Some of the top players in Grand Canyon’s program history have garnered one more college men’s volleyball honor before the decade comes to a close.
Off the Block announced on Sunday the seven players selected to the Grand Canyon All-Decade Starting Lineup presented by Off the Block.
The All-Decade Starting Lineup recognizes the best players to compete with a team since 2010. Similar to the starting lineup for a match, the All-Decade honor is comprised of a setter, opposite and libero along with two outside attackers and middle attackers.
The Off the Block staff determined the All-Decade Starting Lineup using a variety of factors including career statistical performance and the team’s overall success when a player was a member of the program.
This is also part of a series from Off the Block to celebrate the end of the decade in college men’s volleyball. Off the Block throughout the rest of 2019 will release an All-Decade Starting Lineup for every NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball team.
Grand Canyon during its eight seasons in the MIVA had two top-four finishes and advanced to the 2017 MIVA Tournament semifinals. In addition, the Antelopes moved to the MPSF beginning in the 2018 season and have been ranked in the national coaches throughout the last two years.
Off the Block is a national award winning website that was established in 2011 and is the nation’s leader in college men’s volleyball.
Grand Canyon All-Decade Starting Lineup presented by Off the Block
Setter: Keith Smith
Opposite: Ryan Mather
Outside attacker: Gerrard Lipscombe
Outside attacker: Ben Ponnet
Middle attacker: Ashton King
Middle attacker: Christian Ward
Libero: Trent Bruns
Trent Bruns (2010-13)
Awards and honors: 2012 First-Team All-MIVA, 2011 First-Team All-MIVA, 2010 Second-Team All-MIVA
Bruns was the first three-time all-conference selection in program history as he set the school record with 1,331 career digs. The libero led the MIVA in digs in back-to-back seasons averaging both 3.61 digs per game in 2010 and 2.50 digs per game in 2011. He also was in the nation’s top 10 for digs in three consecutive seasons, including a 2.44 digs per game average in 2012 as he helped Grand Canyon finish in fourth place in the MIVA.
Ashton King (2015-18)
Awards and honors: 2018 Second-Team All-MPSF, 2018 Off the Block Grow the Game Challenge All-Tournament Team
King is the only player in Grand Canyon program history to have more than 100 blocks in multiple season and holds the school record with 420 career blocks. The middle attacker also was in the nation’s top 10 for blocks in back-to-back seasons, including being eighth in the country averaging 1.09 blocks per game in 2017. King offensively had more than a .325 attack percentage in every season during his college career. In his senior season, King hit a career-high .432 along with having double-digit kills in four conference matches.
Gerrard Lipscombe (2013-16)
Awards and honors: 2016 First-Team All-MIVA
Lipscombe in his senior season was fourth in the MIVA and in the nation’s top 20 with a 3.61 kills per game average. He also had at least 20 kills in five matches that season and was in the conference’s top 10 with a career-best .318 attack percentage. Lipscombe is one of two Antelopes in the program’s history to have more than 1,000 career kills. The outside attacker defensively had more than 100 digs in all four seasons, including being in the conference’s top 15 with a 1.70 digs per game average in 2015.
Ryan Mather (2012-16)
Awards and honors: 2015 Second-Team All-MIVA, 2013 Second-Team All-MIVA, 2012 Second-Team All-MIVA
Mather transitioned from middle attacker to opposite for his junior season and finished fourth in the MIVA with a career-best 3.69 kills per game average. He had double-digit kills in all but of the two matches he started that season, including having a career-best 30 kills in five-game road victory against St. Francis. In addition, Mather is fourth in program history with 280 career blocks and in both of his first two seasons was in the nation’s top 25 averaging more 1.00 blocks per game.
Keith Smith (2011-14)
Awards and honors: N/A
Smith set the Grand Canyon record with 4,484 assists — more than 2,000 assists than any other player in program history. The future Grand Canyon assistant coach guided the offense to more than a .250 attack percentage in two consecutive seasons and was fifth in the nation averaging 10.78 assists per game in 2013. In addition, Smith remains in the top five in the program’s record book with 607 career digs and 289 career digs.
Ben Ponnet (2011-14)
Awards and honors: 2014 First-Team All-MIVA, 2013 Second-Team All-MIVA, 2012 First-Team All-MIVA
Ponnet holds multiple program records with 1,509 career kills and 128 career aces. The outside attacker finished in the conference’s top 15 for kills in each of his four seasons, including leading the MIVA and being fourth in the nation with a 4.17 kills per game average in 2014. Ponnet during that senior season had nine matches with at least 20 kills highlighted by a season-high 31 kills on a .491 attack percentage in a victory against Quincy. Along with his offensive performance, Ponnet remains in the program’s top five with both 711 career digs and 219 career blocks.
Christian Ward (2013-16)
Awards and honors: N/A
Ward in his senior season led the MIVA and was eighth in the nation with a 1.19 blocks per game average. This also was his third season with more than a .350 attack percentage as Ward hit a career-best .429. Among his top performances that season featured a match-high seven blocks along with 10 kills on a .692 attack percentage in a victory against NJIT. In addition, Ward concluded his college career second in Grand Canyon’s program history with 369 blocks.