Play-in: Fun read by OTB on Penn State-Belmont Abbey

Belmont Abbey courtesy photo

Appreciate the guys at Off the Block. I am en route to Columbus and not sure when I can update Monday’s result. Here’s a preview of the Monday play-in match between Penn State (21-3)and Belmont Abbey (15-7)

Monday, 11 a.m. HST

15 players to know for the NCAA Tournament play-in match

Haven’t seen a Penn State or Belmont Abbey match this season — not to worry.

Check out the 15 players to know and watch for as the Nittany Lions and Crusaders play in the NCAA Tournament play-in match tonight.

1. Cal Fisher, Penn State
Fisher, a finalist for the National Server of the Year, is second in the nation with a 0.74 aces per game average. Fisher had four aces the last time he played at Covelli Center as Penn State swept Ohio State in the season opener. The opposite also had a season-high 27 kills on a .440 attack percentage in the EIVA Tournament finals win against George Mason. Fisher enters the NCAA Tournament among the national leaders with a 3.50 kills per game average and is hitting a career-high .349.

2.Cole Bogner, Penn State
Bogner was named the EIVA Player of the Year as he finished second in the conference with a 9.70 assists per game average and guided the offense to the sixth-best attack percentage in the nation at .329. In addition, Bogner has helped the Nittany Lions hit more than .300 in each of the last five matches.

3. Matteo Miselli, Belmont Abbey
Miselli in his first season at Belmont Abbey since transferring from Tusculum in the offseason is in the nation’s top 15 with a 3.98 kills per game average. The all-conference outside attacker had back-to-back 20 kill performances in the ConfCarolinas Tournament. In addition, Miselli leads the Crusaders with 465 service receptions and has a 94.8 percent successful reception rate.

4. Andrew Kohut, Belmont Abbey
Kohut is in the nation’s top 20 averaging 3.76 kills per game and had a match-high 21 kills on a .351 attack percentage as Belmont Abbey beat Mount Olive in the ConfCarolinas Tournament finals. The all-conference opposite also had 10 digs in that finals victory — the fifth time this season he had double-digit digs.

5. Brett Wildman, Penn State
Wildman a year removed from being the Co-EIVA Player of the Year is in the top five of the EIVA with a 3.30 kills per game average, a .330 attack percentage and a 0.36 aces per game average. The outside attacker also had the second-most service receptions for the Nittany Lions this season and had a 96.6 percent successful reception rate.

6. Brennan Davis, Belmont Abbey
Davis is sixth in the nation with a 10.62 assists per game average and is the active leader in NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball with 3,266 career assists. The senior setter during his career has guided the Crusaders to a victory against an EIVA team. Davis helped the offense hit more than .400 in each of the final two games of a four-game win versus Saint Francis in 2019.

7. Will Bantle, Penn State
Bantle leads Penn State with 366 service receptions and had a 94.8 percent successful reception rate. The libero also is fourth in the EIVA averaging 1.84 digs per game and had a combined 24 digs in both EIVA Tournament matches.

8. Daniel Cerqua, Belmont Abbey
Cerqua is second on Belmont Abbey with 399 service receptions and has a 96.7 percent successful reception rate. The libero also is in the nation’s top 20 with a 2.17 digs per game average.

9. Sam Marsh, Penn State
Marsh is fourth in the EIVA with a 0.84 blocks per game average, including having four blocks in the EIVA Tournament finals. The middle attacker also had a season-high three aces in a sweep of Saint Francis in the EIVA Tournament semifinals.

10. Brian Long, Belmont Abbey
Long is third Belmont Abbey’s program history with 241 career blocks and is in the ConfCarolinas top 10 this season with a 0.89 blocks per game average. The senior middle attacker has hit at least .400 in four consecutive matches and is in the nation’s top 20 with a .355 attack percentage.

11. Michael Valenzi, Penn State
Valenzi had a 2.20 kills per game average en route to being named the EIVA Newcomer of the Year. The outside attacker, though, was sidelined for the final month of the regular season and returned to the court as a serving specialist in the EIVA Tournament finals.

12. Riley Mulkey, Belmont Abbey
Mulkey is sixth in the nation with a .455 attack percentage and has hit at least .300 in all but three matches this season. The middle attacker also is the current program record holder with a .410 career attack percentage.

13. Michael Kowal, Penn State
Kowal is in the top 10 of the EIVA with a 0.28 aces per game average. The freshman outside attacker also has a .325 attack percentage this season and had 12 kills while hitting .455 in a sweep against Saint Francis in the EIVA Tournament semifinals.

14. Canyon Tuman, Penn State
Tuman is in the top 10 of the EIVA averaging 0.66 blocks per game and has at least one block in nine of the last 10 matches. The middle attacker also is hitting .331.

15. William Morris, Belmont Abbey
Morris is the program record holder with a 1.05 career blocks per game average and second in the program’s history with 267 career blocks. The senior middle attacker, though, has been sidelined for most of the second half of the season.

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