For our next team preview we’ll hop over the mountains and get a look at our first NBVL Vancouver team. Dunbar Cycles was a part of the Inaugural Season in Vancouver, where they just missed out on the playoffs, finishing 5th in the Regular Season. Here’s a look at the team they hope will bring them to the promised land.
Rob Venables wears every hat for Dunbar. He runs the cycling company, and also owns, manages, coaches, and plays on the Dunbar Cycles team which will be sporting Black and Green uniforms this Winter
STEPHEN NASH – RETURNING PLAYER
Nash is a veteran of the highest level in the Vancouver volleyball world. He has the most intimidating arm in the entire NBVL, using his swing power to lead all men in Aces in the Inaugural Season. Also the overall leader in blocks, Steve definitely earned his spot back on the Dunbar team, and will look to lead the new look group into their first playoff season.
BAILEY SOOLsma – 3rd Overall
Bailey turned heads on the VBC and KWVC women’s beach tours last summer, establishing herself as one of the top blockers on the sand in BC. She also impressed at the combine, most notably as one of the highest block/spike touching athletes there. Dunbar was making note of it all, prompting them to choose her as their first pick in the draft, and the base of their women’s team.
rob venables – player/owner
As the only player/owner left in the NBVL Vancouver, Rob was required to be on his own team. Last season he was forced to bow out after the first 3 matchups due to a shoulder injury, but in that time he racked up 15 Digs, and averaged 12.3 points scored per game. Rob and Steve are the only returning pair from the Inaugural season, so will try to use that existing chemistry to their advantage.
kaitlynn given – 15th overall
Given was another solid performer in the BC women’s beach scene this summer, with a slew of semi final finishes on both tours. Most notably, Kaitlynn finished 2nd overall in points on the BC Beach Tour in 2019. Her addition to the team in the third round was a steal for Dunbar, as highly rated as she was in the summer. Her and Bailey might have to fight for blocking duties, though, as both are among the most highly touted blockers in BC.
murray laidlaw – 22nd overall
Another veteran of the NBVL’s Inaugural Season, Murf is the only member of Dunbar that was poached from one of last year’s teams. Laidlaw, who played for Natura Solutions last season, finished the IS as the top overall points scorer for men. He saw a lot of volume, but made the most of opportunities, amassing 103 kills over his 6 matches, more than any other player. The game doesn’t stop on the court for him, either, as the league’s #1 trash talker on social media.
malena rapaport – 27th overall
Dunbar didn’t skimp on height for their women’s team. Rapaport is their shortest player at 5’10.5″, and made her mark on the beach this summer when she qualified for the Vancouver Open with partner Mitra Shad. Malena should further solidify the Dunbar women’s intimidating presence at the net, and will look to make the most of every opportunity she gets this season.
Dunbar Cycles should be a very strong blocking team on both the men’s and women’s side, thanks to Nash and all 3 women’s players, but apart from that, their team compositions were very different. The only addition to their men’s roster was a strong Inaugural Season performer in Murf, which gives them an average age of 38, which is 8 years older than the next oldest team in Vancouver (Pacific Coast), and 3 year’s the senior of Calgary’s seniors (PlayBeach). Meanwhile their women are one of the younger crew averaging 26 years old, but with an average height of 5’11”. It will be interesting to see the dynamic from the Dunbar Dames, they should be strong up front, but who will take the reigns in the back court? And will the men hold up for the full season in order to show these young whippersnappers a thing or two?