LEXINGTON, KY -- The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) is proud to announce its 10th annual AVCA Men's Division III All-America Teams.
Nazareth College leads the way this season, with a total of four athletes honored on the first and second teams. Springfield College is next in line with three while Juniata College, M.I.T, UC Santa Cruz and Carthage College each have two.
Springfield senior Greg Falcone headlines the year's recipients as the only four-time AVCA All-American after being selected to the second team in 2010, 2011 and the first team in 2012. Carthage's Connor Wexter is the only other repeat first team recipient. Rivier's Aaron Almario, Vassar's Matthew Elgin, M.I.T's Matt Hohenberger and Kean's Steve Vahalla are the only members of the second team who have earned All-American honors multiple times.
The selections were made by the AVCA Men's Division III Volleyball All-America Committee: chairperson Kevin Moore (Juniata College); Todd Hollenback (University of California, Santa Cruz); L.J. Marx (Carthage); Allison Stack (Baruch College); Cal Wickens (Nazareth College); Paul Dill (M.I.T.); Braden Zamore (Daniel Webster); John Hutton (D'Youville); Craig Martin (Mount Ida); Don Perkins (Kean) and Richard Gary (Wells).
AVCA Division III First-Team All-America
Joe Bortak, a 6-7 middle blocker for Juniata College, is a sophomore from Jeannette, Pennsylvania. He ranks as one of the most efficient hitters in the game, ranking in the top-five nationally with a .459 hitting percentage. He helped lead the Eagles to their first ever CVC Championship, and they will play Rivier in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. After earning second team honors a year ago, this is his second overall AVCA All-American recognition.
Brendan Chang, a 5-9 defensive specialist for M.I.T, is a freshman from Laytonsville, Maryland. His 446 digs leads the nation while his 3.35 digs per set average places him second. In what the Engineers hope to be a bright future for Chang, this is his first AVCA All-American award.
Greg Falcone, a 6-8 middle blocker for Springfield College, is a senior from Lindenhurst, New York. There isn't a lot the big senior hasn't accomplished in his four years as a member of the Pride, but 2013 saw him maintain the same high level of play. Nationally, he ranks first in hitting percentage (.535), blocks per set (1.23) and in the top-20 in aces per set (0.44). He helped lead the Pride to the top seed in the NCAA Tournament. Falcone is now a four-time AVCA All-American.
Tim Ferriter, a 6-5 outside hitter for SUNY New Paltz, is a freshman from Rochester, New York. Ferriter is already regarded as one of the top players in the league in just his first year playing NCAA volleyball. He was the first player in program history to be named UVC Rookie of the Year after a very impressive 2013 campaign that saw him record 3.29 kills per set and a .343 hitting percentage. Ferriter earns his first AVCA All-American honor.
Robert Kraft, a 6-7 middle blocker for Nazareth College, is a senior from Waretown, New Jersey. Manning the middle, Kraft is ranked second in the nation hitting at a .488 clip only behind fellow AVCA First-Team All-American Greg Falcone. The First-Team All-UVC player ranks second on the Golden Flyers in total blocks with 68. This is his second AVCA All-American honor after appearing on the second team a year ago.
Salvatore La Cavera III, a 6-1 outside hitter for UC Santa Cruz, is a senior from Huntington Beach, California. La Cavera III established himself as one of the premier offensive players in the game after being named to the CVC All-West Team. He ranks nationally in the top-10 in kills (3.83) and points per set (4.27), as the Banana Slugs will match up with Nazareth in the NCAA Tournament. The California native was an AVCA Second-Team All-American in 2010 and a first teamer in 2011.
Luke Lawatsch, a 6-5 middle blocker for Nazareth College, is a sophomore from Penfield, New York. Lawatsch leads the team and is third in the country hitting at a .485 clip, while on defense he leads the Golden Flyers in blocks with 67. The All-UVC First-Teamer is now a first time AVCA All-American.
Mike Pelletier, a 6-5 outside hitter for Springfield College, is a senior from Burnt Hills, New York. As one of the top players for the No. 1 team in the nation, Pelletier leads the Pride averaging 3.23 kills per set and is second behind teammate Falcone with 28 service aces. Springfield will begin their national title defense this weekend when they take on Kean. Pelletier is an AVCA All-American for the first time.
