January 08 2016
The Elmira College men's volleyball team will open the 2016 campaign as the nation's 12th-ranked team according to the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Coaches Top 15 Preseason Poll. Elmira is one of five United Volleyball Conference (UVC) teams to crack the Top-15.
EC is coming off its second consecutive 20-win season (20-14) in 2015, which saw the Purple and Gold qualify for the UVC Tournament for a fourth consecutive year. Elmira picked up three wins against nationally-ranked opponents a year ago and climbed as high as 10th in the national rankings, before concluding the program's fifth season as the country's 11th-ranked team.
The Soaring Eagles return a plethora of talent this season but will have to do without the 2015 UVC Defensive Specialist/Libero of the Year, and AVCA Second Team All-American, Rob Shade '15. Thankfully, the Purple and Gold will see the return of its two most productive outside hitters in AVCA All-American Erik Griffin '16 and UVC Honorable Mention selection Mike Ellison '16.
Looking at the Top-15, Elmira will know exactly how they matchup with a handful of other nationally-ranked teams in the season's first two weeks of competition. The Soaring Eagles will face seventh-ranked Juniata College in EC's season-opening tournament on January 22nd, and will also take on 15th-ranked Mount St. Joseph University a day later. One week from their matchup with the Lions, Elmira will face 14th-ranked Stevenson University in Owings Mills, MD.
In total, Elmira faces eight of the Top-15 teams in the country at one point or another this season, including the second, third, and fourth-ranked teams that all come out of the UVC.