ALLIANCE, Ohio – The University of Mount Union men's volleyball team makes its debut as the school's 24th varsity sport when the Purple Raiders begin their inaugural season Tuesday, January 22 at 7 p.m. at Wittenberg University.
The new program features seven freshmen, two sophomores and a senior for first year head coach Matt Mihelic.
Mihelic comes to Mount Union after a two-year stint as the Boys Program Director for the Ohio Valley Region of USA Volleyball where he was responsible for the participation and growth of boys volleyball throughout Ohio, Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Prior to USA Volleyball, Mihelic served the head boys volleyball coach at Archbishop Hoban High School in Akron, Ohio from 2003 to 2015. While at Hoban, Mihelic led the Knights to five regional championships, two state-runner up finishes and a pair of state championships in 2008 and 2010. In during Mihelic's final two seasons at Hoban, he coached Mount Union's freshman setter, Jeremy Leyden (Cuyahoga Falls/Archbishop Hoban).
Leyden will be setting up the offense for sophomore outside hitter Justin Sibbel (Stow/Stow-Munroe Falls) and senior Jordan Spurling (Columbus/Groveport Madison); freshmen middle hitters Jimmy Entz (Corapolis, Pa./Our Lady of the Sacred Heart), Kaleb Krebs (Pittsburgh, Pa./Seton LaSalle) and Sam Matonis (Macedonia/Walsh Jesuit); and freshman opposite hitter Mark Bruns (Columbus/Upper Arlington).
Defending the back row for the Raiders will be the defensive specialist team for sophomore Andrew Chen (Brooklyn City, Minn./Park Center Senior), freshman Steven Grenier (Hawthorn Woods, Ill./Lake Zurich) and freshman Cullen Vereb (Jefferson Hills, Pa./Seton LaSalle).
Chen and Spurling will be the captains for the 2019 season.
"Being a first year team and trying to throw everything together…we are not after the 'woe is me' type of thing. I am really instituting in the guys, 'we are going after wins this year.' We are going for as many as we possibly can," said Mihelic. "I really feel like we have 10 solid guys and they play together very well."
"We're excited about the year and ready to get started."
The Raiders will be an NCAA Division III independent in 2019 with games in Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania. Mount Union's first home match will be Thursday, Jan. 24 at 7 p.m. against Penn State-Behrend at the McPherson Academic and Athletic Complex.
Admission will be FREE and promotions are planned for the home opener.