So, what happens when three D3VB nerds start talking about D3VB without any structure in a group chat, well… A DRAFT HAPPENS! The contributors and I got into a discussion of concepts, and it led to the first ever FrogJump Fantasy Draft. Below you will find the draft rules, pick order, and final teams. At the end make sure you vote on which team you think is the best, the winner gets the only thing that matters… bragging rights.
Objective: Draft the Best Team Possible
- Each team will have 12 players.
- 3 Outside Hitters
- 3 Middle Blockers
- 2 Setters
- 2 Opposites
- 1 Libero
- 1 Flex
- A player may be drafted into any position they have previously played during their career.
- ex. Player A played Outside Freshmen year but moved to Opposite Sophomore year
- Only players listed on a 2021 Roster are eligible for selection
- After all picks are selected, each team has 1 waiver wire transaction
- Waiver wire order is the inverse order of the first round
- Each contributor must write a section on their team, strategies, or line-up.
Draft Order / Selection
|10||Harvey||Gavin Van Beveren|
Waiver Wire Transactions
Ramius: Dropped Ivan Lopez / Added Jeremy Cardenas
|OH||Matt Slivinski||Brennen Brandow||Mason Nissley|
|OH||Jared Ray||Josh Bigford||Nahuel Recabarren|
|OH||Bryn Lipton||Logan Smiley||Andrew Kim|
|MB||Nick O’Malley||Chris Parker||Kevin Duffy|
|MB||Nate Reynolds||Ryan Duchemin||Gavin Van Beveren|
|MB||Jeremy Cardenas||Gabe Felicetti||Zach Bulthius|
|OP||Aaron Carrk||Jarrett Anderson||Andrew Zaleck|
|OP||Jacob Grygo||George Kougan||Jake Milnazik|
|S||Matt Knab||Matt Grace||Justin Tuohy|
|S||Mike Legros||Gene McNulty||Jack McGuire|
|L||Bregin Demarco||Rob Nolan||David Cerqua|
|Flex||Thomas Kovanic||Owen Wickens||Ian Capp|
Harvey Pepperjacks (Mostly) Blonde Bombers (Harvey)
No other team is even close to the versatility of my Blonde Bombers. I plan on running a 6-2 with Capp hitting in the front row.
Here is what my lineup will look like.
|Andrew Zaleck||Kevin Duffy||Nahuel Recabarren|
|Mason Nissley||Gavin Van Beveren||Ian Capp|
|Ian Capp||Gavin Van Beveren||Mason Nissley|
|Nahuel Recabarren||Kevin Duffy||Justin Tuohy|
Some potential changes. If Recabarren struggles to receive, I have both Andrew Kim and Jake Milnazik. Milnazik also will serve as my backup libero for Cerqua. If Tuohy struggles to connect with middles, we always have McGuire on the bench. After using two high picks on my middles, Bulthius is a reserve in every sense of the word. But that doesn’t mean he’s not a useful one.
With Capp on the roster, we have so many options- if some of the other teams serve as big as they are attempting to, I can always use him as my 2nd outside to solidify serve receive and use a 5-2 offensive system with Tuohy in the back and McGuire up front.
From the service line, we have 5 I am very confident in with a potentially serving sub for Duffy if he fails to find consistency.
No Tip, Natty Chip (Bradley)
Team Bradley is featured with incredible All-American and National Championship talent. Grace, Brandow, Nolan and Parker have all gone the distance, each having played deep into the NCAA Tournament. Despite the current animosity between players on this squad, it is with no doubt that Coach Bradley would glue the team together to take down Ramius and Harvey (let’s be honest, straight sets too).
It goes without saying that the quarterback and captain of this team is Matt Grace, 3x All-UVC, 1x UVC Co-Player of the Year, 2x AVCA All-American and most importantly, a natural leader. With powerhouses on the pins in Brennen Brandow (AVCA Newcomer of the Year, 2x AVCA All-American, AVCA Northeast Player of the Year), Josh Bigford (AVCA North Region Player of the Year, UVC Rookie of the Year, 2x All-UVC, 1x UVC Co-Player of the Year) and Jarrett Anderson (AVCA Newcomer of the Year, 1x AVCA All-American), we will not be lacking in offense. Robert Nolan(1x All-UVC) is the best serve receiver in the country, with him leading the back court we’ll never be out of system off the serve.
