Canadian National Team member Graham Vigrass has signed a 1-year contract to represent ONIOC Warsaw in the Polish PlusLiga next season. He’s one of 4 new additions for the team this off-season.
The 6’9″ (205cm) 28-year old middle blocker from Calgary has been a member of Canada’s Senior National Team since 2012, and was a crucial piece to their history-making bronze medal run at last year’s World League. He ranked 5th in the preliminary rounds of that tournament with .56 blocks/set, teaming with Daniel Jansen Van Doorn (.59 blocks/set) to make the only team with 2 players ranked in the top 5 of that tournament.
Warsaw’s coach Stephane Antiga is also the head coach of the Canadian men’s National Team.
Vigrass then had 12 blocks in the finals round, which was 2nd only to France’s Kevin Le Roux in that stage. He has 5 blocks in this year’s tournament so far.
Vigrass spent the last two seasons with German Bundesliga power Berlin Recycling Volley. He was 3 times named match MVP in that time, and ranked 2nd in the league in blocks with 23.
Warsaw finished 7th out of 16 teams in the PlusLiga main draw last season, missing the 6-team playoff and eventually losing the 7th-place classification matchup to Cuprum Lubin. The team did rank 2nd in the league with 2.56 blocks/set.
Other Warsaw additions this off-season:
- 19-year old Mateusz Janikowski signed a 2-year contract with the team, returning to the city where he was previously on the youth team of Warsaw University of Technology. The 6’7″ (200cm) outside hitter played on Poland’s U19 team at last year’s U19 European Championships.
- 23-year old 6’10” (208cm) outside hitter Piotr Lukasik, who hits at 355cm (140 in.) and blocks at 325cm (128 in.). After a serious early-career injury, Lukasik wound up in the senior team of AZS-Olsztyn. After 3 years away from the PlusLiga, he returned last season with Bielsko-Biala, where he scored 362 points in 28 games for a team that wound up being relegated at the end of the season.
- 26-year old Brazilian outside hitter Rafael Araujo, who stands 6’9″ (207cm) tall, who hits at 355cm (140 in.) and blocks at 330cm (130 in.). He was on the Brazilian team that won a silver medal at the 2015 Pan American Games and at the 2014 World League. He spent the last two seasons with PlusLiga rivals MKS Bedzin, where he scored 1055 points in 64 games (16.5/game).
Warsaw Losses this off-season:
- Jan Firlej spent 3 seasons with Warsaw, including in a role of starting setter when Pawel Zagumny was injured.
- 2017 U-21 World Champion Jedrzej Gruszczynski spent 2 seasons with Warsaw, playing as a libero last season.
- Wojciech Wlodarczyk, a 27-year old outside hitter spent last season with Warsaw for his second stint with the team. He played in 32 games and scored 373 points last season
- Macedonian outside hitter Nikola Gjorgiew spent 1 season with Warsaw, appearing in 30 matches and scoring 366 points. That includes a career-best of 25 points in a match against Zawiercie.
- Sebastian Warda spent 1 season in Warsaw as a middle blocker, appearing in 20 matches.