The EMU men's volleyball team is well represented on the All-Continental Volleyball Conference teams, with four Royals earning recognition. Additionally, senior Micah Buller (Richmond, Va./Douglas Freeman) claimed a major award as the CVC's Libero of the Year.
Buller was joined on the All-CVC Second Team by teammates Dan Lutz (Greencastle, Pa./Greencastle-Antrim), William Ragland (North Chesterfield, Va./Thomas Dale) and Christian Taylor (Richmond, Va./Deep Run).
Eastern Mennonite had the most honorees of any team in the CVC this year, topping three each from Kean and Marymount, the respective regular season champions from each of the conference's two divisions.
Buller repeats his All-CVC honor, but this year adds the hardware as the conference's first-ever Libero of the Year. He is third in the nation with 325 total digs, and 18th with 2.90 digs per set. Buller's back row play has been key in starting EMU's versatile attack. For the second year in a row, the Royals are leading the CVC with 1250 digs and 10.33 digs per set. Buller had 17 matches this season with double digit digs, including a season high of 19 in a four-setter against Lancaster Bible on March 2. His 863 career digs place him third all-time in EMU history.
Ragland continues to blossom as Eastern Mennonite's leading hitter, but also as an all-around player. The senior is second in the CVC with 377 kills on the season, averaging 3.12 per set. On top of that, he is also the only player in the conference to be top-10 in each kills, service aces, digs and blocks. Ragland is fourth in the CVC with 48 aces, sixth with 246 digs and ninth with 64 blocks. In just three years at EMU, after one season at Carthage College, Ragland became EMU's career aces leader, currently at 117. Earlier this week, he put down a career high 27 kills in the Royals' upset of Juniata to open the CVC Tournament.
Lutz finally gets deserved attention as one of the best middles in the Continental Volleyball Conference, earning his first All-CVC honor after landing on the CVC All-Tournament Team last spring. The 6-8 senior is tied for first in D-III with 108 block assists and is fourth overall with 117 blocks. His commanding presence has helped Eastern Mennonite lead the nation with 421 block assists and be third overall with 259 blocks. Lutz has also been a more prominent offensive weapon this year and is fourth in the CVC with a .354 hitting percentage and 10th with 262 kills. He broke his career high with 16 kills against Rutgers-Newark on March 24, and had a season high nine blocks in a five-set win over Messiah on March 17.
Consistently running the show for the Royals is setter Taylor, who gets his first All-CVC nod as a junior. Like Lutz, he was also on the CVC All-Tournament Team last year. Taylor is second in D-III with 1,176 assists and is sixth overall with 10.05 assists pet set. His ability to read the defense and run EMU's offense sets Taylor apart, as the junior is already No. 3 in program history with 3,188 career assists. Taylor tied his career high with 63 assists in Tuesday's tourney win at Juniata, and set a new career mark with 11 digs. He is also the top-blocking setter in the CVC, tied for 10th among all players with 61 stuffs.
With the growth of the CVC to 10 teams this season, the league also expanded its all-conference selections, increasing from one team of 10 players to a first and second team, each consisting of eight players.
Eastern Mennonite qualified for their second straight CVC Tournament this season, and for the second straight year started the tourney with an upset, this time knocking off Juniata in five sets Tuesday night in Huntingdon, Pa. In 2017, EMU surprised top-seeded Marymount in the semifinals.
The Royals will be in Union, N.J., this weekend for the semifinals and finals of the CVC Tournament, taking on host and overall top seed Kean Friday night at 6:00pm.
EMU went 8-5 in CVC play during the regular season and holds an overall record of 21-12 heading into this weekend.
2018 All-Continental Volleyball Conference Awards
Player of the Year: Quinn Peterson, Juniata
Setter of the Year: Ian Capp, Kean
Libero of the Year: Micah Buller, Eastern Mennonite
Rookie of the Year: Nahuel Recabarren, Southern Virginia
Coach of the Year: Charlie Ginex, Kean
All-CVC First Team
Paul Clark, Southern Virginia
Ian Capp, Kean
Quinn Peterson, Juniata
Corey Pieper, Rutgers-Newark
Sam Safley, Marymount
Shayron Taylor, Kean
Jared Warner, Kean
TJ Wiechecki, Marymount
All-CVC Second Team
Daniel Aina, Southern Virginia
Erich Bratke, Marymount
Micah Buller, Eastern Mennonite
Garrett Fitzsimmons, Ramapo
Micah Godshall, Cairn
Dan Lutz, Eastern Mennonite
William Ragland, Eastern Mennonite
Christian Taylor, Eastern Mennonite