Conestoga Condor Wesley Lau has been named the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) men’s volleyball player of the year.
The award was presented to Lau during a ceremony on Feb. 20, as part of the 2019 OCAA men’s volleyball championship.
When asked how it felt to win such a prestigious award, Lau answered in the humblest of ways.
“Pretty good, I guess,” he said, chuckling. “It was a little surprising. I guess it’s nice, after five years of putting in hard work, to have some recognition.”
Lau has played in the OCCA for five years and this was his last. There might be no better way to retire from the league.
“Coach said I had a pretty good chance at getting it, but I wasn’t expecting it,” said Lau.
“Coming into the season I really didn’t think I was going to get anything like that, but it’s pretty cool.”
Lau was the OCAA West Division scoring champion, averaging 5.1 points per set in 16 games this season. The left-side, fifth-year player led all West Division players 222 kills and 266 points.
Lau not only surpassed the 1,000-career point mark in his final OCAA season, but he is also a Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) all-Canadian and a West Division first-team all-star.
“Number of sets,” said Lau, when asked to what attributed his impressive statistics. “With Ryan Clutton, our setter — he definitely set me quite a bit.”
Lau’s teammate, Daniel Mussleman, who played libero, also expressed the importance of team play.
“The players around him help too. When you have other threats on the floor, it opens up spots for hitters. When you have other players that can bang balls too, it opens up holes in the defence.” said Musselman.
“When Wes was getting the ball, he was hitting at such a high percentage, one, because of his ability and, two, because the other guys on the floor were creating those chances for him as well,” said Mussleman.
Lau was happy with the progress he’d made this season.
“As a team, originally, five years ago, when we started ,we weren’t very good.,” said Lau. “All the players that came in last year and this year made a huge difference. It’s not a one-man show — you can’t pass, set and hit the ball all at once.”
Lau went on to emphasize the importance of his teammates around him.
“It really helps out to have players such as Ryan Clutton, our setter, who is crazy good. Our middles are big dudes too — six feet and above. They really present a threat offensively and defensively too, so it makes it easier,” said Lau
Musselman, who has played with Lau for the past five years, talked about how he is seen as a leader amongst the team and how Lau’s leadership led them to have a successful year.
“Yeah I mean, you watch the guy play, you can see that, one, he plays with a lot of passion and, two, he’s always having fun, regardless if it’s a practice or a game,” said Musselman. “He’s there. It looks more like fun than anything. He’s not one to boast or showboat or anything. He has fun playing the game. It’s been a good five years playing and the others appreciate that as well.”
Asked if Lau was deserving of the award, Musselman said “definitely.”
“Not only for his talent, but the pain he was going through, too, the last five years, the whole time. Injuries and stuff — he played through, starting as a middle in the league and transitioning to the right side, then the left side, takes a lot of work developing different skills. His passing and digging came in along the way.”
He’s just insanely athletic,” said Musselman.