Ex-Hawk wins volleyball world championship
Last winter, former Golden Hawk men’s volleyball player Sam Schachter made the decision to leave his squad at Laurier and pursue a lofty goal.
The 20-year-old had his sights set on the beach volleyball Under-21 Youth World Championships.
The tournament, that has been held in Turkey and Albania the last two years, showcases some of the world’s best young volleyball players on the sand.
Schachter, and his partner Garret May, were hand-picked to represent their country at the event and seemingly against all odds the duo captured a gold medal – the first ever for Canada.
“We were definitely the underdogs of the tournament,” said Schachter. “I mean, we were medal hopefuls but we were ranked fairly low based on our previous results.”
Team Canada defeated the powerhouse Team Brazil in the final match-up that saw Canada ranked at 18th overall, and Brazil 2nd.
If overcoming those odds wasn’t praise-worthy in itself, Schachter was left partner-less only three weeks prior to the tournament.
A chronic knee injury left Schachter’s original partner sidelined. After months of training together, he was forced to mesh with a new partner, May.
“We ended up working really well,” commented Schachter. “Things came together quickly for us.”
The new duo only competed together once before taking the stage at the international level. At Nationals they finished fifth overall in Canada. In Turkey, May and Schachter went undefeated in seven games en route to their title.
With the victory the pair earns a free draw in an FIVB (Fédération Internationale de Volleyball) sanctioned event. Although they have not yet decided on a tournament, the duo is considering China or Europe as options.
Schachter will be returning to Laurier to study, however will not be playing volleyball for the Hawks.
“I’ll be training with the national beach team,” said Schachter who will be commuting from his home in Richmond Hill. “But I’ll definitely be around the gym to watch the guys though.”
During his two seasons with the Golden Hawks Sam picked up several top honours – he was named OUA Rookie of the Year, Rich Newbrough Rookie of the Year and Laurier Team Rookie of the Year. He was also voted to the OUA and CIS all-rookie teams.