor of this website and https://londonontariogolf.com.

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