2007 Men's National Player of the Year Division III
Juniata College's Matt Werle Named AVCA Division III Men's National Player of the YearSM
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) is pleased to announce that Juniata College sophomore setter Matt Werle has been named the 2007 AVCA Division III Men's National Player of the YearSM.
The presentation was made at the Molten Division III Men's Invitational Volleyball ChampionshipSM Banquet in Huntingdon, Pa., on April 12. The banquet was held in conjunction with the Molten Division III Men's Invitational Volleyball ChampionshipSM, to be played April 13-14 at Memorial Gymnasium in the Kennedy Sports and Recreation Center on the campus of Juniata College.
Werle, a native of Meadville, Pa., leads NCAA Division III with 12.90 assists per game, while leading his team to an attack percentage of .292. His assists per game total is good for second in the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association, a conference comprised of 10 NCAA Division I-II teams and only three Division III squads. Werle has been solid all-around this season, leading Juniata with 26 aces, and second on the team with 143 digs and 77 total blocks. He tallied a career-high 71 assists in a five-game win over NYU earlier in the season, and has led his team to a .300 attack percentage or better in 10 matches this season.
"Matt has had a truly impressive season, and is absolutely deserving of this great honor," said Jeremy Price, Juniata head coach. "He's done a wonderful job directing our offense and has also shown the ability to contribute in all areas of the game. He plays with maturity and competitiveness that is rare for an underclassman, and on a team with a lot of very talented players, Matt has found a way to blend his abilities in with the team, and help raise the overall level of play. I think he's shown he's one of the top players in the country at any level."
Werle has led Juniata to a 14-8 overall record, including going 6-1 against Division III competition. The Eagles have won eight matches against Division I-II teams, highlighted by wins over George Mason and Saint Francis (Pa.), both ranked earlier this season in the CSTV/AVCA Division I-II Men's Top 15 Coaches PollSM. Juniata also took Penn State, ranked as high as sixth this season in Division I-II, to five games before falling 15-10 in the final frame. The Eagles, currently ranked second in the CSTV/AVCA Division III Men's Top 15 Coaches PollSM, held the top spot in the poll the first 11 weeks of the season. Juniata will face Springfield College in the first round of the Molten Division III Men's Invitational Volleyball ChampionshipSM Friday night, April 13.
Werle was one of four Eagle players named to the 2007 AVCA Division III First Team All-AmericaSM earlier this week. It was the second consecutive season he was named to an AVCA All-America Team, garnering Second Team honors in 2006.
In the four-year history of the AVCA Division III Men's National Player of the YearSM award, a Juniata player has now been honored three times. Werle joins Ricky Ziegler, who won the award in 2005, and Kenny Eiser, who won the award in its first year, 2004 as Eagle award recipients.
AVCA Division III Men's National Player of the YearSM
2007 Matt Werle, Juniata College
2006 Chris Schmidt, New York University
2005 Ricky Ziegler, Juniata College
2004 Kenny Eiser, Juniata College