EMU's volleyball men have been picked No. 5 in the Continental Volleyball Conference (CVC) Coaches Preseason Poll, which was released today.
The Royals earned 28 points in the poll, coming just one point behind Rutgers-Newark, a team which has advanced to the NCAA National Tournament each of the last two seasons. Eastern Mennonite finished 12-12 overall last spring, including 5-7 in the CVC, taking fifth in the league standings and narrowly missing a spot in the postseason tourney.
EMU returns their entire starting lineup and 10 players overall from that team, giving them the quality and experience for new heights in the CVC. The Royals have yet to make the four-team CVC Tournament in the five years of the challenging league's existence.
Outside hitter Scott Brigham (Montpelier, Va./Patrick Henry) expects to lead the men's attack again this year after finishing 26th in the nation with 3.43 kills per set. He is the lone senior on EMU's roster. Sophomore Travis Abele (Mechanicsville, Va./Lee-Davis) and junior Tim Callahan (Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin) each averaged more than two kills per set while hitting .222 or better. Junior middle Dan Lutz (Greencastle, Pa./Greencastle-Antrim) averaged 1.48 kills and 0.93 blocks. Setter Christian Taylor (Richmond, Va./Deep Run) is also back after standing 13th in the nation with 10.01 assists per set as a freshman.
Eastern Mennonite will be adjusting to a new coach, with interim Ross Madden taking over the reins at the beginning of this month.
Defending champion and national semifinalist Stevenson University was tabbed as the preseason favorite, getting all but one of the possible first-place votes. (Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own teams.) Marymount came in second, while traditional powers Juniata and Rutgers-Newark slid back to third and fourth, respectively.
2017 CVC Coaches Preseason Poll
1. Stevenson, 47 points (6 first place)
2. Marymount, 40 points (1 first place)
3. Juniata, 38 points
4. Rutgers-Newark, 29 points (1 first place)
5. Eastern Mennonite, 28 points
6. Cairn, 18 points
7. Alvernia, 11 points
8. Thiel, 10 points
The Royals open their 2017 season this weekend, hosting D-II Emmanuel College and D-III Southern Virginia in a doubleheader on Saturday. The first match starts at 10:00am.