Carthage Picked as MCVL Favorite

Carthage Picked as MCVL Favorite
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa ( - Carthage was chosen as the league favorite for the 2018 season as voted on by the Midwest Collegiate Volleyball League coaches and announced on Monday, Dec. 11. Following a 21-3 mark and a run to the tournament semifinals, the Red Men finished the 2017 season ranked 11th in the AVCA Top 15 Poll.
Winners of each of the previous MCVL Regular Season Titles, Carthage returns 12 letter winners and four starters from a season ago and collected eight of the possible nine first place votes. Led by head coach L.J. Marx, the Red Men earned four All-MCVL selections a season ago and return setter Matt Reinsel, who led the league with 10.88 assists per set. Zach Lillig returns in the middle for Carthage after racking up 158 kills while hitting .427 with 70 blocks, including 13 solos. The Red Men are scheduled to open the 2018 season at home against Marymount on Friday, Jan. 12.
Last year's tournament finalists, Mount St. Joseph, was picked to finish second and received one first place vote. Under the direction of second-year head coach Cristina Webb, the Lions embark into a new era with the loss of Alex Vohland and Brett Cooper, All-MCVL picks last season. Mount St. Joseph returns nine letter winners led by Nathan Herdeman and Andrew Chisholm. Herdeman was fourth in the league last year at 10.41 assists per set while Chisolm was third in the league with 19 solo blocks and sixth with a .369 attack percentage. The Lions open their season on Friday, Jan. 19 against St. Joseph's in Union, N.J.
North Central enters at No. 3 in the MCVL Preseason Coaches Poll following a 17-10 record in 2017. Third-year head coach Kyle Exline leads the Cardinals who return 17 letter winners and their entire starting lineup. Brendan Crawford returns after hitting .428 overall and .439 in league play with 136 kills. The Cardinals had three players with at least 40 blocks in Anthony Kluzak (51), Crawford (42) and Jason Eslinger (42).  North Central begins its season on Friday, Jan. 19 at home against Aurora.
Rounding out the top-four in this year's preseason poll is Wittenberg. The Tigers finished last season at 14-18 and welcome a new leader to their program in Ryan Thompson, who is no stranger to the MCVL. Prior to landing his new role at Wittenberg, Thompson was an assistant coach at Carthage for the previous four seasons. The Tigers return plenty of firepower in 2018 with Dylan Kolovitz and Isiah Brock. Kolovitz finished fourth in the MCVL last year with 320 kills while Brock was first for solo blocks and second for total blocks. Wittenberg opens the 2018 season at home on Wednesday, Jan. 10 against Marymount.
In the rest of the preseason poll, Loras was tabbed to finish fifth, followed by Fontbonne (6th), Greenville (7th), Adrian (8th), Augustana (9th) and Olivet (10th).
With the departure of four teams to the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference, the MCVL returns to a single division for the 2018 season. League play begins the weekend of Feb. 16-17, 2018 as eight league matches are set to be contested over two days.
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2018 MCVL Preseason Poll
  1. Carthage (8)
  2. Mount St. Joseph (1)
  3. North Central
  4. Wittenberg
  5. Loras
  6. Fontbonne
  7. Greenville
  8. Adrian
  9. Augustana
  10. Olivet