OSKALOOSA — The William Penn men’s volleyball team is prepared to make its highly anticipated debut as the program will play its inaugural season in 2020.
The team is composed of 13 freshmen and a pair of sophomores.
First-year Head Coach Luke Bentley believes he has a young core that is ready to compete right away and make a big splash in the Heart of America Athletic Conference.
“There's a lot of excitement around our team right now,” said Bentley, “and our coaches and fans are most excited for our players. They've worked really hard the last six months. We started to build this men's volleyball program back in May of 2018, and now we're anxious to take the floor and show the William Penn community and the Oskaloosa community what we can do. We are focused on competing hard right from day one and we hope our fans see that Tuesday night.”
6’-4” Ike Papes (Fr., Elwood, Ill., Sports Management) headlines a deep group of hitters on the outside as he will look to make major contributions in his first season in the navy and gold.
He will be competing with fellow freshman CJ Rettig (Fr., Sierra Madre, Calif., Wellness and Recreation), Anochs Georges (Fr., Orlando, Fla., Undecided), Luke Scheuble (Fr., Hemet, Calif., Wellness and Recreation), and Michael Cox (Fr., San Jacinto, Calif., Undecided) for playing time as all five have proven over the course of the offseason that they are capable of getting the job done.
Right Side Hitter
A trio of lefties headline the opposite side of the net as Jhourdan Woods (Fr., San Jacinto, Calif., Mechanical Engineering), Carlos Garcia (Fr., Laredo, Texas, Biology), and Micah Chavez (Fr., Lake Elsinore, Calif., Biology) will all look to make an impact in 2020.
Shawn Mason (So., Orlando, Fla., Sociology) and Eli Herro (Fr., Dousman, Wis., Business Management) both figure to get plenty of opportunity as they will man the middle.
Sophomore Connor Muff (So., Kenosha, Wis., Business Management) is a January transfer who played at Concordia (Wis.) a season ago. As a freshman he led the team with 598 assists and 29 aces. In 2020 he will share duties with Matt Helmick (Fr., Fullerton, Calif., Business Management).
The squad has three high quality options to don the libero jersey as Pedro Maciel (Fr., Belo Horizante, Brazil, Psychology), Andrew Padilla (Fr., Austin, Texas, Biology), and Chris Freire (Fr., San Antonio, Texas, Biology) have all been working hard and competing for the starting spot.
The Statesmen open 2020 with a Heart of America Athletic Conference matchup tonight at 7 p.m. The schedule includes 12 regular season Heart matchups along with 14 non-conference games that includes hosting a quadrangular on February 7-8.
Third ranked Grand View is expected to capture the Heart crown with a possible push from Mount Mercy who is receiving votes nationally. In just their first season, Bentley believes his Statesmen will be in the mix to compete for, at the very least, a bid to the postseason tournament.