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Laying down the boom

Outside hitter Bommersbach important piece for championship run

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 29/12/2017 (198 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

David Bommersbach doesn’t look much like the aspiring accountant he is, but he’s definitely a numbers-cruncher on the volleyball court.

The 6-3 outside hitter leads the University of Winnipeg Wesmen men’s team in kills per set (3.19), points per set (3.9) and service aces per set (.50) while also sitting second in digs per set (1.81).

Bommersbach is head coach Larry McKay’s most essential player and a key driver of the No. 7 ranked club’s ambitions to win a national championship.

But he’s in his fifth and final year of university eligibility and time is running out. The Wesmen have been eliminated during the quarter-final round of the Canada West playoffs in each of the previous three years.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 29/12/2017 (198 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

David Bommersbach doesn’t look much like the aspiring accountant he is, but he’s definitely a numbers-cruncher on the volleyball court.

The 6-3 outside hitter leads the University of Winnipeg Wesmen men’s team in kills per set (3.19), points per set (3.9) and service aces per set (.50) while also sitting second in digs per set (1.81).

PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>Fifth-year Wesmen David Bommersbach is looking to lead U of W on a championship run this season in his final year of eligibility.</p></p>

PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Fifth-year Wesmen David Bommersbach is looking to lead U of W on a championship run this season in his final year of eligibility.

Bommersbach is head coach Larry McKay’s most essential player and a key driver of the No. 7 ranked club’s ambitions to win a national championship.

But he’s in his fifth and final year of university eligibility and time is running out. The Wesmen have been eliminated during the quarter-final round of the Canada West playoffs in each of the previous three years.

"You play with a lot more urgency I find," said Bommersbach, explaining his mindset prior to his Wesmen Classic debut against the University of New Brunswick Thursday night. "You lose in another year and it’s like, ‘Oh well, there’s always next year.’ Now that option’s not there and puts pressure on you to perform well in your last year. That’s the ultimate goal for sure."

Bommersbach has earned his place among the very elite in Canadian university volleyball. After graduating from high school as the province’s top volleyball prospect at Miles Mac, he earned backup minutes as a Wesmen rookie before rising to starting status in his second season. By his third year, he was firmly established as a Canada West all-star.

Through it all, McKay noticed a pattern. Bommersbach wants to be continually challenged in practice.

"He’s a good athlete, but he’s an above average worker," McKay said. "He has a real appetite for that. He’ll probably tell you he sees a connection between how well he plays and how much work he gets to put in. He has been on me — he has been right from the start of his time with us — on me about, ‘I’d like more work. More reps.’

"That’s what puts him from being average to slightly above average volleyball player to the above average category."

Bommerbach’s work ethic in the classroom (he’s a semester away from a business administration degree with a major in accounting) and on the court is infectious. His teammates consider him a natural, albeit quiet, leader who is willing to play hurt. In fact, during Winnipeg’s opening match in Canada West, Bommersbach broke the index finger and tore a ligament in his left hand. Fortunately, he’s right-handed and is able "tape it up and deal with the pain."

"He doesn’t need to say anything really," teammate Nolan Parrington says. "He’s such a hard worker, it’s been awesome to play five years with him. We played against each other in high school so I kinda didn’t know him. He’s not a loud guy, but wow, he’s very very intense and competitive and he loves volleyball. He’s kind of the silent assassin."

Added libero Logan Brennan: "He’s an exceptional offensive player. Obviously, statistics-wise, he’s the heart of our team. He’s the guy we win games because of and he’s the guy that makes the difference for us."

Bommersbach was a multi-sport athlete when he was younger, but he came from a family immersed in the game — volleyball was No. 1.

His oldest brother Kevin preceded him on the Miles Mac volleyball squad and played one season at the U of W while middle brother Mike, another Buckeyes alum, was a fixture for three years as a setter for the Wesmen. His dad, Rob, was a member of a provincial championship team at Miles Mac in the early ’80s. And uncle, Wayne Sigurdson, was both a Buckeye and a Wesmen during the same era.

McKay, now in his 29th season at the helm of the Wesmen, knows he’ll be losing a good one after the season ends.

"Dave has got tools, he’s got the work to be as good as he wants to be," Mc­Kay said. "He’s in a receiver/attacker position so that’s a good and bad thing. The good thing is he gets to take a lot of the swings and there’s a lot of things he has to do — receive, swings, block, serve, those are the primary things. The bad new is he’s the leading scorer on the team and when he doesn’t score, the team loses and that’s on him."

"In five years there hasn’t been many times I’ve seen Dave struggle," Parrington added. "He’s pretty good at overcoming adversity. You can see when the intensity comes out in games and in practice."

Bommersbach has excellent reach (his hitting radius tops out at 11-3), but McKay said his ability to alter his attack in the air makes him especially dangerous.

"His decision-making as an attacker, when he sees and chooses his shot, that’s a big deal," he said. "His repertoire, developing a repertoire and having the ability to hit different shots is something he’s worked very hard at."

Ask the 22-year-old about life after volleyball and it seems he still sees a future in the game.

An internship last summer with the major accounting firm KPMG put him closer to his goal of becoming a CPA.

However, he could also detour into the world of pro volleyball — he said former teammates Casey Schouten and Josh McKay are enjoying their time playing in Finland.

"If I get the right chance to play overseas, it would be tough to turn that down," said Bommersbach, who may also take a shot at making the national team in May.

mike.sawatzky@freepress.mb.caTwitter: @sawa14

Mike Sawatzky

Mike Sawatzky
Sports Reporter

Mike has been working on the Free Press sports desk since 2003.

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History

Updated on Friday, December 29, 2017 at 7:26 AM CST: Photo added.

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