The 2018 NCAA Men’s season is looming, with just a week until the start of the season, with a number of top players returning for the coming season.
Ohio State enters the season as the top-ranked team in the MIVA, having won the league and the NCAA National title in 2017. They are also returning one of the top players in the nation in Nicolas Szerszen while losing a number of their top competitors.
Nicolas Szerszen (Ohio State)
- 2017 Stats – 440 kills (3.73 kills per set) on a .389 hitting percentage, 0.64 aces per set, 1.65 digs per set
- His 0.64 aces per set led the nation while ranking 7th in hitting percentage
Ryan Coenan (Lewis)
- 2017 Stats: 342 kills (3.20 kills per set) on a .288 hitting percentage, 1.13 digs per set, 0.66 blocks per set
- AVCA Newcomer of the Year, MIVA Co-Freshman of the Year
Mitch Perinar (Lewis)
- 2017 Stats: 359 kills (3.18 kills per set) on a .301 hitting percentage, 1.02 digs per set, 0.73 blocks per set
Matt Szews (Ball State)
- 2017 Stats: 357 kills (3.37 kills per set), 1.60 digs per set, 0.62 blocks per set
Jeff Jendryk (Loyola-Chicago)
- 2017 Stats: 226 kills (2.15 kills per set) on a .431 hitting percentage, 1.16 blocks per set
- Fixture on U.S. Men’s National Team this summer
Ohio State could be at a hefty disadvantage this season as they are losing a quartet of players that were instrumental in their 2017 success – Miles Johnson, Driss Guessous, Christy Blough and Gabriel Domecus. Johnson was second on the team with 433 kills on the season while also being a strong server with 50 aces with Guessous as an offensive threat with 202 kills along with 96 blocks while. Blough was the team’s leading setter, dishing out an average of 10.41 assists per set while Domecus picked up a team-best 1.93 digs per set.
The Flyers will not see a strong middle blocker in Jacob Schmeigelt this season – he led the team with an average of 1.01 blocks per set.
Another loss in the league is Grand Canyon as a team, as they moved to the MPSF for the 2018 season after coming in second place in the MIVA in 2017. Their move comes as a huge shift in men’s volleyball conferences, as the Lopes are one of two teams that are joining the league while five have made the move to the Big West.
Ohio State is the two-time reigning national championship, defeating BYU in straight sets to claim the 2017 title. They are also the defending MIVA champions, where they took down Grand Canyon in the finals.
Lewis will have a slightly easier start to their 2018 season than most, as they will face off against a number of Division II opponents with some Big West and MPSF opponents sprinkled in early. On the other hand, Ball State is set to begin with a slew of strong opponents from the west coast.
Loyola had a jam-packed 2017 schedule that saw them lose to the top teams in the conference in every occasion during the season, ending with two losses against Ball State to end their season early.
At the Botton
McKendree is on the cusp of being in the top-four, just 13 votes behind Loyola-Chicago. They will look to improve upon their 11-19 season but did not make their opening schedule easy, as they open with tough west coast teams starting with Long Beach State followed by the Wooden Classic Tournament.
Lindenwood’s toughest opponents in the 2018 season will be against their own conference foes, not straying too far from the MIVA realm of play. This goes the same for Fort Wayne, as they are set to take on a number of Division II school’s to open up the season.
Finally, Quincy will look to turn things around this season with their new head coach, Gavin Mueller. Mueller was the graduate assistant last season and replaces Bob Crank who resigned following the 2017 season. The team finished 7-22 on the year and will seek out a turnaround in the 2018 season.
1. Ohio State 61 (6)
2. Lewis 54
3. Ball State 50 (2)
4. Loyola 43
5. McKendree 30
6. Lindenwood 22
7. Fort Wayne 20
8. Quincy 8
Preseason All-MIVA Team
Nicolas Szerszen, Ohio St. – Sr. – OH *
Maxime Hervoir, Ohio St. – Sr. – OH
Blake Leeson, Ohio St. – R-Jr. – MB
Jeff Jendryk, Loyola – Sr. – MB
Collin Mahan, Loyola – Jr. – OH
Matt Walsh, Ball St. – Sr. – MB
Matt Szews, Ball St. – So. – OH
Ryan Coenen, Lewis – R-So. – OH
Matt Yoshimoto, Lewis – Jr. – S
Mitch Perinar, Lewis – R-Jr. – OH
Michael Simmons, Lewis – R-Jr. – L
Brendan Schmidt, McKendree – R-Sr. – MB
* 2018 Preseason Player of the Year