GANSEVOORT, N.Y. – The Wells College men's volleyball program was ranked fourth out of nine North Eastern Athletic Conference institutions in the league's first-ever men's volleyball Preseason Poll. The Express also received a single first-place vote – the Mavericks from Medaille College received the other eight top votes.
Led by fifth-year Head Coach Richard Gary, the Express enter the 2016 campaign only one season removed from making its first-ever NEAC postseason appearance. Wells also posted eight conference victories in 14 matches, setting a team record for league wins.
Wells ranked among the NCAA Division III statistical leaders as a team, posting 10.73 digs per set to rank 15th nationally among qualifying programs. Furthermore, the squad's 2.30 blocks per set placed the Express 16th in the nation at the net-front. In only the team's fourth year as a varsity program, the Express posted program records in total kills (1,124), kills per set (10.22), assists per set (9.65), digs (1,180) and reception percentage (.939).
The Express return one of its three All-Conference selections from last season. Sophomore Brannon Perdicho (Victor, N.Y.) appeared in 24 matches for Wells and posted team-leading marks of 237 kills and 3.00 kills/set, ranking him fifth overall in the NEAC in the latter statistic. The winner of two NEAC Student-Athlete of the Week awards, his 237 kills not only set a single-season program record for the Express, but also placed him 11th amongst all players in the conference.
Leadership will also be a key for the Express as a triumvirate of seniors that includes John Farruggia (New Hartford, N.Y.), J.J. Podczasy (Macungie, Pa.) and Derek Nipps (Turnersville, N.J.). Both Farruggia and Podczasy have combined to have played in 160 matches across their careers in a Wells uniform and rank among the program leaders in several offensive statistics. Nipps enters the year as the lone student-athlete in team history to boast more than 1,000 career assists (1,084).
Medaille, who earned 64 points and eight first-place votes, was selected to finish first in the conference with D'Youville and Keuka finishing in second and third place, respectively. D'Youville finished as the conference's runner-up last season, defeating the Express on three occasions, while Wells defeated Keuka in four sets twice.
The Express opens its season on Friday, Jan. 22 as it heads to the campus of the SUNY Polytechnic Institute for two matches, the first against Kean at 4 p.m. and the second against Sage at 6 p.m.
2016 NEAC Men's Volleyball Preseason Poll Full Results
|Rank||Institution (First-Place Votes)||Total Points|
|1||Medaille College (8)||64|
|4||Wells College (1)
|5||Penn State Altoona||37|
|6||SUNY Polytechnic Institute||32|
|8||Lancaster Bible College||16|
*Tie broken by higher ordinal number points