Gator men's volleyball ready to open 2011 season!
Albany, NY---- The Sage Colleges men's volleyball team will open their 2011 season on January 19 hosting Southern Vermont College in the Kahl Center (Albany, NY). First serve is set for 7 p.m. as the Gators take to the courts for the second season as one of the many young varsity programs on the NCAA Division III men's volleyball scene. The Gators are led by second-year head coach Andy Smith.
In his first season, Smith directed the Gators to a spot in the 2010 Skyline Conference Tournament as the No. 4 seed. By year's end, the team went 5-20 and 3-8 in conference action, while producing two Skyline Conference Second Team All-Stars, and a number of statistical leaders both in the conference and in the nation. With a pair of letterwinners and starters back from last season's tournament team, the sky is the limit for the 2011 Gators as they will compete once again as a Skyline Conference and NECVA member with hopes of attaining a championship title and a shot at the 2011 Molten Cup championship.
Head Coach Smith said of the upcoming season, "After a successful first season Sage, the Gators will look to continue building on that success and make a push into the Skyline Conference playoffs." Smith added, "We are hopeful that we will be putting the Capital Region on the map in men's volleyball real soon!"
Among the top returnees Smith will look to this season is sophomore co-captain Kyle Ray (Horseheads, NY/Horseheads), a 2010 Skyline Conference Second Team honoree. Ray wrapped his first season as the team's leader with 272 kills and 279 digs. He finished his rookie campaign ranked seventh in Division III with his 3.4 digs per game average. He was a team co-captain for the program's first varsity team. He added 26 serving aces as well in his 82 sets played on the year and was a two-time Skyline Conference Rookie of the Week honoree for the Gators.
Smith feels Ray is the top returnee and will split time this season between setter and outside hitter.
Senior libero and defensive specialist Dustin Farrell (Port Kent, NY/AuSable Valley Central) also returns after a strong first season with the Gators. He tallied 155 digs and 16 service aces as a starter in 25 matches last year.
Among the newcomers making this team a stronger opponent will be the addition of junior middle hitter Spencer Hilland (Slingerlands, NY/Bethlehem Central). He comes to Sage from Hudson Valley Community College and has been playing USA club volleyball for the last four years. A year ago, Hilland's club squad finished 13th at the USA National Volleyball tournament.
Look for freshman outside hitter Ryan Wilkins (Ballston Lake, NY/Shenendehowa) and rookie libero Matt Bynon (Burnt Hills, NY/Burnt Hills) to make an impact for the Gators as well. The pair played club volleyball together and are looking to bring that same success to the Gator program. Wilkins is former two-sport athlete at Shenendehowa High School, where he led his team to a fourth place finish in the Suburban Council in both 2008 and 2009, while garnering a pair of scholar-athlete citations and was the program's most honored player in volleyball during his career
Bynon is no stranger to the sport as his father, Gary is the girls' volleyball coach at Burnt Hills High School. A two-time all-league honoree as a junior and senior, he helped the 2007 team to the state championship title as a sophomore and helped the team to a second and third place finish as a junior and senior.
Additional strength on the roster will come from the play of freshman setter Cory Gransbury (Round Top, NY/Cairo-Durham), as well as rookies Zachary Kuhn (Rensselaer, NY/Columbia), Connor Thompson (Delmar, NY/Christian Brothers Academy), and Joshua Kohrs (Ghent, NY/Chatham).
Gransbury was an all-star volleyball and soccer player at Cairo-Durham High and helped the volleyball to a regional championship title after a perfect 21-0 record. Voted the most improved player in volleyball, Kuhn arrives at Sage after a distinguished career at Columbia High School, where he earned scholar-athlete honors in both volleyball and basketball. A former team captain and team MVP at Chatham High School, Kohrs excelled in five sports and was a team captain and mvp in volleyball during his scholastic career. Thompson, who also plays as a member of Sage's men's soccer team, possesses great athletic ability and was a talented multiple sport star at nearby Christian Brothers Academy.
Douty looks to make the transition from the basketball court to the volleyball court this year. He was a member of the Sage men's basketball team last year and hopes to continue his success as a Sage student-athlete with the volleyball team.
Mosch comes to Sage from D'Youville College and was an outside hitter, who helped lead the team to an 18-14 record and a quarterfinal finish at the 2010 NECVA Championships.
Sage opens the 2011 schedule hosting Southern Vermont College on January 19. By season's end, the Gators will have hosted eight dual matches in the Kahl Center. The 2011 schedule will feature a home tri-match with Kean University and Elmira College on February 12 and a home quad-match with Skyline Conference opponents, the College of Mt. St. Vincent, Bard College, and Purchase College on February 19.
The home season wraps on March 1 with Sage hosting SUNY-IT in a non-conference match in conjunction with Senior Night.
The Gators will travel to SUNY-IT for a tournament on January 22-23 where they will face Lasell College, Stevenson, Hilbert and Bard on the courts. Additional tournament play for Sage will come on February 25-26 at the Bard College Invitational. Over the course of the season, Sage will face their Skyline Conference opponents twice with an eye on returning to the league's post-season tournament.
Additional non-league matches has the team facing Ramapo College and SUNY-IT at home, while road contests will test the team when they take on Endicott College, SUNY-IT, and Southern Vermont College.