Luke de Greeff looks to cause grief to the opposition on beach courts around the world. The six-foot-four hitter from Victoria has been named to the national beach volleyball team.
“It’s bringing a new, younger look to the team for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics cycle,” said de Greeff, 22.
Volleyball Canada believes so much in the Islander’s potential that he made the team despite recent injuries, which included surgery in April of 2023, that have curtailed his indoor U Sports career at York University. He was recruited by the Lions after a standout career as a left-side hitter at Lambrick Park Secondary and with the Canadian U-16 team.
“The plan is to switch to beach volleyball full time,” said de Greeff, a psychology major, who will continue helping the Lions indoors as an assistant coach.
“I am starting my re-integration in the sport as a player on the sand and I plan to be ready for this summer’s international competitions.”
It has been a story of resilience and resolve to get to this point.
“It’s been a sticky situation coming back from injury,” said de Greef.
“I even had to do my tryout process on-line.”
The selectors knew enough about de Greef’s progression and rehab from injury, and his ample ceiling, that he was named to the national team regardless.
Volleyball is an evolution that has come naturally to a guy who also excelled in soccer and basketball coming up, helping lead Lambrick Park to a top-five provincial finish in high school hoops.
“I was one of the tallest kids growing up and at Gordon Head Middle School,” said de Greef.
“It’s a natural sport for taller kids and I joined the Victoria Volleyball Association and we won the provincial U-14 championships, and my course was set and it became my main sport. I wanted to play all three of my sports but this is the era of specialization.”
The B.C. beach volleyball team of de Greeff and partner Dan Everton of Penticton won the silver medal at the 2022 Canada Summer Games in the Niagara Region. The long-term goal is to join past volleyball Olympians from the Island such as Tom Graham, Greg Russell, Martin Reader, Jamie Broder and Fred Winters into the biggest Summer Games platform of all in 2028 at Los Angeles and 2032 in Brisbane.