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Volleyball’s Voth siblings now each a rookie of year

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IF sibling rivalry exists between Chris Voth and Ashley Voth of the University of Manitoba Bisons men's and women's volleyball teams, neither one can claim brag­ging rights just yet.

Chris, the 18-year-old left side who starred at St. Paul's High School, was named the Canada West Conference male rookie volleyball player of the year on Thursday -- two years after sis Ashley won the female rookie of the year award in 2006/07.

"It obviously means quite a bit," Chris said a few minutes after finding out about the honour. "Ash had a great year (two years ago) and when I saw her get it, I always had a goal to try to match that.

"So when I found out I won it, I felt like I did and it felt really good."

Ashley, who starred at St. Mary's Academy before joining the Bisons, was in Austria and unavailable for comment. Two years ago, she went on to win CIS rookie of the year.

Chris won his rookie award even though his team finished with a 4-14 record and out of the playoffs.

"There were a lot of good first­year players out there this year and it was one of my goals, obviously, but I wasn't too focused on it," he said. "At the end of this year, we had four first-years starting.

"So that looks really good for the next two, three, four years -- we're going to be pretty strong."

Voth, 6-foot-5, was ninth in conference kills with an aver­age of three per game, and led the squad with 94 digs. Head coach Garth Pischke said Chris "has incredible passion for the game that I have rarely seen in an individual."

Voth wasn't the only Manitoba athlete to be bestowed a Canada West honour on Thursday. The conference also an­nounced that volleyball's Alan Ahow is its nominee for the Dale Iwanoczko Award and teammate Andrew Town was named to its volleyball all-star first team.

Ahow, in his fifth and final season of eligibility, has a 4.01 grade-point average in the combined arts and educa­tion degree program and was named outstanding student­athlete in the conference -- what the Iwanoczko award is presented for.

"Alan exemplifies what fantastic role models we have in Canadian university sport," said head coach Larry McKay.

Town, a 6-foot-3 outside hitter who was just named CIS male athlete of the week on Wednesday, is in his final season with the Wesmen, who advanced to this weekend's Canada West Final Four and to the CIS national champion­ship, both in Edmonton, later this month.

Also named to the all-star first team Thursday was Paul Sanderson of the Brandon University Bobcats, who have also advanced to the nationals, while Joel Small of the Bob­cats was named to the Canada West all-star second team.

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