Vikings Men's Volleyball add three new recruits to their 2021-22 roster

Cole Karaim, Robbie Taylor and Joel Smith (left to right) join Vikings Men's Volleyball
Cole Karaim, Robbie Taylor and Joel Smith (left to right) join Vikings Men's Volleyball

Cole Karaim, Robert Taylor and Joel Smith join the Vikings Men’s Volleyball program for the upcoming 2021-2022 ACAC season.

The Vikings Men’s Volleyball team is pleased to add three recruits to their 2021-2022 season roster.

“All three of these recruits have a fantastic attitude and are motivated to improve which was one of the main things I was looking for this year. I am extremely excited to start working with them and can't wait to get in the gym,” says Devin Varga, Head Coach of Vikings Men’s Volleyball. “The future looks very bright because we have a young core group of athletes that can grow together over the next couple of years.”

Cole Karaim – Jasper Place Composite High School – 6’4”

Karaim is an outside hitter that will bring an immediate contribution to the program. Hailing from Edmonton, Alberta, Karaim is an excellent outside hitter and will be teaming up again with fellow Jasper Place teammate Joel Smith.

“Karaim gives us the benefit of both size and athleticism,” says Varga. “He is an all-around athlete that jumps well and is an aggressive attacker, who will give us some much-needed depth on the right side.”

Having played volleyball since grade seven and even more recently competed with the FOG Volleyball Club in Edmonton, one of Canada’s best and largest clubs, Karaim will bring a wealth of experience to the team.

But as for why Karaim made the choice to dawn the red, white, and black, “I chose to become a Viking because I believe in the underdog,” he says. “I know that this team will become a true family to me.”

Robert Taylor – Ècole Secondaire Notre Dame high school – 6’0”

Taylor is a tireless worker who hails from Red Deer, Alberta and is a strong, six-foot-tall libero.

“Robbie has the technical skill and motivation to make an immediate impact on our team,” adds Varga. “He works hard both on and off the court and has all the tools to become an elite player in our league.” 

Coming from a family passionate about volleyball, Taylor had an early jump into the organized volleyball world seven years ago and felt the Vikings were the right fit for him in more than one way.

“Augustana lined up well with my academic and athletic goals,” he says. “I love the smaller campus atmosphere of the school and have heard some very positive feedback about the team from other Notre Dame Alumni.”

Joel Smith - Jasper Place Composite High School – 5’9”

Smith, who is a libero out of Edmonton, Alberta, will make a solid pairing with fellow new Vikings libero, Robbie Taylor.

“Joel Smith is a very enthusiastic and energetic player. He is loud, moves well and has the drive to become an impact player in the future,” says Varga. “His work ethic is contagious and could help push us to the next level.”

Smith has had his eyes set on the Vikings for a while after hearing great things from a family member.

“Augustana was my first pick since grade 10, although I didn't know I would be pursuing it, the thought of playing there was always at the back of my mind. My cousin went to Augustana and is always talking about what a great school it is and how much fun it was for her to play basketball there,” says Smith. “But at the end of the day, I want to be a Viking because I want to be the best athlete I can be and I believe it's more than achievable here.”