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Trading in the Blue and White for Red and White, Varsity Blues outside hitter Julia Murmann has been named to Canada’s women’s volleyball senior national team, while U of T libero Delaney Watson has been selected for Volleyball Canada’s Next Gen squad.

Murmann returns to the women’s national team as one of 14 athletes selected by Volleyball Canada last week. Led by head coach Shannon Winzer, Team Canada will begin competition in the Volleyball Nations League (VNL) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil beginning Tuesday, May 14. The VNL serves as the final opportunity for teams to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics as five places are still to be filled based on the FIVB World Rankings. Canada will be aiming to jump into one of those five qualifying positions as they face Brazil, China, Dominican Republic, and Thailand. Murmann has previously competed with Team Canada at the 2023 NORCECA Continental Cup, 2023 Pan American Cup, and 2022 VNL.

A strong all-around performer, Murmann completed her third season with the Varsity Blues this spring, appearing in 18 regular season matches. Receiving OUA first team all-star honours for a third consecutive year, she finished second in the province in total kills with 275 and fourth in the OUA in total digs with 245, showcasing her incredible abilities both offensively and defensively. Through her three seasons with the Blues she has averaged 3.9 points per set and 3.37 digs per set, posting over 600 career kills and 500 career digs in 46 regular season matches.

Blues women’s volleyball lead assistant coach Vincenzo Mallia will also join Murmann as part of the women’s national team coaching staff. Mallia has been a part of Volleyball Canada coaching staffs since 2015, spending time with the junior men’s team and national men’s B-team before joining the women’s national team staff.

Meanwhile, Varsity Blues defensive specialist Watson was one of 18 athletes selected to be a part of Volleyball Canada’s Next Gen squad for the summer of 2024. The roster of athletes, which includes just two liberos, will convene at the National Training Centre in Richmond, B.C., where they will train in preparation for their summer competition schedule. Watson and the Next Gen team will compete at the 2024 Pan American Final Six in the Dominican Republic in late June and the 2024 Pan American Cup in Mexico in early August. Watson has previously been a part of Team Canada’s National Excellence Program (NEP) and has competed with Team Canada at the 2023 U19 World Championship.

In her debut season with the Blues in 2023-24, Watson earned both OUA all-rookie and OUA second team all-star honours. She tallied double-digit digs in 18 of the 20 regular season matches she appeared in, ranking first in the province in both total digs with 350 and digs per set with an average of 4.73. Her season best came in a 3-1 victory over the Windsor Lancers on Feb. 16, where she registered 35 digs in the four set win.

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