UBC Okanagan’s Men’s volleyball scooped a highly talented recruit as Heat head coach Greg Poitras signed a highly recruited local product for his first official signing bolstering the Heat’s roster entering the inaugural season in Canada West competition September 2011.
Jonathan Russo a starter on the BC team the last two summers will graduate from George Elliot and has elected to stay close to home to continue his education and play University volleyball. “My decision to go to UBCO was made because of their outstanding Athletics program, which is now moving to the CIS, and because of Heat’s award winning coaching. Plus having a university with such an outstanding reputation so close to home was a perfect fit for me.”
Jon’s resume has been filled with tournament All-Stars and MVP’s culminating in his team’s most recent fourth place finish at the 2010 High School volleyball championships held December 1-4 at UBC Okanagan as he was named First Team All-Star and Winner of the Spike Competition. George Elliot coach had this to say about Russo, “Jonnie graduates with the most complete skill-set of any volleyball player I have ever coached in high school. His well-rounded skills and his knowledge of the game make him a very highly sought-after recruit. He is the only player in the province that can step into a CIS program and contribute right away in four different positions. It's up to coach Poitras to determine where his abilities best fit, but to have that flexibility will be a huge asset. If Jonnie wishes to play overseas and with the national program, he will likely need to be a setter, but that doesn't mean he can't help UBCO win a national championship as a leftside, rightside, or libero.”
Greg Poitras will not worry about where to play Russo as he is very happy to add him to the fold as he guides the Heat into Canada West play next season. “Jonathan is the top recruit out of the Okanagan and a top three recruit in BC. In my opinion he is the best all-round high school player in the province. We knew it would tough making UBCO home for Jonathan as a number of schools were interested in him. We are very happy to add this level of a player going into year one in the Canada West (CIS). He proved at the provincial championships that he has the ability to score with some of the best players to move on to post-secondary. I have been very impressed with the high quality of his ball control, specifically the first contact. He attacks the ball with great pace and has an incredible ability to see the opponent’s block and defense. Jonathan will be an impact player right away and will compete for some significant floor time at setter and outside hitter. Jonathan is no stranger to volleyball as he has grown up with and watched several family relatives play elite volleyball, including his father who played volleyball at the University of Victoria. Russo is our first recruit going into the CIS next season. We look forward to watching Jonathan grow as a student-athlete and lead the Heat to success in the future.”
The Heat men will host an exhibition tournament over the Christmas break. They open the second half of league play at home Friday January 14th versus CBC, game starting at 7:45pm.