New-Look Raiders Looking To Rebound In 2014

New-Look Raiders Looking To Rebound In 2014

The MSOE men's volleyball team will have a decidedly new look in 2014, as the Raiders look to rebound from a 7-19 record a year ago.

Topping the list of changes this season is head coach Wayne Schultz, who came to MSOE last summer and is also the women's volleyball coach. He will have a chance to put his stamp on the program, as just seven of the 13 players that saw action last season return.

Gone are the team's top four players in kills, digs and blocks. The graduation of Jack Geary and Brian Main are the most notable losses, while Alex Harbor and David Johnson were not far behind.

Of the seven returning players, just three are upperclassmen with four sophomores back, as well.

The Raiders are just two seasons removed from an 18-win campaign and one player that could help close that gap is junior outside hitter Nick Manning. Manning, who played for Schultz at Westosha Central High School, was limited to just five games last season, but was second on the squad with 231 kills as a freshman in 2011-12.

Manning is a strong hitter and brings outstanding contributions to the floor for MSOE. He lends leadership to the squad as one of just three upperclassmen and is one of the most competitive players that Schultz has coached.

Sophomore Josh Dougherty is in just his second season with the Raiders, but will serve as a team captain and the team's starting libero. He played in all but two sets last season and was third on the team with 121 digs. He shows leadership on the floor and has a great understanding of the game.

After seeing time in 62 sets over 22 matches in 2013, sophomore Alex Root will see an expanded role in the middle. He's earned the chance to start early on. He has a strong knowledge of the game and is a strong blocker. Last season, he finished with 39 kills and 26 blocks, including a 10-block performance at Quincy in March.

Senior Josh Avery will be a player that could provide some continuity for the team as it adapts to a new roster and coaching staff. He is coming off a season as the team's primary setter, finishing with 662 over 25 matches. He makes the team better and brings leadership both on and off the court.

Schultz will be looking for sophomore Sean Donovan to contribute off the bench in his second season, as he can play both as an outside hitter and libero. He hits hard, has quick feet and a strong knowledge of the game.

Rounding out the returners are senior Sanesh Thomas and sophomore Greg Poré. Thomas saw action in 62 sets last season and 23 matches total. He notched 42 kills and added 22 blocks. Meanwhile, a 6-foot-5 middle hitter, Poré has great size, but is looking to add collegiate experience. He saw time in just seven matches as a rookie last season, playing in 14 sets.

Freshman Joe Humpal will likely begin the season as the starting setter. He has impressed Schultz with how well he sees the court and his ability to run the offense. In high school, he was an all-state selection.

Another newcomer to the court is sophomore Brett Herbers, who missed last season with an injury. Schultz refers to him as an explosive hitter that can "jump out of the gym." He's excited about the second-year player's athleticism and what it could mean for MSOE at the net.

Freshman Logan Baerenwald is a 6-foot-5 outside hitter that will slide into a starting position in his first season in a Raider uniform. Schultz credits strong coaching before he stepped on campus for an all-around strong skill set. He was named all-conference honorable mention in high school and was a unanimous all-conference first-team selection.

Schultz likes the potential from freshman outside hitter Scott Boyk. He is a shot maker that Schultz feels has a bright future as his body continues to mature.

Two more newcomers will look to crack the regular rotation in freshmen Michael Schmidt and Frank Tokarz. Schmidt is an outside hitter, who was named all-conference for Olympian High School in Chula Vista, Calif. Tokarz is a middle and was a two-sport athlete in his hometown of Volo, Ill., also playing basketball.