Story written and posted by Anthony Perry, Rivier University Sports Information Director
(Winthrop, Mass.) The Great Northeast Athletic Conference unveiled their 2019 Men's Volleyball All-Conference teams and major award winners this afternoon and to no surprise, the teams were littered with Rivier University student-athletes. Junior setter Pedro Campos (Downey, Calif.) was named the GNAC Offensive Player of the Year along with his first-team selection and Head Coach Craig Kolek was tabbed as the conference's Coach of the Year for the
Campos had an outstanding first-year in Raider blue as he directed the Rivier offensive to a .265 hitting percentage with 1,002 assists. He accumulated 169 digs and 54 total blocks on the season while adding 49 kills as he was named the GNAC Offensive Player of the Week four times. Campos led the GNAC and is currently fifth in the nation with 10.27 assists per set. Campos becomes the fourth Raider to be named GNAC Offensive Player of the Year and just the second setter to accomplish this feat. Setter Steve Visentin '13 was named the GNAC OPOTY in 2013 and the other two former student-athletes are Chris Markuson '15 (2012 & 2015) and Aaron Almario '14 (2014).
Joining Campos on the All-Conference first team is junior David Smith (Clinton, Ohio). Smith averaged 3.00 kills and 1.34 digs per set while hitting at a .278 clip on the year. Smith totaled 291 kills over his 97 sets played and scooped up 130 digs along the backline. At the net he totaled 36 blocks with 13 of them as a solo variety. Smith was an All-GNAC Second team member in 2018.
The All-Conference Second team saw three Raiders earn accolades led by seniors Dashaun Graham (Highland Falls, N.Y.) and Khaynen Yocca (Pittsburgh, Pa.). Both were outstanding in 2019 as Yocca finished with 184 kills (1.96 kills per set) and Graham had 179 kills (1.81 k/s). Graham collected 77 total blocks on the campaign with a team-leading 20 block solos while Yocca swung at a .409 clip for the year. Also being selected to the All-Conference Second team was junior Cam Roth (Coventry, R.I.) who led the Raiders with 306 digs and 3.09 digs per set. Roth also registered 70 kills and 50 assists while adding 12 total blocks. All three were selected to the All-GNAC teams last season with Graham being a 2018 1st team selection and both Roth and Yocca earned 3rd team honors.
Rounding out the All-Conference selections is freshman Jack Normandin (Clifton Park, N.Y.) who was named to the All-Conference Third team. Normandin enjoyed a stellar rookie season as he hammered down 183 kills – 1.81 kills per set – and 24 total blocks. He was also named the GNAC Rookie of the Week once this season back on February 18th.
This is Coach Kolek's fourth time receiving GNAC Coach of the Year honors as we also named COY in 2018, 2016 and 2013. The Raiders went 23-7 during the regular season and a perfect 14-0 against conference competition in 2019 (regular season GNAC Champions, GNAC tournament #1 seed) including an unprecedented 3-0 win at #1 Springfield College on February 26th. Kolek also became a member of the 500 win club this year with the team's 3-0 win at Emmanuel on April 4th. The Raiders were also ranked in six of the thirteen American Volleyball College Association Top-15 Coach's Polls reaching as high as #12 (April 16).
The now #12 ranked Raiders will battle with #14 Arcadia University (Glenside, Pa.) on Friday, April 19 at 6:00 pm in the Springfield, Mass. section of the bracket. The winner moves on to face #1 Springfield College on Saturday night, also at 6pm.