ATTLEBORO, Mass. – The New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) announced the results of its 2018 men’s volleyball preseason poll on Friday with Southern Vermont College being chosen by league coaches to finish fifth in the final standings.
The Mountaineers are looking to get back to the Conference postseason for the seventh time in the last eight years after making it into the playoff tournament in 2017 with a 3-9 mark against the league (6-22 overall).
Southern Vermont will be guided by first-year head coach Pat Robidoux who is excited to see what his team can do this season.
“These guys worked so hard during the first part of our preseason,” Robidoux said. “I was really excited to see the progress that we made, and I believe this group of guys has what it takes to make this year very special. This conference has many talented teams; so for us, we will just have to put the emphasis on the small technical details which will make us better throughout the year. Our struggles will be different from our opponents, so we just have to respond to that adversity as best as we can.”
SVC returns four players from last year’s squad while bringing in seven newcomers to the program. Among those returning are senior Elmer Olivares (Miami, Fla.) and sophomore Te Hayward (Baltimore, Md.).
Olivares was named the NECC Player of the Week once last season and led the team in kills with 187; that figured helped him rank seventh in the Conference with 2.46 kills per set. Olivares also tallied 134 digs and 11 total blocks during the year.
Hayward was Southern Vermont’s second-best offensive player in 2017 as he finished with 142 kills (1.58/set). He added 26 digs and 21 total blocks on the defensive end in his rookie season.
Robidoux believes that this season will be a great first step in building the team to be a perennial powerhouse in the Conference in the near future.
“This year, we have received a lot of attention for our men’s program, and the guys have welcomed our recruits with open arms,” he noted. “We have a family atmosphere here that we like to extend to our recruits so that they can see what we are building for the future of the program. Nothing will be more valuable to this 2018 team than this season, though, so all of our focus will be on getting this 2018 team stronger and more competitive throughout the year.”
SVC begins the regular season campaign on Tuesday, January 30 when the Mountaineers visit SUNY Polytechnic Institute for a 6 p.m. first serve. Southern Vermont will lineup with Mass. Institute of Technology—a team ranked 12th in the AVCA preseason coaches poll—during a February 3 tri-match at Emerson College before hosting The Sage Colleges at 7 p.m. on February 6 for the Mountaineers’ home opener.
Southern Vermont then starts NECC action on February 8 with a 7 p.m. home match against Elms College. SVC will hold Senior Day on Saturday, April 7 in conjunction with a home doubleheader against Lesley University.
2018 NECC Men’s Volleyball Preseason Poll
1. Endicott – 36 (6)
2. Elms – 31 (1)
3. Eastern Nazarene – 23
4. Newbury – 21
5. Southern Vermont – 15
6. Dean – 13
7. Lesley – 8
(Parentheses denote first-place votes)
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