BYU seniors Stanley, Eschenberg, Jauhiainen likely returning for 2021 season

Photo courtesy of BYU athletics

All but one of the seniors in the BYU starting lineup will be back for the top-ranked team in the nation.

BYU informed Off the Block on Monday that All-American setter Wil Stanley along with outside attacker Zach Eschenberg and middle attacker Miki Jauhiainen are all likely to return for the upcoming season.

The NCAA granted men’s volleyball players an extra year of eligibility after the remainder of the 2020 season was canceled in March because of the coronavirus pandemic. This eligibility ruling, which applied to all student-athletes in spring sports, resulted in seniors being able to come back for the 2021 season.

While Stanley, Eschenberg and Jauhiainen are planning to return, the Cougars emphasized the situation could change in the upcoming months.

Stanley returned to the court in 2020 after suffering a season-ending injury last year and led BYU to the second-best attack percentage in the nation at .358, including hitting a near program-record .603 in a road sweep against No. 1/2 Hawai’i. The Lloy Ball Award finalist was third in the nation with a 10.74 assists per game average as he helped the Cougars end the season atop the national rankings.

Eschenberg finished in the conference’s top 15 with a 2.40 kills per game average and had double-digit kills in five matches during the Cougars’ 17-match winning streak to open the season. The first-year starter also had a .300 attack percentage and averaged more than 1.00 digs per game en route to earning Second-Team All-MPSF honors.

Jauhiainen, a member of the Finland Men’s National Team, was in the nation’s top 10 with a 1.14 blocks per game average and was named an All-MPSF Honorable Mention. In addition, Jauhiainen had a career-best .409 attack percentage and committed zero or one error in all but one match last season.

The only senior, according to BYU, currently not planning to return is libero Andrew Lincoln. Lincoln appeared in 14 matches in 2019 but battled through injuries and appeared in one match last season.