The UFV Cascades men’s volleyball team added Nimo Benne (left) and Jonas Van Huizen for the 2021 season. (Submitted)

The UFV Cascades men’s volleyball team added Nimo Benne (left) and Jonas Van Huizen for the 2021 season. (Submitted)

Langley’s Van Huizen, Netherlands native Benne signed by UFV Cascades

Men’s volleyball team picks up two strong pieces to prepare for 2021 Canada West season

The University of the Fraser Valley men’s volleyball team scooped up a pair of touted players, signing Netherlands native Nimo Benne and Langley’s Jonas Van Huizen for the 2021 season.

Benne, a 6’8” outside hitter, transfers to UFV from Thompson Rivers University, where he earned Canada West rookie of the year honours in 2019-20. Van Huizen, a 6’3” setter, was one of B.C.’s top-rated prospects in the Class of 2020 out of Langley Christian Secondary.

“I couldn’t be more happy that Nimo and Jonas have chosen UFV,” Cascades head coach Nathan Bennett stated in a press release. “This sets the foundation of our program for many years to come.”

Van Huizen’s prep career saw him recognized as the No. 2-ranked graduating senior in B.C. in the Class of 2020, per VarsityLetters.ca’s annual coaches’ poll to determine the province’s top 15 prospects. The Cascades now have two players from the upper echelon of that list, with Van Huizen joining No. 4 prospect Tyson Ardell out of Abbotsford’s MEI.

RELATED: MEI’s Ardell signs with UFV Cascades

“We’re just ecstatic to have him,” Bennett said of Van Huizen, who had originally committed to Thompson Rivers before changing course and choosing the Cascades. “He’s a special athlete, and he has a very high ceiling when it comes to the setting position. He adds a competitive nature to our program, and a high volleyball IQ. We’re pleased to continue to build with local talent, and we’re happy that Jonas has chosen us as we build our competitive environment.”

Van Huizen’s high school tenure saw him lead the LCS Lightning to a silver medal at the B.C. AA championships in 2019. He earned back-to-back first team all-star nods at provincials in 2018 and 2019, and added MVP honours at the Eastern Valley championships last fall.

On the club scene, Van Huizen picked up U18 first team provincial all-star honours with the Fraser Valley Volleyball Club, and he joined forces with Ardell to help Team BC win gold at the Canada Cup in Halifax in 2019.

Benne’s university volleyball debut in Canada last season was a smash hit, and netted him several accolades. In addition to his Canada West rookie of the year nod, he also earned selection to the CW and U Sports all-rookie teams.

Benne finished fourth in the CW for kills with 265. He also ranked among the conference leaders in kills per set (3.23, ninth), total digs (131, ninth), digs per set (1.60, 12th) and in hitting percentage (.254, 12th).

Benne represented the Netherlands at the U20 European Championships in 2018, helping the squad to a fourth-place finish, and his club side, Talent Team Papendal-Arnhem, finished fifth in the nation’s top league. He plans to major in computing science at UFV.

“For us, it’s a game-changer,” Bennett said, reflecting on Benne’s signing. “It shows a lot of trust on Nimo’s side to come here and see what we’re doing, and understand this is a good spot for him to grow as an athlete and a student. He did a great job last season at Thompson Rivers University, and we’re excited to add a player of his pedigree in our quest to be a contending program in Canada West.”

For more, visit gocascades.ca.

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