EJ Wells-Spicer, a 5-11 setter for Nazareth College, is a senior from Phelps, New York. The UVC Player of the Year led the 34-1 Golden Flyers and is ranked first nationally averaging 11.55 assists per set. He also recorded 31 service aces, 142 digs and 28 total blocks. Wells-Spicer is now a two-time AVCA All-American after making it onto the second team in 2011.
Connor Wexter, a 6-1 setter for Carthage College, is a junior from New Lenox, Illinois. Ranking second in the country behind Wells-Spicer in assists, averaging 11.49 per set, Wexter helped set the Red Men to a .271 team hitting percentage. For his efforts, Wexter was named the Continental Volleyball Conference Player of the Year. The Illinois native has been named an AVCA All-American in his three years of collegiate volleyball.
AVCA Division III Second-Team All-America
Aaron Almario, a 6-7 middle hitter for Rivier University, is a junior from Alhambra, California. A two-time First-Team All-GNAC selection, he has been a fierce presence in the middle all season for the Raiders amassing 258 kills and 131 blocks. His 1.24 blocks per set average is good for third in the country while his .371 hitting percentage placed him second on the No. 15-ranked team. Almario was an AVCA Second-Team All-American last year, making this his second selection.
Steven Coniglio, a 6-5 middle blocker for Baruch College, is a junior from Old Bethpage, New York. He led the Bearcats to their fifth consecutive CUNYAC Championship with his incredibly efficient .440 hitting percentage, good for sixth in the country and leads the team. After a 33-win season that saw them win a record 16 in a row, Baruch will play Stevens on Friday in the NCAA Tournament. Coniglo is a first-time AVCA All-American.
Matthew Elgin, a 6-6 middle hitter for Vassar College, is a senior from Farmington, NY. In 103 sets played this season, he leads the Brewers and is ranked fourth nationally with a .467 hitting percentage. He also finished the season averaging 3.46 points and 105 total blocks. This is Elgin's second consecutive season being selected an AVCA Second-Team All-American.
Matt Hohenberger, a 6-7 outside hitter for M.I.T, is a senior from St. Louis, Missouri. Helping the Engineers to a top-15 ranking for the duration of the season, Hohenberger proved to be one of the dominant forces in men's volleyball. The Missouri native is currently ranked in the top-5 in both kills (4.10) and points per set (4.76) while leading his team in service aces (53). He is now a two-time AVCA All-American after his first team selectiona year ago.
Paul Kuhn, a 6-7 outside hitter for Juniata College, is a sophomore from York, Pennsylvania. He is the Eagles offensive leader this year with the highest attack, kill, ace and point totals against CVC opponents. The Pennsylvania native also led the team in service aces with 31. Kuhn is a first-time AVCA All-American.
Jimmy O'Leary, a 6-6 middle blocker for Springfield College, is a junior from Reading, Pennsylvania. The third member of the Pride to be named an AVCA All-American, O'Leary enters the NCAA Championship ranked nationally in the top-10 in blocks per set with 1.07. This marks his first selection as an AVCA All-American.
Mauro Salinas, a 6-2 libero for UC Santa Cruz, is a senior from San Leandro, California. He finished the regular season as the top player in the country averaging 3.42 digs per set, just 0.07 more than the second-ranked Brendan Chang. Truly one of the best defensive players in the sport, Salinas is now an AVCA All-American for the first time.
Jon Storm, a 6-5 outside hitter for Carthage College, is a sophomore from Naperville, Illinois. Competing in 94 sets, Storm finished the regular season ranked second on the team with 332 kills, good for 3.53 per set. His 28 service aces led the Red Men. The Illinois native is a first-time AVCA All-American.
Steve Vahalla, a 6-6 outside hitter for Kean University, is a senior from Bloomfield, New Jersey. On Sunday in the opening game of the NCAA Tournament, Vahalla led all players with 17 kills over Endicott to advance to the next round in Rochester, NY. The Skyline Conference Player of the Year once again showed he is one of the top all-around players in the country, ranking nationally in points per set (4.41), aces per set (0.48) and is third on the team with 160 digs. This is now Vahalla's second consecutive year as an AVCA Second-Team All-American.
Tim Zyburt, a 6-6 outside hitter for Nazareth College, is a freshman from Wheaton, Illinois. He leads No. 2 ranked Nazareth with 298 kills while also tallying 117 digs. As just a freshman, Zyburt certainly has a bright future as one of the top outsides in the game.
AVCA Media Relations & Awards Support Specialist