Penn State Altoona Ranked No. 1 in 2018 NEAC Men's Volleyball Preseason Poll

Penn State Altoona Ranked No. 1 in 2018 NEAC Men's Volleyball Preseason Poll

GANSEVOORT, N.Y. – Coming off its best season in program history, Penn State Altoona enters the 2018 season ranked No. 1 in the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) men’s volleyball preseason poll.  

Penn State Altoona received six first-place votes and a total of 62 points as the defending conference champions. In 2017, the Lions went 15-1 against league opponents and posted a 26-7 overall record en route to their first NEAC title. This year’s team will be led by senior middle hitters Justin Bannister (Willow Hill, Pa.) and Dan Downs (Reading, Pa.) who combined for 338 kills and 151 blocks last season. Brandon Arentz (Mount Wolf, Pa.) returns for his sophomore season after contributing 229 kills, 233 digs and 66 blocks in 2017 while sophomore setter Tommy Kisick (Latrobe, Pa.) will be relied upon to run a high-powered, fast offense. Despite returning four starters from the championship squad, sixth-year head coach Phil Peterman will be looking to fill the voids left by NEAC Player of the Year Bradley Colditz (Upper St. Clair, Pa.) and NEAC Defensive Player of the Year Wally Rivera-Berrios (Toa Alta, Puerto Rico), who both transferred to Penn State for their junior year.

With 55 points and three first-place votes, Lancaster Bible ranks second in the preseason poll. Head Coach Jade Brubaker returns five starters from the 2017 team that went 12-4 in NEAC play. NEAC Rookie of the Year Kaleb Ansell (York, Pa.) returns as the Chargers’ setter after recording 962 assists last season. Senior outside hitter Kasey Gentry (Hershey, Pa.) will be another key returner for Lancaster Bible after posting 328 kills, 28 assists, 39 service aces, 238 digs and 64 total blocks to earn NEAC All-Conference First Team honors in 2017. The Chargers will not be shying away from any challenge in 2018 with five nationally-ranked opponents on the schedule, including the season opener against No. 3 SUNY New Paltz.

Wells College comes in third in the preseason rankings with 48 points after advancing to the NEAC Championship match last April. In his second season as head coach, Mark Lucas returns his entire starting unit with the intent to make another deep run in 2018. The group of Express returners includes a trio of NEAC All-Conference selections in Brannon Perdicho (Victor, N.Y.), Caden O’Loughlin (Louisville, Ky.) and Ryan Turner (Liverpool, N.Y.). Perdicho was a first-team selection after contributing 403 kills and 253 digs in 2017. O’Loughlin recorded 349 kills and 232 digs last season while Turner added 143 kills and 77 total blocks. Outside of conference play, the Express will also match up with nationally-ranked opponents Vassar and Wentworth in 2018.

Medaille College rounds out the top four teams, receiving 43 points in the coaches’ poll. Head Coach Keith Koch and the Mavericks will rely heavily on a talented sophomore class to make some noise in 2018. Junior Matt Dempsey (Clarence, N.Y.) and senior Sam Bloomberg (Lake Worth, Fla.) return to the court after garnering All-NEAC accolades last season. Steve Ebert (Center Moriches, N.Y.) and Dan Joseph (El Dorado, Calif.) will also serve as key players for the Mavericks as the season gets underway. Medaille’s non-conference slate includes matches against Nazareth, UC Santa Cruz and Marymount.

The landscape of NEAC men’s volleyball looks slightly different in 2018 as the College of Saint Elizabeth will begin its first season while associate member Hilbert College suspended their men’s volleyball program.

The full 2018 men’s volleyball preseason rankings can be found below:

Rank Institution (First-Place Votes) Total Points
1. Penn State Altoona (6) 62
2. Lancaster Bible (3) 55
3. Wells College 48
4. Medaille College 43
5. SUNY Poly 39
6. Keuka College 32
7. D'Youville College 19
8. Wilson College 18
9. College of Saint Elizabeth 8

The preseason poll rankings were conducted by the NEAC men’s volleyball coaches, with each coach ranking all teams but their own using a staggered points system (eight points for a first-place vote, seven points for second, etc.). The 2018 NEAC men’s volleyball season will begin Jan. 16 with a full season schedule being available on the NEAC website.  


The North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) has fourteen NCAA Division III member institutions which include: Bryn Athyn College, Cazenovia College, College of St. Elizabeth, Gallaudet University, Keuka College, Lancaster Bible College, Pennsylvania College of Technology, Pennsylvania State University – Abington, Pennsylvania State University – Berks, SUNY Cobleskill, SUNY Morrisville State College, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, Wells College, and Wilson College.  Associate members are: Cedar Crest College (W Swimming), D’Youville College (M Volleyball), Hilbert College (M&W Lacrosse), Medaille College (M&W Lacrosse, M Volleyball), Pennsylvania State University – Altoona (M Volleyball), and Rutgers University – Camden (M Golf). The NEAC has partnered with the North Atlantic Conference in the sports of field hockey and men’s tennis. For more information, please visit: