Noah Prickett was a great collegiate volleyball player. Suiting up for Cairn University during his playing days (known as Philadelphia Biblical University during his early years), Prickett was initially overshadowed by Justin Brubaker, and PBU had fallen out of the national picture during his junior and senior seasons. But that doesn’t diminish his ability on the floor or role within the team. Prickett was a chameleon on the court, in the best way possible. He could seamlessly blend into the match playing his role and producing without ever standing out in a good way or bad. An ideal “OH2” who was an elite passer and great attacker, Prickett would have been able to contribute to any Division III program during his time and was certainly underappreciated during his four year career. There are players like this every year all across the country, so today I will highlight my “team” of Noah Prickett All-Stars. The players who have flown under the radar, been under appreciated, and could seamlessly fit into any program around the country.
Arvind Kumar – Junior OH– Rutgers-Newark University
Kumar may seem like a strange pick for this team after his decorated freshman season in 2019. After collecting both the NJAC and CVC Freshman of the Year honors, Kumar was a bit quieter during the 2020 season. Although his total kill volume increased on a per set basis his efficiency dropped off a bit- Kumar was a big reason for the success of RNU last year. Overshadowed (and rightfully so) by new freshman phenoms Justin Tuhoy and Andrew Zaleck, Kumar provided stellar serve receive and defense for a team that ran crisp offense and specialized in keeping the ball off the floor. Plus, I am a sucker for a lefty on the outside.
Joe Zimmerman – Junior OH – SUNY Potsdam
Similar to Kumar, Zimmerman has spent his first two collegiate volleyball seasons out of the spotlight supporting the “star” players in his program. From his first two years at Wells, Zimmerman’s ball control (specifically in serve receive) had let players like Caden O’Loughlin, Robert Patzer, and Justin Williams shine- which helped them become household names. During those years, Zimmerman took care of business hitting over .200 on his limited attempts while allowing Wells to Express their offense (yes, I went there). As the closest player comparison with Noah Prickett, I’m hoping to see Potsdam release a schedule (and roster) for the 2021 season so Zimmerman can have the chance to be the focal point of this offense.
Lance Law – Junior RS – Nichols College
Maybe the deepest cut on this list, I’d be shocked if most people reading this have heard or are familiar with Lance Law. A next level athlete, Law is a dynamic attacker for Nichols College that they deploy in a multitude of ways. His numbers will never pop off the page (or screen for this matter).Both the incredibly high volume of the team’s offense he receives and below average setting situation limited his efficiency. If you were to place Law onto a different team in the northeast region (think Endicott), I think you would see his numbers pop and really standout.
Ivan Lopez – Junior MB – St. John Fisher College
An athlete from the most competitive team on this list (one could argue for RNU), you could argue that Lopez has been lost in the shuffle among teammates Josh Bigford, David Cerqua, and Paul Hackford as well as within the UVC middles such as Gavin van Beveren, Nick O’Malley, and Neil Ferraro. While Lopez game isn’t nearly as flashy as the others, he plays an integral role as one of the top blockers in the country averaging over a block per set in his career. What doesn’t show up as a apparently in the box score is how the Cardinal blocking scheme and Lopez are able to funnel defensively to Cerqua and become an efficient transition attacking team.
Connor Charlow – Senior MB – Ramapo College
Charlow was enjoying a breakout season in 2020, when everything halted. One could make an argument he was roadrunning (yes, I went there) away with the Skyline Player of the Year before the shutdown. A middle with exceptional size and length, Charlow managed to increase his offensive volume without losing efficiency, hitting just a hair under .400 while collecting 2+ kills per set. Charlow has a great variety of routes that he is comfortable on with the ability to hit multiple cuts and hard angles on each one. The relative weakness of his conference will prevent him from being able to truly showcase his ability against top end talent.
Alec Helford – Senior S – Hunter College
A perennially underrated student-athlete on the national scale year in and year out, I’m crushed that 2021 has robbed us of Helford’s final collegiate season. Many of the premiere setters in the country have a particular trait or feature that stands out. Matt Grace has excellent footwork, Grant Burden has butter hands, Jack McGuire has elite size, etc. I could go on for days. Helford is a jack-of-all-trades, a master of none. He runs a crisp efficient offense, where he elevates the play of all and makes the whole greater than the sum of its parts.
Zach Rothstein – Senior L – Fontbonne
The libero position is made for the Noah Prickett All-Stars. In my mind, a good libero should never be noticed. Good liberos move about the floor staying error free in receive and extending rallies with defense and coverage. The best liberos make it look effortless, the make the amazing plays look good and the good plays look routine. Rothstein may not look like your traditional good libero, but he makes up for it with his play and this Fontbonne team is at its best when he is at his best. After a slow start, Rothstein and Fontbonne were coming on strong in 2020 looking to make their 2nd straight NCAA tournament and are the heavy favorites to capture the MCVL title in 2021.
Ben Beaver – Junior Utility – PSU Altoona
Every team needs a utility player, and Ben Beaver is the most bizarre pick for our team. Beaver did a bit of everything for PSU Altoona and appeared in a number of positions- setting and hitting on both the left and right side. Beaver’s performances were also the most volatile, hitting negative in five different matches during 2020 but also three matches where he hit .400+ (including one where he hit .857). Beaver’s skill set and athleticism matches his versatility on the floor- I just can’t help to wonder if his play would rise to next level if they could lock him into a solid position.