Three players who have competed for their counties’ national teams and multiple all-conference high school players will join Grand Canyon as it transitions to the MPSF.
Grand Canyon coach Matt Werle announced Wednesday that Onur Cukur, Avery Enriques, Hugo Fischer, Ryan Losch, Tanner Petchul Alex Shmelev and Trevor Weary all have committed to play for the Antelopes beginning in 2018.
“I could not be happier with the athletes we have incoming,” Werle said in a statement. “We strive to recruit strong athletes with exceptional character and all seven of these young men fit that mold.”
Cukur, a 6-foot-8 setter, will play for Turkey at the upcoming FIVB U19 World Championship and helped his country qualify for the tournament with a third-place finish at the U19 European Championship earlier this year. He also won three consecutive Balkan Championship titles and won the Best Setter award at the 2015 Balkan Championship.
Fischer had a combined four aces and 10 blocks to help Belgium finish in seventh place at the 2017 U19 European Championship. The opposite also played for Belgium at the 2017 Youth Olympics Games and last year helped the U18 Belgium National Team win the West-Europa division title at the European Championship.
Losh, a commit from Fircrest, Washington, is a member of the USA Beach Volleyball U19 National Training Teams. In indoor volleyball, Losh was an All-Tournament Team selection at the 2016 USA Boys’ Junior National Championships and helped lead his club team to a qualifier tournament championship earlier this year.
Weary, a 6-foot-7 outside attacker from Phoenix, Arizona, earned most valuable player honors every year with his high school team and led the school to the 2017 state championship. In addition, Weary led his club team in kills, aces, blocks and digs in 2016 as the team reached Boys’ Club National Championship finals.
Enriques, a libero from Keaau, Hawaii who played outside attacker in high school, was ranked in the top 10 of the 2016 Hawaii State Fab 15 Players list after earning first-team all-conference honors. He also helped his club team win a national championship in 2013.
Petchul, a setter from Irvine, California, earned back-to-back conference most valuable player honors with his school team. In addition, Petchul helped lead his club team to silver-medal finishes at the 2015 and 2017 USA Volleyball Boys’ Junior National Championships, while winning at gold medal at the 2016 USA Volleyball High Performance Championships.
Shmelev, a middle attacker from Barnaul, Russia, transferred to Grand Canyon after playing club volleyball at Utah Valley. The junior transfer earned all-conference honors in all three seasons with Utah Valley.
Grand Canyon in its final year before joining the MPSF finished the 2017 season reaching the MIVA Tournament finals for the first time in program history. In addition, the Antelopes made their program’s debut in the national rankings and ended the year at No. 14 in the national coaches poll.
“Moving into the new conference, we knew we needed more size at the net and we accomplished that,” Werle said in a statement. “The balance of this incoming class by position is what we were hoping for. The staff is getting very eager to have the team back on campus.”