- Created on Thursday, 13 March 2014 01:02
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By JAMES HERBERT
“He set the culture of excellence we wanted in our gym this year,” says Nathan Groenveld, the Niagara Knights men’s volleyball team’s head coach about leading attacker Daniel Groenveld, his younger brother.
“Daniel is an extremely hard working and professional player.”
Daniel has been awarded the Canadian Collegiate Athletics Association (CCAA) All-Canadian Honours for 2014. He is one of three players in the CCAA to earn the honour this year.
“He is an incredibly skilled all-around player who can influence the game passing, defending, serving and offensively,” says Nathan. “As a person he is always willing to give back and help teammates and the community.”
For Daniel, competition is taken seriously.
“Ever since I started playing the game I’ve had a passion for it,” he says. “I’m a competitive person in general and have never been satisfied no matter what level I’ve gotten to. I want to keep improving.”
Hailing from Welland, Daniel attended McMaster University, where he played for the McMaster University Marauders volleyball team, before moving back to Welland and attending Niagara. He says it is different playing with a new team, but says he thinks they’ve done very well together.
“It’s always fun playing with new players and getting to know new guys,” says Daniel. “With every new team you need to adapt the skills you have so that they fit with the style your team plays.
“We were a close group all year, and I think everyone pushed each other to keep getting better and not be satisfied with how we were playing.”
Not only does he have a great team to rely on, but he has two brothers on the coaching staff to lend advice as well. His brother Nathan is head coach, and his brother Jeremy Groenveld is the assistant coach.
“Having both my brothers coach me has been an awesome experience,” says Daniel. “They both bring a good knowledge of the game and our close relationship has allowed me to iron out some key aspects of my game and really relax and just play my own style.
“I have also focused a lot on the mental side of the game which they have helped me with a lot having played at the highest levels.”
Daniel, who is enrolled in the business program at Niagara, says balancing volleyball and homework is a challenge, but is easily overcome with good time management.
“Time management is something all student athletes deal with, late nights after games or practices finishing assignments and never truly having enough time,” he says. “For the most part I’ve been okay with it, having some experience in university doing the same.”
Daniel finished off the 2013-2014 season with 275 points, and was a crucial part of the Niagara Knights finishing their season with 14 wins and four losses.
“He has been a great influence on our program,” says Nathan, “and has led with the competitive drive and desire we want in all our athletes.”