Fontbonne Picked First in 2020 Preseason Poll

Fontbonne Picked First in 2020 Preseason Poll

Cedar Rapids, Iowa ( For the first time in program history, the Fontbonne University Griffins have been tabbed first in the 2020 Midwest Collegiate Volleyball League's Preseason Poll, as voted on the by the MCVL's head coaches. The Griffins received all five first-place votes, garnering the maximum 25 voting points.

The Griffins, under 2019 MCVL Coach of the Year Ryan LeGrand, elevated their program onto the national scene last season. LeGrand, in his first season, guided the Griffins to a program-record 26 wins, an MCVL Tournament Championship and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament where they advanced to the National Quarterfinals, all of which are program firsts. The team also ended the 2019 campaign ranked 12th nationally, which is its highest ranking in program history. First Team All-MCVL selection setter Kyler van Rossum-O'Connell returns to facilitate the Fontbonne attack in his senior season.

Picked second, the Mount St. Joseph Lions earned 20 of a possible 25 points after finishing sixth in 2019. Former player Jake Neiheisel will lead the Lions program in 2020 and hopes to return The Mount to its top-10 standing in Division III that he enjoyed during his playing days. The Lions have finished top-four in the MCVL four times since joining the league in 2015.

MCVL newcomer Mount Union, led by second year head coach Matt Mihelic, earned 15 points, just edging out Adrian (14) for the third spot. The Purple Raiders return standout outside hitter Mark Bruns who posted 367 kills, an average of 3.63 per set, in his freshman season.

The Bulldogs of Adrian College, selected fourth, are no strangers to the MCVL as they embark on their fourth season in the league. However, a new face will be on the sidelines for Adrian as Casey Fitzpatrick will lead the Bulldogs in 2020. Adrian returns All-MCVL second-teamer Noah Marcinkowski at outside hitter and two-time MCVL Defensive Player of the Week libero Kevin Curley to anchor the backline. Curley's 373 digs were the most among all Division-III players in 2019.

Trine and Olivet rounded out the five and six spots with nine and seven points, respectively. Trine, in its second season as a program, enters the MCVL fold as the second newcomer, joining Mount Union. The Thunder took at least one set from Mount Union, Adrian and Olivet in their meetings in 2019. Head coach Brendan Ledwith brings back the dynamic duo of Eric Santiago-Garcia and Kyle Dixon on the outside.

Olivet announced the hiring of former player Luke DeWitt, making DeWitt the third first-year head coach in the MCVL in 2020. DeWitt brings with him playing experience and familiarity with the league along with a very athletic roster. The Comets took a set off both Mount Saint Joseph and Adrian in 2019 and defeated Trine 3-2 on the road.

The first MCVL-member action will take place on Jan. 10 as both Adrian and Olivet will participate in the Michigan Men's Volleyball Invite at Aquinas College.

MCVL league play begins on Feb. 18 as Adrian takes on Trine at home.




Fontbonne University

25 (5)

Mount St. Joseph University

20 (1)

University of Mount Union


Adrian College


Trine University


Olivet College