No Duff

Wesmen volleyball star originally cut from high school team

Justin Duff is in his fourth year with the Wesmen. Kelly Morton

Today, watching Wesmen volleyball star Justin Duff, it’s hard to believe that in Grade 9 he was cut from his junior varsity team. The six-foot-seven middle hit a growth spurt during Grade 9 and tried out again in Grade 10.

This time, he made it.

When the season ended, Wesmen head coach Larry McKay invited Duff to try out for the Strike Volleyball Club, where Duff’s volleyball career took off.

Duff graduated from Maples Collegiate in 2006 and joined Team Canada right away. Last summer, Duff returned to the National B team, which placed sixth at the World University Games in Serbia and second in Mexico’s Pan American Cup finals.
Duff loved the experience.

“Just to play that much volleyball, six hours a day, every day of the week, it was great.”

Now in his fourth year with the Wesmen, Duff has been to the Canadian Interuniversity Sport National Championship twice. He was a part of the national championship winning team in his first year and the silver-medalist team in his second year.

When asked to share his favourite Wesmen memory, Duff recalled the CanWest quarterfinals last season. The Wesmen faced the CanWest number two ranked Calgary Dinos, who beat the Wesmen twice during the regular season. Duff described the three-game series as “five-set marathons.” The Wesmen lost the first game to the Dinos but came back to win the second.

By the last day, Duff was so exhausted he stopped jumping in practice, thinking, “If I jump now I won’t be able to jump in the game!”

This year, Duff is happy to have his younger brother Bradyn join the Wesmen men’s basketball team. Wesmen fans can look forward to watching both Duffs in action in the coming weeks.

The next home game for men’s basketball will be at the Pembina Chrysler Invitational on Friday, Oct. 23 (time TBA). The Wesmen men’s volleyball team plays at home Friday, Nov. 13 at 8 p.m. against cross-town rivals, the University of Manitoba Bisons.

Published in Volume 64, Number 6 of The Uniter (October 8, 2009)

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