Men's Volleyball Earns AVCA Preseason Ranking

Men's Volleyball Earns AVCA Preseason Ranking

BOSTON, Mass. – Coming off the finest season in program history, the Wentworth Institute of Technology men's volleyball team has been ranked in the 2017 AVCA Division III Men's Preseason Poll. The Leopards, who finished the 2016 campaign ranked 11th, collected 114 points to be slotted at ninth. Springfield, a national finalist from a season ago, took 12 of 17 first-place votes to earn the top spot with 248 points, followed by 2016 NCAA Division III national champion New Paltz, which earned the other five first-place votes and 229 total points.

The 2016 season saw the Leopards finish – for the second consecutive season – with a 23-9 record and featured many firsts. Wentworth captured its first-ever Great Northeast Athletic Conference Championship with a pair of come-from-behind victories over Emmanuel and Rivier, which gave the Leopards their first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Hosting an NCAA Tournament event for the first time in the school's history, the Black & Gold swept Hunter, 3-0, in the opening round before falling to New Paltz, 3-1, in the national quarterfinals.

Wentworth returns nine letterwinners from a season ago, including five student-athletes who were named to the All-GNAC team in 2016. Leading the way is senior Alex Potts (Niverville, N.Y.), a Second Team All-American from a season ago and a pre-season All-American by Off the Block, who, along with classmate Jake Reed (Arvada, Colo.) were named First Team All-GNAC. Potts also led all of Division III in hitting percentage as a junior.

Senior Mike Rogochefsky (Rochester, N.Y.) as well as juniors Jon Roat (Macedon, N.Y.) and Sean Mullen (Longwood, Fla.) return to the Leopards after earning Second Team All-GNAC honors last season. Junior Collin Ritter (Feeding Hills, Mass.) also returns for the Black & Gold after missing last season. Ritter was a Second Team All-GNAC selection during the 2015 season.

In addition to the 14-match GNAC schedule, which features a pair of matches against 15th-ranked Rivier (Feb. 9 and Mar. 28), Wentworth's out-of-conference schedule features seven matches against six other schools ranked in the preseason poll. The Leopards face No. 1 Springfield on Feb. 14 and Mar. 4, No. 3 Stevens on Feb. 4, No. 6 UC Santa Cruz on Mar. 11, No. 7 Nazareth on Jan. 21, No. 8 Vassar on Jan. 21, and NYU on Apr. 8. Additionally, the Black & Gold will have two matches apiece against Endicott (Jan. 25 and Feb. 4) and MIT (Jan. 31 and Mar. 14). Both of these schools were among those receiving votes in the preseason poll.

Wentworth opens the 2017 campaign on Jan. 20-21 at the SUNY Polytechnic Wildcat Invitational.