Quick-hits: What to know about independent teams for 2019 season

Photo by Jay Sowes

[Editor’s note: Off the Block will preview each NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball conference leading up to the 2019 season opener on Dec. 30. This conference previews examines every independent team.]

Who needs a conference to play NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball.

Five teams will compete as independents without a conference affiliation in 2019 and will conclude the season participating in the Independent Volleyball Association Tournament.

Off the Block editor Vinnie Lopes breaks down the independent teams and what to know about each one entering the 2019 season.

Lincoln Memorial

Preseason national coaches poll ranking: Did not receive votes
2018 record: 14-12
2018 postseason finish: Won IVA Tournament championship
Notable losses: Outside attacker Josh Riblett (2017 All-Independent Team)
Notable returners/additions: Opposite Evan Cory (Independent Team Player of the Year runner-up, All-Independent Team); Setter AJ Risavy (Independent Teams Freshman of the Year, All-Independent Team); Middle attacker Pedro Carvalho (All-Independent Team); Outside attacker Danny Hermida (transfer from Erskine, eighth in nation averaging 0.51 aces per game last season); Outside attacker Jacob Titus (U.S. Beach Youth National Team)
Top non-conference match: Lincoln Memorial vs. USC (at Off the Block Grow the Game Challenge) on Jan. 18
OTB bold prediction: Earning a spot in the AVCA national coaches poll is a stretch goal, but making the Division II national coaches poll for the first time in the program’s three-year history is a definite possibility. The Railsplitters are the clear preseason favorites to repeat as the IVA champions. — Vinnie Lopes

Coker

Preseason national coaches poll ranking: Did not receive votes
2018 record: 13-10
2018 postseason finish: Lost in IVA Tournament finals
Notable losses: Outside attacker Stephen Porras (All-Independent Team); Setter Aleksa Bijelic (four-year starter); Julia Rowland (head coach)
Notable returners/additions: Opposite Joao Victor Santos (Independent Team Player of the Year, All-Independent Team); Middle attacker Absalon Williams (transfer from Erskine, led Erskine with 62 blocks last season); Jay Novoa-Miralles (head coach)
Top non-conference match: Coker at George Mason on Feb. 1
OTB bold prediction: The Cobras were down to six players on their active roster by the end of the 2018. They will at least have more depth this year. Plus, Santos will finish the season in the nation’s top 10 for both kills and aces. — Vinnie Lopes

Queens

Preseason national coaches poll ranking: Did not receive votes
2018 record: 8-21
2018 postseason finish: Lost in IVA Tournament semifinals
Notable losses: Outside attacker Jake Dube (among team leaders last season with a 2.00 kills per game average)
Notable returners/additions: Middle attacker Aleksander Perisic (All-Independent Team); Libero Conner Nagaki (All-Independent Team); Outside attacker Josh Bragg (transfer from Erskine, among team leaders averaging 2.33 kills per game and 2.05 digs per game last season); Setter Alexander Schinzing (transfer from North Greenville, team’s starting setter in 2015-17)
Top non-conference match: Hawai’i at Queens on Feb. 7 and Feb. 9.
OTB bold prediction: Despite having a losing record in the first half of the season, Queens will win at least five of its final eight regular season matches entering the IVA Tournament. — Vinnie Lopes

Alderson Broaddus

Preseason national coaches poll ranking: Did not receive votes
2018 record: 4-20
2018 postseason finish:. Lost in IVA Tournament semifinals
Notable losses: Myles Miller (2017 Independent Team Player of the Year); Francisco Cabrera (All-Independent Team, All-Puerto Rican Team); Michael Fink (head coach)
Notable returners/additions: Chase Christiansen (led team with 62 blocks last season); Chuck Shoemaker (head coach)
Top non-conference match: Alderson Broaddus at Lindenwood on Feb. 2
OTB bold prediction: The Battlers will improve upon its four-match win total from last season — but will come up shy doubling that win total. — Vinnie Lopes

Daemen

Preseason national coaches poll ranking: Did not receive votes
2018 record: Inaugural season in 2019
2018 postseason finish: N/A
Notable losses: N/A
Notable returners/additions: Middle attacker Jesse Donorovich (two-time high school All-Western New York selection)
Top non-conference match: Sacred Heart at Daemen on March 8
OTB bold prediction: Daemen will finish with a winning record. The downside to that record is a majority of the Wildcats’ matches in their inaugural season are against NCAA Division III teams. — Vinnie Lopes