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Bartlett Inducted into Ontario Volleyball Hall of Fame

London, ON – On Saturday, June 1, 2024 Melissa Bartlett, Western Mustangs Women’s Volleyball Head Coach was inducted into the Ontario Volleyball Hall of Fame, Class of 2024. She was inducted twice this year, in both the Athlete category as well as the Team category for winning the 2005 Canada Summer Games gold medal.

“It was certainly very humbling and I was honored to be inducted alongside London legendary volleyball player Paul Deurden. [This] recognition was a great opportunity to look back on my career as an athlete and see how that past has led me into my present role, still doing what I love, involved with the sport and athletes on a daily basis.” – Melissa Bartlett, Mustangs Head Coach, Women’s Volleyball

Photo of Induction Award 2024
Bio from Ontario Volleyball Website:

Melissa Bartlett grew up in Chatham, Ontario the daughter of a former OUA Champion. Volleyball was a part of her life from an early age as she attended her first volleyball camp in Grade 1. It was during these early years that Melissa learned about and fell in love with the sport of volleyball. Riding the bus after elementary school down to Chatham Kent High School where her father Randy coached, running around the gym, shagging balls and playing mini volleyball games with her little brother Cameron.  

A standout at Chatham Kent Secondary School, she would help the Golden Hawks Volleyball team to 3 (KENT) City Championships and three OFSAA Silver medals.  Melissa would garner individual accolades as well with multiple tournament MVP Awards, three first-team city all-star, three-time CKSS Athlete of the year and the academic athlete of the year in 2004. Away from the court she was a multi-sport athlete, competing in basketball, track and field, badminton, and swimming, where she was provincially and nationally ranked. For all her efforts she was awarded the 2004 Dr Jack Parry Award for the top high school graduating student athlete in the Chatham-Kent Area. 

As a member of Chatham Ballhawks Volleyball Club from 11 years old, Melissa thrived as the competition level increased. In 2002 as a member of their 15U team, she would win the Provincial Championships, a Silver at the Eastern Canadian National Championships, the Ontario Volleyball Award of Excellence and be named a tournament all-star at nationals. At 16U and 17U the Ballhawks would bring home silver medals. 
In 2000, Melissa earned a gold medal at the Ontario Summer Games as a member of the Region 3 team. She, along with Sarah Pavan, were the only two grade-8 players named to a squad made up of grade 10 athletes. She was called up to the Canadian Youth National team in 2002, placing 4th at the NORCECA Continental championships in Salt Lake City, Utah. In 2003 due to her stellar play and leadership she was named co-captain of the Canadian Junior National Team, winning a National Team Challenge Cup Tournament All-Star nod. In 2004, as captain she led the team to 4th place at NORCECA Continental Championships in Winnipeg. In 2005, Melissa would captain Team Ontario, and lead the tournament in scoring, en route to Gold at the Canada Games in Regina, Saskatchewan. 

Melissa would head south of the border in 2004 to NCAA Division I at Eastern Michigan. A starter in her freshman year, Melissa again rose with her competition, named Mid America Conference All-star as a Sophomore and helping the program to its first ever MAC West Division Championship. 

Prior to the 2006 season, Melissa would move on to Hillsdale Collegiate in Division II where she compiled an impressive list of accomplishments and school records.  She was named a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletics Conference (GLIAC) First Team All-Conference player and Acedemic All-American in 2006 and 2007 as well as the 2007 GLIAC Conference Player of the Year. She received the Commissioners Award for being an Outstanding Student-Athlete as well as being named AVCA and Daktronics First Team All-American.  

Hillside’s 2006 squad is still the only volleyball team in school history to achieve a perfect regular season record, finishing 27-0. The team also secured the program’s first GLIAC regular season championship, earned the right to host the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional for the first time, and recorded the Hillsdale volleyball program’s first NCAA Tournament victory. During the 2006 season, Hillsdale was ranked as high as third in the nation, a mark that wouldn’t be surpassed by a Chargers volleyball team until 2021. She finished the 2007 season ranked second in NCAA division II with 6.01 points per set and holds the program record for kills in a season with 635. 

Following her university career Bartlett joined the professional ranks in Spain Superliga II, playing for the Algar Surmenor Women’s Volleyball Team in Cartagena. Bartlett excelled once again, leading the league in scoring in the 2008-09 season. She would retire from pro in 2010 and in 2012-win Volleyball Canada Nationals and be named a tournament All-star. 

Melissa has been in leadership roles most of her playing career and had helped at her father’s Volleyball Kent Camps for years, so it was a natural progression for her to step into coaching after her professional career ended. Melissa would return to Hillside Collegiate as a student assistant coach for the 2009-10 season before heading back to Chatham after graduation. She quickly took coaching positions at her alma mater CKSS and with the Chatham Ballhawks. Not one to just stay local, she jumped into the provincial coaching pathway and after assisting with Team O 17U Girls in 2011, she would lead Team O 18U girls to the 2013 NTCC Tournament Championship. 

Following the title, Melissa earned the Head Coaching role at Western University and has just finished her 11th season with the school. She has helped the team become a perennial contender, with a top 3 winning percentage over the past decade. The team has accumulated 5 OUA medals and a streak of 7 consecutive OUA Final Four Tournaments and in 2017 finished 6th at the U SPORTS National Championship. 
Away from U SPORTS, Melissa is still involved with Volleyball Kent Camp now as a co-Director. The camp is entering its 36th year and provides summer camps to athletes aged 6-14. 

Her new project is at the Western Volleyball Summer Camps. Melissa has been pivotal in the creation of a “Captain’s Camp”. First opening in summer 2023, hosted at Western University by the Western Mustangs, and led by Bartlett, this is Canada’s only combined leadership and volleyball development camp. 

Melissa has a history of achievement. Academically, on the court as an athlete, and now as a coach. Her athleticism, intelligence, leadership, and drive to better herself and those around her has led to success in every volleyball endeavour she has chased.   

To add to her successes, Melissa Bartlett is getting her call to the OVA Hall of Fame in the Athlete Category as a part of the Class of 2024. Congratulations! 
Video Links

Athlete – Hall of Fame Induction 

Team – Hall of Fame Induction 

2024 Ontario Volleyball Team Induction - photo of team members
Melissa Bartlett, Top Row Middle, 2nd from Left, with the team that won the 2005 Canada Summer Games gold medal, inducted into the 2024 Ontario Volleyball Hall of Fame.
Melissa Bartlett

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