The West Aussie setter making the most of his Canadian college journey.


After a busy recruiting season the Volleylink team recently caught up with our first ever setter to the online blog. Mitch Lewington or "Lewi" as some would know has spent the last 2 years at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) and has lead his team as the starting setter since his arrival in 2016. Mitch admits that while most Aussie's are now flooding into Canada for the volleyball experience it is also an opportunity to the make the most of the education that is up for offer. With over half of the ACAC teams now including an Australian on their roster's, Mitch believes that the Canadian coaches and players are now more welcoming then ever. Lewi goes into his third season with NAIT this coming October so be sure to keep reading for his college story exclusively for Volleylink. 

1.     Which University do you play for, what course do you study and what year of eligibility are you currently in?       

 Northern Alberta Institute Of Technology (NAIT). Architectural Technology, and I’m going into my third year eligibility.

2.     Why did you choose to play in the ACAC initially how did it come about?

 I chose to commit to playing because I saw it as a great opportunity. I enjoy the sport and was also very eager to see the world and experience something new. It’s something I never imagined I’d never do, being so settled and happy in Perth. 

It all happened when I was at a national junior team camp in Canberra, Dan Illot pulled me over and asked me if I was interested in possibly playing overseas. Never given it a thought, I ran with it and sent some emails out with some video to see if there was any interest. From there it all fell into place and NAIT was the final decision.

 3.     What has been your focus since moving to Canada and what will the 2018/19 season and bring for you?

 My first year I was fully focussed on volleyball and just settling in. After that year, I chose to make the most of the opportunity and focus on my education as well as continue to reach success in volleyball.

The 2018/19 season will be a change, with a few of our role players from last year moving on, we are going to be a young team again but still have a great shot at making it to nationals which has always been our teams major goal.

4.     What advice would you give to young Aussie’s interested in the college/university pathway in Canada?

Embrace the whole opportunity, it’s a huge commitment with both school and volleyball. Its pretty tough going to class every day and training every day, for 7 months straight but its well worth it. I would also say to not be afraid of making friends or fitting in, it’s surprisingly easy as you are with your team mates every day and every night, so it’s a great opportunity to make some great friendships within the team and also other sports teams around the college. Beware of the cold, it is very brutal conditions in winter.

 5.     How does it feel to have so many Australian’s playing in Canada? In your opinion, do you think the Canadian players enjoy having so many Australians playing in their country?

Its great, its nice to have someone around you that is in the same situation as you and have all made the big decision to move over just like you did. Huge benefit to have Aussie mates with you on the AFL grand final day too. I think Canadian’s enjoy it, the ones at NAIT do at least. They all enjoy getting to know the culture and life style that we grew up in and all the differences and similarities Australians and Canadians have. They are always trying to attempt an Australians accent too.

6.     What will be the plan once your time in Canada is complete, what is the next goal/step for you?

As of now I have no idea. I both equally enjoy Perth and Edmonton for different reasons. I am just taking it as it comes, if a good opportunity arises in Edmonton I wouldn’t be apposed to it. Whatever happens, it will be a tough decision.

 Quick Fire Questions:

1.     Favourite volleyball drill/drills? Wash drill

2.     Canadian accents? Yes

3.     Perth or Edmonton? Tough one, probably Perth

4.     Favourite movie: Longest Yard

5.     Favourite day of the week and why? Saturday, no work and is game day if in Canada.

6.     Shirt number I will wear this season: 3

7.     What Position do you play? Setter

8.     What is your volleyball nickname?  Lewi

9.     Attending class or skipping for team room chills? Team room

10.  Favourite city in the world?  Toronto

11.  Best time to play volleyball: Morning, or Noon, or Evening

12.  If I spoke another language what would it be? Italian

13.  AFL or Volleyball? AFL

14.  The thing I miss most about Australia is Surfing, footy and family.

15.  Most annoying thing about Canada?  Cold and Cold

16.  Favourite team mate?  Can’t pick

17.  If I didn’t Set, I would choose which position? Pass hitter

18.  Biggest rival team? Red deer & SAIT

19.  If I played another sport in college, what would that be? Ice Hockey

20.  My coach would describe me as? Reliable


Matthew Hender