Springfield Unanimous Choice in 2011 AVCA Division III Men's Coaches Preseason Poll
To view the complete poll, click here.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (January 13, 2011) - Coming off its sixth Molten Division III National Championship, Springfield College opens as the No. 1 team in the nation, after the AVCA Division III Men's Coaches Top 15 Preseason Poll was released by the AVCA headquarters on Thursday.
The Pride will return two All-American middle blockers in senior Cal Palumbo and sophomore Greg Falcone. Falcone finished first in the NCAA amongst all divisions with 1.66 blocks per game while also shattering several Springfield single-season records. The man at the helm and last year's AVCA Division III Men's National Coach of the Year, Charlie Sullivan, enters his 13th season as head coach of the Pride.
Juniata comes in as the second-ranked team after a 9-13 overall record a year ago, ending the season with a loss to George Mason, and did not qualify for the 2010 EIVA Tournament. After the season, head coach Jeremy Price stepped down to take the head coaching position at Grand Canyon University, and in came alumnus Kevin Moore as his replacement. They graduated three of the four players who made it on the 2010 EIVA Division III All-Star Squad, with 6-8 junior middle hitter Ben Wolff being the only one returning.
Nazareth is placed third in the poll after a great run a year ago that saw the Golden Flyers advance to the Molten Championship for the first time in six seasons. The run included victories in the in the North East Collegiate Volleyball Association with wins over second-seeded Baruch (ranked fifth nationally), seventh-seeded Ramapo (ranked 11th) sixth-seeded MIT (ranked seventh), and fourth seeded Philadelphia Biblical (ranked fourth).
UC Santa Cruz holds down the fourth spot after making it to the 2010 Molten Championship, where they were swept by No. 1 Springfield. They return AVCA First-Team All-American Austin Einhorn and AVCA Second-Team All-American Salvatore La Cavera. A year ago, Einhorn ranked among the top-25 nationally in both hitting percentage and blocks, while helping his squad hold steady in the top-three of the AVCA Division III Coaches Top 15 poll the entire season.
Rounding off the top-five of the poll is Rivier College. Last year, they fell in the third round of the NECVA Men's Volleyball Championship Tournament to Philadelphia Biblical. Senior outside hitter Jared Andreozzi comes back after earning First-Team All-GNAC honors. As a junior, Andreozzi eclipsed both the 1,000 kills in a career plateau as well as breaking the record for kills in a season, previously 451, set in 2006 by AVCA All-American Andy Chace.
Philadelphia Biblical, Baruch, MIT, Carthage, Stevens, MSOE, NYU, Endicott, Emmanuel, Medaille and Ramapo top off the inaugural 2011 AVCA Division III Men's Coaches Top 15 Poll.