The MSOE men's volleyball team enters the 2018 season with high expectations, coming off the best season in school history with a deep and potent attack returning.
Head coach Shane Reid enters his third season leading the Raiders, having tied or broken the school record in each of his first two seasons. This season, he has five seniors back to drive the offense with a talented group of experience and youth around them.
Last season, MSOE led the nation in kills and attacks per set last season and returns three of its top four hitters from that squad.
Senior Logan Baerenwald led the team and was fourth in the league last season with 3.72 kills per set. He returned from a year abroad in 2016 and picked up right where he left off at outside hitter, earning all-league second-team honors. The 6-foot-8 target posted the third-best k/s rate in program history, while also defending well in the back row with 2.23 digs per set.
Junior Sam Stealey and sophomore Jake Christenson also return after averaging 2.70 and 2.63 k/s, respectively. Stealey is another tall attacker that has plenty of experience pacing the attack. He led the team in kills as a sophomore and carries career averages of 2.24 k/s into action this season. Meanwhile, Christenson showed enough of his potential last season that has the coaching staff excited for what's to come.
Adding depth to the position is senior Bryant Holland. He has plenty of experience for the Red & White, having played in 66 career matches, and has easily handled as much of a workload as has been asked of him. He has career averages of 1.40 kills and 1.53 digs per set, while also serving in 0.25 aces per frame.
There will be a new director of the offense this season, as senior Andrew Miller will take his spot as the lead setter. League Offensive Player of the Year Quin Krisik is not with the team this season but coaches are confident that Miller can step up and take the reins. Miller has shown he's quite capable of handling the team's high-volume offense. He has averaged 9.86 assists in sets in which he is the starting setter. He's also regularly been dispatched as a serving specialist, registering 17 aces last season.
Defensively, a strong group of middle blockers also returns, as does a pair of strong liberos.
Senior Neil Naughton, juniors Brian Jones and Ben Clarke, and sophomore Spencer Mueller all return in the middle. Naughton is the most offensive option, averaging 1.74 k/s last season and ranking among the top-10 in program history in career kills and attack efficiency. He's also prolific on the block, carrying a 0.83 block-per-set average into his final season. Naughton is ranked third in school history for career attack percentage, fourth in solo blocks, and fourth in total blocks.
Jones is another efficient blocker with 0.88 career b/s average after posting a 0.78 clip last season. Clarke returns from a year studying abroad looking to get back into the swing of things after a year away. He was an efficient attacker in the middle before leaving, posting a .334 attack percentage with a 0.83 b/s per set over his career.
Mueller was a pleasant surprise for the coaching staff as a rookie in 2017. He came on to lead the team with 0.90 b/s and hit .284 on his way to 0.78 k/s.
Sophomore Danny Martens had a standout first season as the team's starting libero last season. He averaged 2.95 digs per set as a freshman, which is the third-best figure in program history. The team also returns junior Sean Runyon, who has been a solid option whenever he takes the floor. Last season, he chipped in 1.82 d/s for the Raiders.