Albany, NY---- The Sage Colleges men's volleyball team was recognized with a number of awards on Tuesday with the release of the 2011 Skyline Conference Men's Volleyball All-Star Team. The Sage Gators tallied a 14-12 overall record, while producing a 7-3 mark in conference play and appeared in the Skyline Conference Tournament semifinals for the second straight season.
Among the honors bestowed upon the 2011 Gators, Head Coach Andy Smith was named the 2011 Skyline Conference Men's Volleyball Coach of the Year, while rookie libero Matt Bynon (Burnt Hills, NY/Burnt Hills) was named the league's 2011 Rookie of the Year.
Sage placed two players on the First Team, junior middle hitter Spencer Hilland (Slingerlands, NY/Bethlehem Central) and rookie opposite Ryan Wilkins (Ballston Lake, NY/Shenendehowa), while sophomore setter Kyle Ray (Horseheads, NY/Horseheads) earned a spot on the Second Team.
Bynon leads the league and is among the national leaders in digs from his libero position with an average of 4.19 per game and ranks third on the team in assists with 22. Over the course of the season, he garnered Skyline Rookie of the Week honors on March 7 and NECVA Skyline Conference Rookie of the Week status the same week as well as an All-Tournament distinction at the Bard Invitational on February 25-26. He wraps 2011 with a team-best 373 digs, good enough for a 4.19 digs per set average. He added a .962 reception percentage on the season with 89 sets played in 26 matches. On the season, he has ranked first in three of the six weekly statistical releases thus far.
Smith led the second-year program to a 7-3 record in league play and the third overall seed at the Skyline Championship. The Gators finished the 2011 campaign with an overall mark of 14-12, which marked a nine-win improvement from a year ago. Now in his second season at Sage, Smith earned his bachelor's of science in physical education in 2006 and his master's degree in teaching (health education) in 2008 from SUNY Cortland.
Last week, Hilland ranked nationally in two categories, having checked in 11th in kills per set (3.91) and 18th in blocks per set (0.89). Named to the Skyline Conference Honor Roll last week, he finishes the season with a team-best 240 kills, good enough for a 3.69 per set average with a .255 attack percentage. He finished second on the team with 61 total blocks, while adding 102 digs and 14 serving aces. He led the Gators with his 296 points and 4.55 points per set average despite missing two weeks with an injury this season. He was named the Skyline Conference Player of the Week and the NECVA Skyline Conference Player of the Week twice, while also earning a spot on the Skyline Conference Honor Roll another week. He opened his Sage career with a selection to the 2011 SUNY-IT Wildcat Invitational All-Tournament Team in January.
Wilkins is another of the Gator First-Team honorees and last week ranked 30th nationally in hitting percentage with a .281 average. Overall, Wilkins racked up 170 kills with a .286 attack percentage, which led the Gators. He finished the season with 202.5 points, good enough for a 2.85 points per set average, which was second on the squad. He added 39 total blocks and 64 digs in 71 sets in 21 matches played. He earned three selections to the Skyline Conference Honor Roll this season.
Ray, who earned Second Team honors last season, becomes Sage's first male student-athlete to earn back to back all-star selections from the Skyline Conference. Ray is also among the conference and national leaders as led the way with 692 setting assists, good enough for an 8.05 setting assists per set average. Last week, he checked in 22nd nationally with an 8.70 per set average. He added a team-leading 20 serving aces with 29 kills, and 89 digs, having played in all 26 matches in 86 sets. Over the course of the 2011 campaign, he was honored with a selection to the 2011 Bard College Invitational All-Tournament Team and earned one selection to the Skyline Conference Honor Roll.