KEEP AN EYE ON THESE GUYS

Ellis Walsh
Nazareth
Senior
MB

Key Notes:
• Had a Division III-best .455 hitting percentage in 2011
• Earned AVCA first-team All-American honors
• Set a school record with a perfect hitting percentage (12 kills in 12 attempts) vs. Elmira in Jan. 2011

Greg Falcone
Springfield
Junior
MB

Key Notes:
• Two-time second-team AVCA All-American selection in 2011
• Set a single-season program record in 2011 with a .524 hitting percentage
• Had 240 kills and 123 blocks for the Pride during his record-setting 2011 

Connor Wexter
Carthage
Sophomore
S

Key Notes:
• Was the AVCA "Newcomer Of The Year" in 2011
• Second in Division III in assists last season, averaging 11.88 per set
• Collected a season-high 63 assists in a five-match loss at Grand Canyon on Jan. 28, 2011

Connor Mortland
NYU
Sophomore
S

Key Notes:
• Named a second-team AVCA All-American selection in 2011
• Led the team in assists, assists per game and digs last season as a freshman
• Ranked 10th in Division III last season with 10.89 assists per set.

Ben Wolff
Juniata
Senior
MB

Key Notes:
• Led Juniata with 101 blocks in 2011
 • Recorded eight double-digit kill performances in 2011
• Logged a total of 17 matches with 10 or more kills last season
• Second team EIVA All-East selection

KEEP AN EYE ON THESE SQUADS

Nazareth Golden Flyers

Noting Nazareth: Nazareth defeated Carthage and Springfield in five and four sets respectively to win the final Molten Division III Invitational championship for 2011. It has three All-Americans returning from last year's team, including first-team selection Ellis Walsh, a senior middle blocker. Senior outside hitter Billy Gimello and junior setter EJ Wells-Spicer were second-team selections who also are returning. Head coach Cal Wickens was the 2011 AVCA Division III Coach of the Year and assistant coach Kyle Salisbury was honored by the AVCA as last season's Division III Assistant Coach of the Year.

Springfield Pride

Noting Springfield: The Pride will host the inaugural Division III National Championship. There's an excellent chance they'll also be participants. Springfield returns a pair of AVCA All-Americans, in first-team selection Nick Ferry and two-time second-team honoree Greg Falcone. A year ago, Ferry 262 digs, which was the third-highest single-season total in program history. Falcone was remarkably efficient on the offensive side of the ball, totaling 240 kills at a .524 clip, while racking up a team-best 123 blocks. Head coach Charlie Sullivan enters his 14th season leading the Pride.

Carthage Red Men

Noting Carthage: Carthage returns 14-of-16 letterwinners and all six starters from last year’s team. Leading the returnees are AVCA All-Americans Randy Hansen and Connor Wexter, along with all-conference players Tyler Frings, Matt Yanz and Mike Bynon. "We have a large group of five seniors,” says Marx., “and that class has been through a long learning process.  We have large and talented freshmen class again this year.  With the need to travel for in-region matches and playing four or five times over the course of a weekend, that depth is going to be very, very helpful.”.

TOP CONTESTS TO FOLLOW
vs.

Jan. 21 -- 1 p.m. ET: No. 5 Juniata Eagles vs. No. 13 SUNY New Paltz Hawks in Elmira Tournament

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Jan. 27 – 6 p.m. ET: No. 3 Carthage Red Men at No. 1 Nazareth Golden Flyers in Nazareth Tournament

vs.

Jan. 28 -- 1 p.m. ET: No. 5 Juniata Eagles vs. No. 9 MIT Engineers in Nazareth Tournament

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Feb. 8 – 7 p.m. ET: No. 9 MIT Engineers at No. 2 Springfield Pride

vs.

Feb. 12 – 10 a.m. ET: No. 4 NYU Violets vs No. 1 Nazareth Golden Flyers at UVC Crossover

vs.

Feb. 12 – 2 p.m. ET: No. 13 SUNY New Paltz Hawks vs. No. 1 Nazareth Golden Flyers at UVC Crossover

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Feb. 24 – 4 p.m. ET: No. 1 Nazareth Golden Flyers at No. 5 Juniata Eagles

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March 23 – 7 p.m. ET: No. 2 Springfield Pride at No. 5 Juniata Eagles

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March 24 – 12:30 p.m. ET:  No. 10 Baruch Bearcats at No. 2 Springfield Pride

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April 6 – TBA: No. 11 Medaille Mavericks at No. 9 MIT Engineers

All photos courtesy of respective school athletic departments.