GANSEVOORT, N.Y. – Three players from the Wells College men's volleyball team picked up North Eastern Athletic Conference All-Conference awards for their performance during the 2014 season, the conference office announced on Tuesday. Additionally, first year middle hitter Alex Battey (Palmdale, Calif.) was selected as the league's Rookie of the Year following a vote of the conference's Head Coaches.
Sophomores John Farruggia (Leonardsville, N.Y.) and Derek Nipps (Turnersville, N.J.) each were tabbed as First Team All-Conference players while senior libero C.J. Bayly (Waymart, Pa.) earned placement on the league's Second Team. Farruggia becomes the program's first two-time All-Conference team selection, having claimed Second Team merits as a freshman in 2013.
The Express wrap up their most successful season in team history, posting a 16-11 overall record in only their third season as a varsity program. Wells also posted a team record 10 game winning streak in 2014, picking up three league victories over Keuka, Cazenovia and Lancaster Bible during that stretch.
Battey, a freshman middle hitter for Wells, tallied 126 kills across 27 matches for the Express and was fourth in the conference with a .256 hitting percentage, committing only 47 errors in 309 total attacks. Against conference opponents, Battey's hitting percentage jumped to .338 as he hammered home 33 kills against only seven attacking errors in 77 total attempts through eight NEAC matches. His 15 solo blocks on the year were the second-most in the NEAC while his 40 total blocks were the ninth-most.
In 82 sets played, Farruggia posted a team-leading 211 kills and also hammered home 49 service aces to lead all Express players in 2014. His 2.57 kills per set ranked him fourth overall in the NEAC and his 147 digs placed him within the top 10 in the conference. The team's Express Award winner in 2013, Farruggia also posted strong numbers at the net front, throwing up 25 total blocks on defense.
Entering his junior season in 2015, Farruggia is the program's all-time leader in career kills (352), attack attempts (1,046), service aces (88) and service aces per set (0.53). He also holds the single match program record for hitting percentage, posting a .500 mark after recording 12 kills on 20 total attacks with only two errors committed against Cazenovia on Mar. 1, 2014.
Nipps, who serves as the primary setter for the Express, contributed both offensively and defensively as a sophomore only one year removed from winning his team's Rookie of the Year honors. Averaging 7.87 assists per set to rank third in the NEAC, Nipps also registered 218 digs in 93 sets to rank third in the league in digs per set (2.34). He was also one of only two setters in the conference to post a hitting percentage over .100 and averaged 2.21 digs per set amongst league opponents, ranking eighth overall in that category.
In his career, Nipps ranks first all-time in assists (1,084) and has logged 6.02 assists per set across 180 career sets played for the Express. Defensively, Nipps is ranked second with 364 digs defensively and averages just over two digs per game (2.02/set) across his tenure with the program, placing third all-time.
Bayly led all NEAC players in digs, posting 269 overall across 95 sets played for Wells. Turning in a NEAC-leading average 2.83 digs per set for the Express, Bayly transitioned from an offensive role to a defensive role for the Express as a senior. Prior to the last game of the season on Sunday against Lancaster Bible, Bayly averaged 2.79 digs per set to rank 17th nationally amongst NCAA Division III men's volleyball players. He also ranked within the top 100 in the nation in assists per set. Bayly, a member of the inaugural men's volleyball team at Wells in 2012, is the squad's first three-plus year graduate.
The all-time program record holder for sets (245) and matches (74) played, Bayly has racked up a team record 503 digs defensively in his career while also assisting the second-most kills in team history (634). His 51 service aces place him fourth all-time while his 2.05 digs per set is tops amongst qualifying players in the team's three year history. A two sport athlete during his career at Wells, Bayly also secured placement on the league's Second Team All-Conference men's soccer squad.