LCI Rams standout Knitel-Althen signs on the dotted line with Kodiaks
By Garrett Simmons
Lethbridge School District No. 51
Another Lethbridge Collegiate Rams volleyball is joining the stable of local players for the Lethbridge College Kodiaks.
On Tuesday afternoon, Lucas Knitel-Althen became the second LCI standout to join the Kodiaks, as he signed on the dotted line with the local college.
“I just really wanted to play volleyball after high school, and they have an engineering program that transfers to the University of Alberta,” he said, as he explained the athletic and academic reasons behind choosing Lethbridge College.
Knitel-Althen, an all-star middle for the Rams in his senior season, will look to build upon a successful high school career, which included a provincial bronze medal in 2017.
“We won most of our tournaments and did really good at provincials and won zones,” he said, as he mentioned the highlights of his Grade 12 year.
Knitel-Althen is also a standout basketball player at LCI, as the Rams senior is averaging 7.8 points per game. In fact, he was also looking at attending Augustana College to play basketball.
But his desire to play volleyball close to home led him to Lethbridge College, where Knitel-Althen is hoping to use his speed, quickness and vertical leap to help the Kodiaks. However, he knows there are a few adjustments he will have to make to translate his game to the college game.
“I’ll have to get better at reading the setter on the other side, reading the blockers better and getting a faster arm swing.”
According to Kodiaks volleyball coach Greg Gibos, those adjustments will take some time. However, he is excited about the potential the 6’4” Knitel-Althen possesses.
“He’s obviously a good athlete,” said the coach. “He’s a multi-sport athlete that does a lot of things other players can’t.”
Being big at the net on the defensive end is something Gibos expects from Knitel-Althen right away, as his blocking ability is his biggest strength.
The coach added Knitel-Althen’s offensive game is something the LCI senior will need to work on. On that note, Gibos added Knitel-Althen’s estimated 38-39-inch vertical leap, along with his high sports IQ, will give him an advantage at the college level.
Adjusting to the speed of the college game, and working to gel with the Kodiaks setters, will be some of the early challenges for Knitel-Althen, according to the coach. Going up against taller, more experienced college middle players will also be an adjustment.
“I think the biggest thing is the size and physicality at the college level is different,” said Gibos. “You’re going up against a lot of players who are bigger and stronger, and you’re going against 22-year-old guys who have been around for a few years.”
Date posted: Feb. 6, 2018