Jonathan Bates | Associate Editor
Five of the eight Independent NCAA Division I/II men’s volleyball teams will play in the IVA Tournament, hosted by Queens University on April 16 and 17. Daemen, D’Youville and St. Francis Brooklyn are not able to participate in the tournament due to New York state-imposed travel restrictions pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic. Check out Off the Block’s preview of each team participating in this year’s tournament.
Previous IVA Tournament winners:
2017: Alderson Broaddus
2018: Lincoln Memorial
2019: Lincoln Memorial
IVA Tournament Schedule
Friday, April 16, 2021
Saturday, April 17, 2021
No. 1 seed: Lincoln Memorial (10-8)
Record versus other Independent teams: 5-1
National stat rankings: No. 14 in opponent attack percentage (.227); No. 15 in blocks per game (2.086)
National awardees: Justin Sharfenaker, Independent Freshman of the Year and All-Independent Team; John Cash, Co-Independent Teams Coach of Year; AJ Risavy, All-Independent Team; Pedro Carvalho, All-Independent Team
Player to watch: Justin Sharfenaker, Opposite – Sharfenaker led the team with 3.22 kills per game and 0.238 aces per game.
Season recap: The Railsplitters started the season, losing six of their first seven matches. They won their final five matches before their final three matches were cancelled. The Railsplitters finished No. 10 in the Off the Block Division II Coaches Poll. In their only match at Queens, the Railsplitters lost in five games. Setter AJ Risavy leads all independent players with 9.67 assists per game, while middle attacker Pedro Carvalho leads the all independent players with 0.386 blocks per game.
No. 2 seed: Queens (13-11)
Record versus other Independent teams: 5-2
National stat rankings: No. 9 in digs per game (9.53); No. 10 in aces per game (1.43); No. 12 in opponent attack percentage (.224)
National awardees: JP Payne, Independent Teams Player of the Year and All-Independent Team; Tristan Santoyo, All-Independent Team
Player to watch: JP Payne, middle attacker – the senior led the Royals with .457 attack percentage and 62 total blocks.
Season recap: After losing six of the first seven matches to start the season, Queens finished the year winning nine of the final twelve matches. The Royals were 9-3 at Curry Arena this year. Queens finished No. 8 in the Off the Block Division II Coaches Poll, the highest amongst all Independent teams. Senior outside attacker Tristan Santoyo led the Royals with 3.13 kills per game and 32 aces.
No. 3 seed: Limestone (12-9)
Record versus other Independent teams: 3-3
National stat rankings: No. 5 in digs per game (10.04); No. 10 blocks per game (2.311)
National awardees: Michal Podgorzak, All-Independent Team; Geraldo Rivera, All-Independent Team; Jon Igo, All-Independent Team
Player to watch: Michal Podgorzak, Libero – usually when the player to watch is a libero, it’s because that team is not very good. That is not the case with Limestone as they tied with Lincoln Memorial with the most players on All-Independent Team. Podgorzak leads the nation with 3.34 digs per game, after ranking No. 2 nationally last year 2.94 digs per game.
Season recap: While Lincoln Memorial and Queens struggled out of the gate, the Saints started the season with 8-4 record. They lost their only match at Queens in five games. Rivera leads the Saints with 4.05 kills per game while Igo lead the squad with 85 total blocks. Interestingly, even though they finished the regular season with the best record among IVA Tournament teams, they were not ranked in latest the Off the Block Division II Coaches poll.
No. 4 seed: Tusculum (3-12)
Record versus other Independent teams: 2-6
National stat rankings: N/A
National awardees: None
Player to watch: Caleb Slater, middle attacker – the sophomore led the team with 40 total blocks and is third on the team with a .324 attack percentage.
Season recap: The Pioneers had two persevere through two separate pauses in their season due to COVID postponements/cancellations. Tusculum won both of their matches against their first-round opponent, Alderson Broaddus, in four games. Tusculum lost their only match at Queens this year in five games.
No. 5 seed: Alderson Broaddus (4-7)
Record versus other Independent teams: 0-3
National stat rankings: No. 4 in opponent attack percentage (.198)
National awardees: None
Player to watch: Andrew Nielsen, middle attacker – the freshman leads the team with a .321 attack percentage and 32 total blocks.
Season recap: A look at the school’s website shows that they have five wins, but none of them came against an NCAA varsity team. Four those wins came against NAIA schools, while the other one came against Kentucky State which is a club team until next year. The Battlers were swept in their only match at Queens this year.