The Midwest Collegiate Volleyball League has undergone a face-lift the last few seasons. Benedictine University, Carthage College, Dominican University, Fontbonne University, Lakeland College, Loras College, Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE), and Mount St. Joseph University were the original founding members of the conference; all have since moved to new conferences except Fontbonne and Mount St. Joseph.
The vast majority of schools in the conference are young when compared to the D3 Landscape. Outside of Fontbonne, most of the programs within the MCVL have been around for fewer than 5 seasons.
I’m very high on Mount Union coming into 2021, as I have them taking a huge step forward as a program. Justin Sibbel (OH), Jeremy Leyden (S), and Steven Grenier (L) are strong foundational pieces all returning off of all-conference selections. The programs relative youth is their greatest strength, as they maintain all their core pieces and make the sophomore to junior year jump that normally correlates with a rise in performance.
They ended the season 11-3, and showed the promise one hopes to see in a young program. I don’t have much information on their incoming recruit class, but I have them firmly in the upper tier of the conference to start the season.
Adrian ended the season with the best player in the conference in Noah Marcinkowski and the Coach of the Year in Casey Fitzpatrick. I had them pegged as the favorites to win the MCVL last season, but I think they have an uphill battle coming into 2021.
Marcinkowski (OH), Curley (L) and Campana (S) all graduate (no word on if they are returning); that’s two 1st-team All-MCVL members and the programs starting setter. Ted Gula shows promise (his younger brother Branden also); but the program will need to replace the production of their seniors to remain atop the MCVL (incoming outside Chase Heurl is worth keeping an eye on).
Fontbonne will be two years removed from their best season in program history (2019). That year saw them post 20+ wins, defeat Carthage for the MCVL Championship, and enter the NCAA tournament. 2020 saw the program go 5-11 before the season ended, and I think they under performed based off their skill level. Had they finished conference play I believe it would have come down to a game between them and Adrian in the MCVL championship.
Like Adrian, they enter 2021 with some lineup questions. They lose two 1st-Team MCVL selections Zac Rothstein (L) and their setter Kyler van Rossum-O’Connell. Cameron Graves and Nate Paasch are good pieces and Woolsey is most likely the best Middle in the Conference; if they can replace Rothstein and Rossum-O’Connell they’ll be in a good spot.
Mount St. Joseph
Mount St. Joseph should be able to leap forward in the conference this year. The relative weaknesses Fontbonne and Adrian give them an opening as they return all of their line-up from 2021. I can only confirm one incoming recruit (Logan Essen from Cincinatti) but Jack Spohn and Jason Hascher should be able to carry the program through the relatively weak conference.
Trine / Olivet
These were the bottom two teams from 2020 in the MCVL. Olivet is still struggling to take the next step as a program, but Trine I think might surprise some people in 2021. They sadly lose their best player Parker Beale, who is said not to be returning to the program.
New Programs: Baldwin Wallace and Wabash College
The MCVL will be expanding in 2021, as Baldwin Wallace and Wabash College will be joining for their inaugural seasons. I do not have much information regarding Wabash’s incoming class, but from what I’ve seen from Baldwin Wallace has me very excited. The MCVL should keep their eyes on the Yellow Jackets as I think they will make some noise under Head Coach Kyle Mars (formerly of Hiram).
Article was corrected to report Parker Beale would not be returning to Trine next season. (7/21/2020)
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