Byron Keturakis from the UBC Thunderbrds and Theanna Vernon of the Ryerson Rams are the U SPORTS Male and Female Athletes of the Week for the period ending Mar. 18, 2018
Keturakis helped UBC win their first U SPORTS national championship in 35 years while being named tournament MVP in the process.
The fourth-year setter kicked off the championship with a 28-assist, 2.5-block performance in a straight sets UBC win over the University of New Brunswick. Keturakis followed up with 33 assists in Saturday’s semifinal win over Alberta while adding a whopping seven service aces and five digs earning player of the match honours for UBC. The veteran Thunderbird finished in style with 31 assists and 3.5 blocks in the gold medal match as UBC beat the No.1-ranked Trinity Western Spartans in straight sets to capture their first national banner since 1983.
Prior to the start of the tournament, Keturakis was also named a First Team All-Canadian as he was tops in the entire country in both assists with 963 and service aces with 65.
Vernon, a Scarborough, Ont., native made the most of the Rams’ third trip to nationals, as the team captain stood tall in the middle to anchor a potent Ryerson attack, steady a stout defensive presence, and buoy the team’s overall push toward an undefeated season. All in all, the middle blocker, who was also named an All-Canadian prior to the start of the event, helped her team win the first ever national banner in school history.
To start the weekend, the Rams battled UBC Okanagan in quarterfinal play – a match in which the OUA champions had to come back from two sets down – and Vernon kicked off her championship quest strong. She tallied 16 points (10 kills, 6.0 blocks) in the win before offering up a similar performance in the team’s semifinal match. Vernon once again connected on 10 kills and registered 5.5 blocks, totaling 17.5 points for the match to help the Rams down the No. 1 seeded Calgary Dinos. Vernon saved her best for last; however, as she registered 11 kills and 6.5 blocks in the championship win over Alberta, rounding out her outstanding showing with 17.5 points in the finale. Her impressive totals and unbreakable consistency helped the fourth-year star earn MVP honours for the tournament, and was a significant part of Ryerson’s historic performance on the national stage.
- CW: Byron Keturakis, volleyball, UBC (winner)
- OUA: Brandon Koppers, volleyball, McMaster
- RSEQ: Gabriel Chancy, volleyball, Montreal
- AUS: Chase Marchand, hockey, StFX
- CW: Lauryn Keen, hockey, Manitoba
- OUA: Theanna Vernon, volleyball, Ryerson (winner)
- RSEQ: Marie-Joëlle Allard, hockey, Concordia
- AUS: Courtney Baker, volleyball, Dalhousie
- Player bios courtesy U SPORTS member conferences