Two players who helped their teams reach multiple NCAA Tournaments in the 1980s and a former National Player of the Year have earned the highest individual honor from the EIVA.
The EIVA announced Tuesday that former Penn State middle attacker Chris Chase, former Juniata outside attacker Chris Fazio and former George Mason setter Ric Lucas will be inducted into the EIVA Hall of Fame.
“This year’s EIVA Hall of Fame class celebrates the contributions of three outstanding players,” EIVA President Ron Shayka said in a statement. “All three were not only some of the best in the East, but were among the best in the country.”
Chase was a four-time AVCA All-American and helped lead the Nittany Lions to EIVA champions and NCAA Tournament appearances in 1986, 1987 and 1989. As a senior, he set a school’s single-season record for kills at 583, which currently remains among the top five for most single-season kills in Penn State’s history.
“Chris was the most dominant middle attacker and blocker in the nation,” former Penn State coach Tom Tait said in a statement. “His 6 foot-10 inch frame combined with his significant athletic abilities and competitive nature to make him a player who gave opposing coaches ‘nightmares’ trying to figure out how to defend against him.”
Fazio was selected as a Division III All-American from 1995-97 and in his senior season was named the 1997 Volleyball Magazine Division II National Player of the Year. In addition, Fazio remains in the top-three in the Juniata record books with both 1,634 career kills and 545 kills in a single-season.
“Chris was a remarkable and transformative player,” former Juniata coach Larry Bock said in a statement. “Men’s volleyball was relatively new at Juniata when Chris arrived and he truly put that program on his shoulders for four years. His importance in terms of program legitimacy and team quality was still being felt during Juniata’s ensuing decade of successful EIVA and national competition.”
Lucas contributed to George Mason reaching the 1984 and 1985 NCAA Tournament — the first two tournament appearances in program history. The setter also remains the George Mason single-season record holder with 311 digs and a 3.06 digs per game average.
“Ric was the most intelligent setter I ever coached. He had a knack for finding the open hitter and calling the best play for a situation,” former George Mason coach Wayne Stalick said in a statement. “I always enjoyed talking and strategizing with him. Down deep he always wanted to be an outside hitter, even at 5-foot-10, but with his 42-inch vertical jump he was able to hit over many blocks,”
The three-member class of 2017 will be formally inducted into the EIVA Hall of Fame during the EIVA Tournament finals in April.
This is the sixth class inducted into the EIVA Hall of Fame. The conference hall of fame was established in 2012 as way to preserve the history of the East Coast conference and recognize outstanding individual contributions throughout the 45-year history of the league.
“It’s absolutely awesome to witness the growth in the prestige of our EIVA Hall of Fame,” Ivan Marquez, executive director of the EIVA, said in a statement. “Not only are we solidifying the long tradition of excellence of our Association, but also our position at the forefront of model conferences in the NCAA by inspiring others to adopt similar awards programs.”