CJ Pentland, CapU Sport Information Director
Simon Friesen has added another accolade to his resume. On Wednesday night, the fourth-year setter on the Capilano University Blues men's volleyball team was named the 2018 College Athlete of the Year at the 53rd annual Sport BC Athlete of the Year Awards in Vancouver.
|L-R: Simon Friesen, CapU assistant coach Carson Kauenhowen, CapU head coach Dave Dooley|
The award recognized Friesen's achievements during the 2017-18 season, after which he was named PACWEST and CCAA National Player of the Year. As the best setter in the country, he averaged 10.14 assists per set this season and also recorded 65 kills on a 0.419 hitting percentage thanks to his ability to surprise the defence with a setter dump. He also excelled on defence, averaging 1.77 digs per set and ranking 15th in the PACWEST in blocks with 0.43 per set. The Abbotsford native was also strong from the service line, as his 28 total aces were seventh-most in the league.
Throughout the year, Friesen volunteered with Atomic Volleyball on the North Shore (ages 9-12), and also coached with the BCO Volleyball program and with the Capilano Blues volleyball summer camps. An Arts & Sciences student, he was also as CapU Blues Scholar Athlete Honourable Mention.
Friesen was also recently named a 2018-19 CCAA All-Canadian for the second year in a row and a PACWEST First Team All-Star for the third consecutive year. He led the Blues to an 18-6 record, a #9 ranking in the CCAA, and a PACWEST bronze medal – the team's first medal since 2013. Running a balanced offence that involved all hitters from all positions, he was second in the league in assists per set with 8.36, and he averaged the seventh-most service aces per set with 0.47/set. He rounded out his game with 0.36 blocks/set and 1.22 digs/set.
Friesen is the third Capilano Blue to win College Athlete of the Year, joining Jenna Ralston of women's basketball in 2012 and Diana Artuso of women's soccer in 1998.
The Athlete of the Year Awards, founded by Sport BC, is the longest standing sport recognition event in Canada. Awards in 18 different categories are presented each year to athletes, coaches, officials and volunteers for their performance and contribution to sport in our province. The awards play a valuable role in nurturing athletic success and recognizing some of BC's growing talent.
The other nominees for College Athlete of the Year were Mikayla Wagner of Vancouver Island University women's volleyball and Taylor Reese-Hanson of Camosun College Curling.