Penticton’s Logan Mend is suiting up for Canada at the FIVB U21 World Championships in Nanjing, China, later this summer. Submitted photo

Mend digging his chance with Team Canada

Penticton Secondary School grad headed to volleyball U21 World Championships in Nanjing, China

Logan Mend is getting the chance he long dreamed of.

Donning the maple leaf on the volleyball court or beach.

“I have gone to junior national team trials the past two years and didn’t make it,” said Mend, a Pen High grad, who recently completed his third year with the York University Lions in U Sports. “It feels really good to have finally proven something at a national level.”

Mend accomplished the feat on March 22 when he and Toronto’s Tom Sorra defeated Austin Valjas and Andrew Kos in the final of Volleyball Canada’s U21 trials, earning a spot in the FIVB U21 World Championships in Nanjing, China, later this summer. During a video interview with Sorra, Mend talked about playing with him for the first time. Playing with a new partner is not an issue for Mend, who developed chemistry with his younger teammate after four practices.

“Obviously we weren’t playing at what we could. Our potential is a lot higher than how we performed,” said Mend. “I think everyone at the trials was a little rusty because of just coming off the indoor season. Playing with a new partner was fine.”

It’s not an issue because playing beach volleyball is Mend’s “forte” as he has spent summers in Kitsilano playing with and against a variety of people, which he likes.

When Mend and Sorra head for China, they will face professionals, which he said will be interesting. Their goal is to make the quarter-finals (top-eight). Other countries competing have players competing year-round and Mend said for them to medal at the championship is unrealistic.

“If we can make it into the top eight, that would be huge for Canada,” said Mend, who is supported by the West Coast Beach Volleyball Society. “Anything better is going to be even better.”

Helping Mend be at the top of his game is coach Alain Areseneau as well as some national team members. Mend will also work with Olympian Martin Reader who reached out to him. Reader played in the London Olympics with Josh Binstock. Mend knows Reader, who was coached by his father Paul Mend. Reader said he wanted to work with Mend and give him any tips that he can.

“I was super amped about that. I definitely want to ramp up my beach fitness,” said Mend.