For the 2020 season, the Utah Stingers boast a deep roster filled with strong determination, veteran experience, and professional talent. The Stingers are reaping the benefits of the long-lasting excellence of local BYU players but will also have international all-stars, solidifying Utah as a potential volleyball powerhouse in the NVA. The Stingers promise their fans the season will be one to remember as they get to see their favorite players fighting for the championship.

On the outside, they have an all-BYU Alumni cast with the most recent star Storm Fa'agata-Tufuga, the Provo Utah native Philip Fuchs, AVCA first-team player Andrew Stewart, and local talent Kalen Stewart. To top it all off, they have the Cuban ‘big man’ Yosleyder Cala who has had an impressive 16-year professional career after a stellar college career with the Cougars..

For the opposites, they have the Canadian Carson Heninger and Cory Metcalf from Utah Valley University. Rounding out the rightsides is Jorge Mencia from Cuba, who also has a healthy 12-year resume playing overseas.

The Middles are a strong group led by the 2012 Olympian and two-time world champion Russell Holmes, GCU Alumni Alex Shmelev, and two time all-American Russ Lavaja.

Their Setters run deep with 2013 MPSF Conference Champion Ryan Boyce, BYU alumni  Hamilton Day and Tyler Heap, and 2018 All-American and MPSF All-Academic Leo Durkin.

Finally, in the libero position, the Stingers have the always energetic Kai Dugquem from Ohio State University and Arizona Native Chandler Baugh.

Russell Holmes, COO of the NVA has an unbelievably impressive volleyball resume, and we were lucky enough to sit down with him. His accomplishments include; being a member of the USA National who competed in the 2012 Olympics, a champion of the 2014 FIVB World League and the 2015 FIVB World Cup, was named the Club World Championship's best blocker of 2011/12, and best middle blocker of the Champions League 2015/16. Now the lead player and Team Representative of the Utah Stingers, Russell took some time to share some more about his extraordinary life and career.

Q: When/where did you start playing volleyball? Did you play other sports or have other hobbies?

Russell: “I started playing volleyball when I was 17 years old as a junior at Fountain Valley Highschool. Before that, I played and tried all other sports but was primarily playing varsity soccer. I had some excellent friends convince me to come to try out for the high school volleyball team, and my love for the sport blossomed from there. Other hobbies I had at the time were photography, skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing, and music. These are all still things that I love to do when I'm not playing volleyball.”

Q: What was your college experience like?

“I ended up playing for BYU (Brigham Young University) during my college career. I majored in Sociology with a minor in Communications. I had a very positive experience while playing and studying at BYU. We won the NCAA National Championship in 2004. I enjoyed the friends I made and the people that influenced me along my journey there. During the summers, I'd work as a volleyball coach coaching camps for youth around the nation with Gold Medal Squared.”

Q: What were your experiences playing overseas?

“I've played and lived in 6 different countries during my 10-year professional career: Puerto Rico, Austria, Brazil, Poland, Turkey, and France. I've enjoyed living and competing in these places and have grown to love each one's unique atmosphere. I have been super lucky to have had positive experiences in all the areas I've competed in. The things that I have enjoyed most is learning about the different cultures and making friends that I know will last a lifetime.

Q: What have you been up to during quarantine?

“During quarantine, life hasn't changed much. I work full time as a project manager for a restoration company, which has remained an essential business throughout this journey. So my day to day routine has remained very much the same. I've not only been busy with that but also with playing my part to assist the NVA to continually grow and impact our sport within our country. Overall, I have remained optimistic and know these circumstances won't last forever. The challenges that I have been faced with through this have only taught me amazing valuable lessons that have contributed to some significant and personal growth. For that, I am grateful for this unique time that we live in.”

Originating from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Carson Heninger brings the Utah Stingers a lifetime of experience, playing volleyball since he was a young child. As long as he could remember, Carson was around the sport with his father being a local volleyball coach. As a little kid, Carson would attend his father’s practices, spending a lot of time there playing pepper with his brother or developing his serve on open courts. Carson played basketball and baseball, in addition to volleyball, while he attended Magrath High School. He also has proved to be a dedicated athlete competing in triathlons in his spare time.

While playing for his father's high school team, Carson was named a Second-team All-Star his sophomore year and a First-team All-Star in both his junior and senior year. Additionally, Carson took a Fourth-place national finish with his club team Canuck Stuff Volleyball Club.

Before transferring to BYU, Carson played at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Canada, in 2010, where he received an all-conference second team nomination. While there, he also spent a few years completing his mission call to serve others in Baguio, Philippines. From Mount Royal, Carson transferred to BYU and played there from 2012-2016, where he played alongside current USA National Team players Taylor Sander, Ben Patch, and Jake Langlois.

Getting his bachelor's degree in exercise science at BYU, Carson has since switched career paths and has a successful career as a restructuring and insolvency attorney. Since quarantine, Carson has kept in shape playing golf in the mornings as he continues working from home, which has allowed him to spend extra time at home with his wife and two kids.

Stay tuned this season to see Carson in action! Check out the following links to read more about his previous clubs and teams.

0 0 0 0% 0% 0%

LAST MATCH Nov 08, 2020




20-25 | 25-21 | 19-25 | 18-25 |

#0 Libero
#3 Setter
#1 Outside Hitter
#16 Outside Hitter
#22 Setter
#7 Libero
#4 Setter
#8 Outside Hitter
#6 Outside Hitter
#10 Setter
#11 Opposite
#12 Middle Blocker
#18 Outside Hitter
#2 Outside Hitter
#5 Middle Blocker
#9 Opposite
#13 Opposite
#24 Middle Blocker
#14 Outside Hitter
General Manager