GANSEVOORT, N.Y. - The North Eastern Athletic Conference released its Men’s Volleyball All-Conference Team and Annual Awards on Thursday morning, and Penn State Altoona was well-represented, earning two major individual awards and four All-Conference selections.
Penn State Altoona men’s volleyball swept the top two individual student-athlete recognitions, as sophomore outside hitter Bradley Colditz (Upper St. Clair, PA/Upper St. Clair) was voted the NEAC Player of the Year and sophomore libero Waldemar Rivera-Berrios (Toa Alta, Puerto Rico/Samuel Clemens) was selected the NEAC Defensive Player of the Year. Both players were also voted to spots on the first team of the All-Conference squad.
Colditz put up big offensive numbers for the Lions this season. In the NEAC, he ranked second in kills (339), fifth in hitting percentage (.256), sixth in kills per set (3.29) and points (369.5), and ninth in points per set (3.6). Among all NCAA Division III players, Colditz is currently 28th in kills per set and 53rd in points per set. He also added 129 digs and 34 total blocks to his stat line. This season, Colditz set Penn State Altoona single match records for kills (25) and points (27.5) on March 28 against Thiel College. Also during the season, he was twice named the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference Player of the Week while also taking NEAC and Eastern College Athletic Conference Division III South Region Player of the Week honors once each.
Rivera-Berrios anchored the Lions’ defense this season, putting up big dig totals all season long. The sophomore currently ranks first among all NCAA Division III players in digs (463) and digs per set (4.33). This season, Rivera-Berrios set a new team record for number of digs in a season, and he is currently on pace to also set a new program record in digs per set. The libero earned a slew of awards this year, as he was selected the NEAC Defensive Player of the Week a league-high six times and the ECAC Division III South Region Defensive Player of the Week three times.
In addition to the honors garnered by Colditz and Rivera-Berrios, Penn State Altoona had two other players voted to the second team of the All-NEAC squad: junior middle hitter Daniel Downs (Reading, PA/Daniel Boone) and freshman outside/opposite hitter Brandon Arentz (Mount Wolf, PA/Northeastern).
Downs was a consistently dependable net presence for the Lions this season. In his first year with Penn State Altoona men’s volleyball, the junior transfer made a big impact in the NEAC, ranking second in the conference in solo blocks (21), fourth in total blocks (72), sixth in block assists (51), and eighth in blocks per set (0.67). Downs was also second in the NEAC in hitting percentage (.366), a mark that also ranks 23rd-best in the NCAA Division III. Additionally, he was 14th in the conference in points (278.5), 15th in kills (217), 17th in points per set (2.6), and 18th in kills per set (2.01).
Arentz, in just his freshman campaign, proved himself to be one of the most well-rounded players in the NEAC. As a blocker, he ranks first in the conference in solo blocks (24), ninth in total blocks (59), 15th in blocks per set (0.57), and 19th in block assists (35). Arentz was also ninth in digs (215) and 11th in digs per set (2.09). He was also strong offensively, ranking 17th in the NEAC in kills (211), kills per set (2.05), and points (264.5) and 18th in points per set (2.6). During the season, Arentz was awarded ECAC Division III South Region Rookie of the Week status three times, as well as AMCC and NEAC Player of the Week awards once each.
Penn State Altoona men’s volleyball went 24-6 overall and 15-1 in the NEAC this season. The Lions open up the NEAC Tournament tomorrow, Friday, April 14 when they host SUNY Polytechnic Institute for a semifinal round playoff match at Penn State Altoona’s Adler Gym at 4:00 p.m.