Defending Champion Lancaster Bible Ranked No. 1 in 2019 NEAC Men's Volleyball Preseason Poll

Defending Champion Lancaster Bible Ranked No. 1 in 2019 NEAC Men's Volleyball Preseason Poll

GANSEVOORT, N.Y. – After a historic run last season, Lancaster Bible will begin the 2019 season as the top-ranked team in the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) men’s volleyball preseason poll.  

Lancaster Bible received five first-place votes and 25 total points after winning its first conference championship in 2018. The Chargers went 8-0 through conference play and finished the year at 24-5 overall. NEAC Coach of the Year Jade Brubaker returns for his sixth season with a team that lost just one starter from its championship squad. NEAC Player of the Year and AVCA All-American Nate Miller (Lititz, Pa.) is back for his senior year after posting a Division-III best 498 kills last season. Miller also led the NEAC in kills per set (5.53), service aces (55), points (579.0) and points per set (6.4). The Chargers also expect to get significant contributions from Kole Horst (New Holland, Pa.) and Kaleb Ansell (York, Pa.) after the pair earned All-Conference Second Team honors in 2018. Lancaster Bible will prepare for its title defense with matches against Carthage, Stevens and NYU as part of its toughest non-conference schedule to date.

Wells College ranks second in the preseason poll after receiving 18 points and the final first-place vote. The Express will take the court this year with four starters and three All-NEAC selections from the 2018 team that posted a 21-8 overall record. All-Conference honoree Caden O’Loughlin (Louisville, Ky.) returns for his junior year after ranking third in the NEAC in kills (323), service aces (40) and points (386.5) last season. Junior Josh Undari (Manor Park, N.Y.) is also coming off an All-Conference Third Team nod after ranking fourth with 842 assists in 2018. NEAC Rookie of the Year Robert Patzer (Syracuse, N.Y.) will be looking to build upon his successful debut season that included 229 kills, 138 digs, 47 assists, 46 total blocks and 26 service aces. First-year head coach Jim Nichols will lead the Express through a non-conference slate that includes matches with Springfield, Daemen and Rivier.

SUNY Poly also received 18 points to finish third in the preseason coaches’ rankings. The Wildcats will look to improve their 6-2 conference record with an experienced group that includes six returning starters from the 2018 roster. Seniors Max Szuba (Irondequoit, N.Y.) and Ryan Gloff (Brockport, N.Y.) should serve as impact players after earning NEAC All-Conference honors in 2018. Senior libero Brian Malsan (Slingerlands, N.Y.) also returns after finishing fourth in the league with 230 digs last year. Despite a veteran group, head Coach Katie LaClaire will need to fill the void of graduating setter Zach Goggin, who led the NEAC with 906 assists. The Wildcats will prepare for the conference schedule with non-league games against Stevens, Wentworth and Rivier. 

Keuka College enters the 2019 season ranked fourth after receiving 13 points. Wilson College sits in fifth place with 11 points while the College of Saint Elizabeth rounds out the poll in sixth place with five points.

The landscape of NEAC men’s volleyball continues to evolve as the 2019 season begins with six teams competing for the conference crown and an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Former associate members D’Youville College, Medaille College and Penn State Altoona have left the NEAC to compete in their primary conference, the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC), while Wilson College will begin its first season as an associate member of the NEAC in men’s volleyball.

The full 2019 men’s volleyball preseason rankings can be found below:

Rank Institution (First-Place Votes) Total Points
1. Lancaster Bible (5) 25
2. Wells College (1) * 18
3. SUNY Poly * 18
4. Keuka College 13
5. Wilson College 11
6. College of Saint Elizabeth 5

* Tie broken by higher ordinal number points

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 (five points for a first-place vote, four points for second, etc.). The 2019 NEAC men’s volleyball season will begin Jan. 18 with the full season schedule being available on the NEAC website

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The North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) has 12 NCAA Division III member institutions which include: Cazenovia College, College of Saint Elizabeth, Gallaudet University, Keuka College, Lancaster Bible College, Pennsylvania College of Technology, Pennsylvania State University – Abington, Pennsylvania State University – Berks, SUNY Cobleskill, Morrisville State, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, and Wells College. Associate members are: Cedar Crest College (W Swimming), D’Youville College (W Lacrosse), Hilbert College (M&W Lacrosse), Medaille College (M&W Lacrosse), Rutgers University – Camden (M Golf), and Wilson College (M Volleyball). The NEAC has partnered with the North Atlantic Conference in the sport of men’s tennis and with the Colonial State Athletic Conference in the sport of Field Hockey. For more information, please visit: www.neacsports.com.