Rounding out the starting lineup at the MB position includes Chris Parker (1x AVCA All-American) and Ryan Duchemin (2x All-UVC Honorable Mention). The bench talent in OH Logan Smiley (1x All-Mac, 1x AVCA All-American), MB Gabe Felicetti (1x All-NECC, 1x AVCA All-American), OPP George Kougan (1x All-NACC, 1x AVCA All-American), S Gene McNulty (2x CCIW Freshman of the Week) and “flex” Owen Wickens (2x UVC Freshman of the Week) are so talented they alone would crush Harvey and Ramius. We serve tough, run a fast tempo offense, and will absolutely never tip. As Radu Petrus would say, “make show”.
Jungle Rules (Ramius)
Harvey is intrinsically a creative and inquisitive volleyball mind, and Bradley a former champion. I was not surprised to see their selections as the draft unfolded. Their picks were as much genuine representations of themselves and their training as much as good drafting strategy (I will try to ignore a Libero at 11 Bradley). Likewise, my team was very also very much a representation of my own volleyball philosophy, training, and journey.
A wise man once told me volleyball “is an adult version of keep the balloon off the ground RAMIUS”. I will never forget those words, or the Bacardi Dragonberry Rum I was drinking when he said them too me (seriously, delicious Rum). It is a simple concept to understand, and simplicity is itself my team’s greatest strength. I am not trying to be creative; I am not trying to outsmart teams; I am not trying to reinvent the wheel. I am just trying to put the strongest collection of athletes on the court who will break the balloon on my opponent’s side. Simplicity is an amazing strength, and all I could ever want out of any team I coach is the simple strength to assert dominance over our opponents.
I wanted powerful players for my team. I wanted guys who could serve hard from the line, swing hard every point, and could take over games when given the chance. I guarantee I’ve watched more men’s D3VB than any human alive this season, and all of these players have caught my eye this year. Each hitter rips, each hitter plays hard, each hitter is powerful.
Most important, I believe each one of these hitters can be used mercilessly in any game when they are the hot hand. This is intrinsically necessary, because in volleyball the best hitter needs to be given the greatest number of balls. This is a beyond simple concept which does not get utilized enough at many levels of play. I once coached a game where our opponents could not block one of our middles on a slide. Of this middle’s 35 attempts, 27 of them came on a slide, she hit .515 for the match and we crushed them. I could care less about a balanced offense; I care about the ball hitting the floor. The hitter may change every game based on matchups, but the concept stays the same.
This led me to my setter choices (I would have said I had insane draft value here, but Harvey wheeled McGuire all the way to the end). I am particularly pleased with my setter corps, a) because they are both relatively unknown to the D3 landscape b) they do not deserve to be c) they rip balls from the line and d) they each know how to use a hitter without mercy. I need guys who can do that, especially on this team. Because on this team, it is jungle rules. Where the strong survive.
The Guys we foolishly did not choose
While the above may have been the 36 players chosen, that does not make them the 36 best players available. In fact, each one of us looked through the list and saw people left off our rosters that would easily have played at or above the level of guys on our team. Here are some of the guys we were too stupid not to take (I limited each of us to 3 selections or we would have been here all day).
- Ryan Lively: One of the newer additions to the Fontbonne Griffins, Lively has been tearing it up in the MCVL since his transfer from Purdue – Fort Wayne. He’s an easy candidate for first-team MCVL and very likely headed to an All-Region/All-American selection this year.
- Sam Candland: An Opposite out of Southern Virginia, Candland is starting to come into his own as he becomes one of the premier hitters at the position in the CVC.
- Liam York: An honorable mention All-American candidate last year, Liam York holds down the OH2 pin for the Springfield Pride as they continue their quest for another national championship.
- Ivan Lopez: One of Harvey’s Noah Prickett All-Stars, the Elmira Middle almost made it onto my team until I went with Cardenas. I was thoroughly impressed with his performance against Daemen, and his ability to provide big moments was very tempting to pick.
- Robert Mahoney: I doubt many people are aware of this, but this Middle blocker from Loras is currently 2nd in the nation in blocks/set (1.39), 7th in hitting percentage (.438). Individually those are All-American level numbers. My last pick for a middle was between him, Lopez, and Cardenas.
- Jared Moser: The 2nd team All-American hitter for North Central College, one of my preseason top 5 outsides for this year. Moser continues to ball this season, having just helped power NCC to an upset win over #6 Benedictine.
- Brendan Spulnick: The OH1 for New Paltz, Spulnick burst on the scene last year with terrific performances in the Hawks debut at the clash at Kean. His sophomore campaign showed a lot of potential greatness, as he enters his traditional Junior year on a loaded New Paltz team.
- Jeremy Torres: Another All-American not selected, Torres is the OH1 for Elms college in the NECC.
- Arvind Khumar: By and large one of D3VB’s favorite lefties, Khumar is part of the three-headed monster, alongside Zaleck and Tuhoy, powering Rutgers-Newark to D3 prominence.
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