Tuesday, January 16, 2018

2018 Wilkes Men's Volleyball Preview: Set for Second Season

WILKES-BARRE – The Wilkes University men's volleyball team is set to begin play in its second season with eight returning players and four newcomers to the program. The season will be highlighted by the inaugural season of Middle Atlantic Conference men's volleyball competition.
Head coach Joseph Czopek will once again lead the program after finishing last season with a 9-16 overall record. He expects captains Daniel Sales and Michael Henne to help provide team leadership both on and off the court during the season.

Sales, now a senior, led the Colonels from the setter position last season with 617 assists. He was also first on the team with 39 aces, third with 159 digs, and fifth with 108 kills. Henne, a senior middle hitter, registered 51 kills over 22 matches a season ago and was second on the team with 47 blocks. He also recorded 60 digs and 13 aces.

Senior defensive specialist Dylan Smith is the top returning Wilkes player as far as kills go. He recorded 121 kills last season and was second on the team with 200 digs. He also provided 19 blocks and 15 aces. Junior libero Kyle Price led the Colonels with 239 digs last season.

Sophomore setter Salvatore Purpura played in 36 sets and recorded 59 assists, 24 digs, and 10 aces. Junior Jones Mensah and sophomores Brian Vu and Daniel Tran also return for the Colonels.

Senior Brian Schumacher, sophomore Cole Hefner, and freshmen Joseph Gayton and Andrew Potter are the fresh faces to the program in 2018. "I expect the newcomers to fill gaps left open from players we lost from last season, and to push the returning players for starting roles," Czopek said.

The inaugural season of MAC men's volleyball features seven teams. The 12-game conference schedule will determine the four teams that will play in the semifinals of the MAC Championship on April 11 with the MAC Championship Final set for April 14. "The men are excited to be playing in a conference this season, over playing as an independent team as we did last spring," Czopek commented.

The Colonels begin their season on Wednesday when they travel to Lancaster Bible College to take on the Chargers at 7:00 p.m. in non-conference action. The first home match of the season is slated for Wednesday, January 24 in the Marts Center against Loras College at 7:00 p.m. MAC play begins on Saturday, February 3 when Wilkes travels to preseason conference favorite Stevenson University.

Wilkes has 29 total games slated on the 2018 schedule including four games in the Arcadia Tournament which will be held February 10-11. "The MAC will prove to be a competitive schedule even in its first year, as well as our non-conference matches that are scheduled against numerous established programs," Czopek added.

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