NAPERVILLE, Ill.(MCVL.org) - The 2018 MCVL Tournament opens on Friday night from inside Merner Field House on the campus of North Central. This year's tournament features North Central, Carthage, Mount St. Joseph and Loras as the top-four teams. As the regular season champion with a perfect 9-0 record, North Central earned the right to host the semifinal and championship rounds.
PREVIEWING THE CARDINALS
Under the direction of head coach Kyle Exline, the Cardinals enter the MCVL Tournament for the first time in program history as the No. 1 seed following a 17-7 campaign and 9-0 league record. In this week's AVCA Poll, North Central is receiving votes even with a 2-5 record against ranked opponents. Both of the Cardinals' wins against ranked opponents came in league play, helping to seal the regular season title.
Nick Lilley leads North Central's offense with 193 kills, averaging 2.47 per set. Michael Trunzo directs the offense from the setter position with 9.12 assists per set, totaling 693 this season. As a team, the Cardinals are averaging 2.10 blocks per set with Brendan Crawford leading the way with 55 this season.
North Central opens the weekend against fourth-seeded Loras at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.
PREVIEWING THE RED MEN
League-favorite Carthage enters as the No. 2 seed with a 22-1 record and the lone loss coming to North Central. The Red Men are ranked No. 2 in the AVCA Poll and have been in the top-15 all season helped in part with their 5-0 record against ranked opponents.
At 3.55 kills per set, Evan Walsh leads the MCVL on offense totaling 252 kills. While in conference play, Walsh is hitting .314, which ranks just outside the top-10. Matt Reinsel's 10.97 assists per set leads the MCVL but nearly a full assist(.99).
Carthage opens the MCVL Tournament against third-seeded Mount St. Joseph at 5 p.m. on Friday. During the final weekend of the regular season, the Red Men defeated the Lions, 3-0.
PREVIEWING THE LIONS
Mount St. Joseph enters the weekend with a 17-7 record after finishing 7-2 in league play. The Lions rattled off nine-straight wins in the middle of the season, finishing the month of February 7-1. Mount St. Joseph is ranked 15th in this week's MCVL Poll.
Andrew Chisholm ranks third in the MCVL with an overall attack percentage of .377. In league matches, he ranks first while hitting .504. His 82 total blocks top the leaderboards while his blocks per set mark of .99 come in at third overall.
The Lions open the weekend against the No. 2 seed in Carthage, with first serve scheduled for 5 p.m.
PREVIEWING THE DUHAWKS
Like North Central, Loras is also making its first appearance in the MCVL Tournament on Friday, and so it fits that the two meet in the semifinal round. For the Duhawks, it came down to the final weekend, as they needed wins against both Fontbonne and Greenville to secure the No. 4 seed.
Dylan Ross anchors the Loras attack with a .238 attack percentage, averaging 2.70 kills per set. In league play, Ross led the MCVL with 118 kills, which included a season-high 21 against Fontbonne last weekend.
First serve for the Duhawks is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Friday from inside Merner Field House against North Central.
The 2018 MCVL Tournament begins on Friday, April 13 with the first semifinal between (2) Carthage and (3) Mount St. Joseph at 5 p.m. The second semifinal has a scheduled start time of 7:30 p.m. between (1) North Central and (4) Loras. On Saturday, April 14, the winners from each semifinal meet for a shot at the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament with the championship match scheduled to start at 2 p.m.