OTB/Springbak unveils 2017 Division III Preseason All-American Team

A nationwide voting committee selected 10 players to the 2017 Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Preseason All-American Team.

The Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Preseason All-American Team that was released Friday recognizes the NCAA Division III men’s volleyball players projected to be the best in the nation during the upcoming season.


Carthage and the three-time NCAA Division III champions Springfield led the nation with two Preseason All-American selections. In addition, Juniata, Mount St. Joseph, New Paltz, UC Santa Cruz, Vassar and Wentworth each had one named to the Preseason All-American Team.

Players eligible for the Preseason All-American Teams had to be on an active roster of a Division III men’s volleyball team.

The 11-member voting committee for this preseason honor was comprised of Division III men’s volleyball head coaches from around the nation. The top 10 vote-getters from the committee’s ballots earned a spot on the Preseason All-American Team.

Off the Block is the only volleyball organization to present Preseason All-American Teams in college men’s volleyball. This is the sixth consecutive season that Off the Block presented the Division I-II Preseason All-American Teams and the third year it presented the Division III Preseason All-American Team.

Off the Block is a website that launched in 2011 and is the nation’s leader in college men’s volleyball coverage.

Springbak, Inc. is the official sponsor of the 2017 Preseason All-American Teams. Springbak, Inc. produces high performance footwear used by professional athletes in the NFL, NBA, MLB, U.S. Olympic teams and the top college teams in the nation.

The NCAA Division III men’s volleyball season begins in January and concludes with the NCAA Tournament in April at Springfield.

OFF THE BLOCK/SPRINGBAK, INC. DIVISION III PRESEASON ALL-AMERICAN TEAM
Setter: Luis Garcia Rubio, Springfield
Opposite: Griffin Shields, Carthage
Outside attacker: Lake Merchen, UC Santa Cruz
Outside attacker: Luis Vega, Springfield
Outside attacker: Alex Vohland, Mount St. Joseph
Middle attacker: Matthew Knigge, Vassar
Middle attacker: Alex Potts, Wentworth
Middle attacker: Kyle Seeley, Juniata
Middle attacker: Steven Woessner, New Paltz
Libero: Marc Hansen, Carthage

OTHERS RECEIVING VOTES ON TWO OR MORE BALLOTS
Ricardo Padilla Ayala, Springfield
Anthony Bonilla, New Paltz
Jack Fredricks, Rutgers-Newark
Jake Kemp, Nazareth
Gabe Shankweiler, Stevens


PRESEASON ALL-AMERICAN PLAYER BIOS

Marc Hansen, Carthage
Hansen was among the conference leaders and in the nation’s top 50 with a 2.20 digs per game average last season. The All-American and winner of the 2016 Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Division III National Libero of the Year also had double-digit digs in six matches as he helped Carthage finish undefeated in conference play and earn the No. 3 overall seed for the NCAA Tournament.

Matthew Knigge, Vassar
Knigge as a sophomore finished last season third in the nation with both a .502 attack percentage and a 1.25 blocks per game average. He also had double-digit kills in 15 matches as he earned First-Team All-American honors and helped Vassar reach the UVC Tournament semifinals.

Lake Merchen, UC Santa Cruz
Merchen ended last season in the top 15 of the nation averaging 3.67 kills per game on a .336 attack percentage. The All-American also had double-digit kills in all but five of UC Santa Cruz’s matches as the Banana Slugs went 18-7.

Alex Potts, Wentworth
Potts led the nation with a .526 attack percentage and was among the national leaders with a 0.92 blocks per game average. The All-American also had a career-high 32 aces as Wentworth advanced to the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals.

Luis Garcia Rubio, Springfield
Rubio was second in the nation with an 11.21 assists per game average and guided the Springfield offense to a nation-best .382 attack percentage last season. The First-Team All-American setter also was a finalist for the 2016 Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Division III National Setter of the Year as he helped lead Springfield to the NCAA Tournament finals.

Kyle Seeley, Juniata
Seeley led Juniata and was among the national leaders with a 3.19 kills per game average last season. In addition, Seeley had a .300 attack percentage and added 70 blocks as he earned 2016 All-American honors.

Griffin Shields, Carthage
Shields ended last season leading the MCVL and fourth in the nation with a 4.00 kills per game average. The First-Team All-American and 2016 Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Division III National Opposite of the Year also added 89 blocks and more than 100 digs as he helped Carthage earn the No. 3 overall seed for the NCAA Tournament.

Luis Vega, Carthage
Vega after missing the entire 2015 season finished 2016 among the nation’s leaders with both a .390 attack percentage and a 3.65 kills per game average, including having at least 15 kills in 12 matches. The All-American and recipient of the 2016 Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Division III National Outside Attacker of the Year also was in the nation’s top 30 with 47 aces as he helped Springfield reach the NCAA Tournament finals.

Alex Vohland, Mount St. Joseph
Vohland ended last season in the top 20 of the nation with a 3.55 kills per game average, including having more than 20 kills in four matches. He also added 185 digs and a career-high 32 aces to help Mount St. Joseph finish 18-8.

Steven Woessner, New Paltz
Woessner ended the season second in the nation with a .520 attack percentage and had double-digit kills in 11 matches, including 10 kills in a four-game victory against Springfield in the NCAA Tournament finals. The First-Team All-American and recipient of the 2016 Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Division III National Middle Attacker of the Year also had a team-high 82 blocks to help SUNY New Paltz win its first national championship in program history.