Sam Schachter finds success after Laurier spikes volleyball program
Team Canada's men's beach volleyball team is off to a strong start at the Pan Am Games with very little trouble in their opening matches.
But the road to playing professional beach volleyball didn't come without a major obstacle for Canadian pair Samuel Schachter and Josh Binstock of Richmond Hill, Ont.
Schachter, 25, started his rise as a key player on Wilfrid Laurier University's men's volleyball team. After the 2008-09 season he was named both the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) Rookie of the Year, and the team's Rookie of the Year.
But in 2011, the university decided to discontinue the men's and women's volleyball programs in order to "address the growing student demand for recreational and intramural sports activities and to help keep other varsity sports competitive."
"It was a little sad," Schachter said. "I love that program there at Laurier. It's too bad I couldn't go back there as an alumnus and teach and pass on the knowledge. Hopefully they can get the program going again."
Schachter's passion to continue volleyball was never in question though, as now four years later he represents Canada, along with Binstock, 34, playing on the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) World Tour.
The two men have developed quite the chemistry on the court, something that took time to develop, Schachter says, but is clearly evident each time they play.
"This is our third year playing together, so it definitely takes a little bit of time. Our first year was kind of rough, working out some of the kinks," he said. "But once you develop that chemistry, you don't lose it."
And regardless of their nine-year age difference, Schachter knew there was something special between the two of them.
"Once we got in a rhythm and had some success, it kind of snowballed and became easier. Josh is such an easy guy to play with."
While they are continuing to experience success at this year's games in the early going, Schachter couldn't help but notice the atmosphere at the Chevrolet Beach Volleyball Centre – a testament to how far he's come.
"This is awesome," he said. "First time ever in front of a home crowd this big. Even on the World Tour stadiums aren't this big."