New Direction to Guide Men’s Volleyball in 2017

Glenn DeHaven (right) takes over as head coach of the Juniata Men's Volleyball program.
Glenn DeHaven (right) takes over as head coach of the Juniata Men's Volleyball program.

HUNTINGDON, Pa.- For the Juniata men's volleyball team, this season is about new beginnings. That is the case for the seven freshmen joining the Eagles. It is also a new beginning for first-year head coach Glenn DeHaven.


"The biggest thing for me is that the guys are working really hard," noted DeHaven. "We've gotten better and that's the most important thing. They have all made a commitment to get better and have done that. Some have made huge strides and some have made little strides. A long as we are getting better and working towards a bigger goal, we are going to be tough at the end of the year."



13 players return from last year's squad that finished 10-16 and qualified for the Continental Volleyball Conference (CVC) playoffs. Four seniors make up this season's Eagles led by 2016 AVCA Second Team All-American Kyle Seeley (Ellicott City, Md./Howard). Seeley led Juniata with 303 kills last year, ranking third in the conference, and added 70 total blocks. Also back is senior setter Quinn Looper (Houston, Texas/Episcopal), who recorded 373 assists in his first year as a starter in 2016. DeHaven mentioned his emotional support and described him as a player that can rally the troops when needed. In addition, Jake Dube (Altamont, NY/Guilderland) and Zach Guiciardi (Creighton, Pa./Deer Lakes) will provide added experience for the Eagles. Junior Mahlon Bender (Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin), who was second on the Eagles last season with a .361 hitting percentage, is another player who has enjoyed a good preseason and will be looked to duplicate his production from a year ago.

A couple of players looked upon to increase their workload will be Quinn Peterson (Las Vegas, Nev./Shadow Ridge) and Matt Vasinko (Loyalhanna, Pa./Derry Area). Peterson, a sophomore outside hitter, finished with 176 kills last season while Vasinko, a junior outside hitter, totaled 178 kills. DeHaven says that there will be a huge jump from Peterson and he will bring a wow factor to what the team is capable of doing. Junior Chris Heron (Las Vegas, Nev./Arbor View) is another player that DeHaven says has battled and has seen an improvement in him commanding the court and in serve receive.



Freshman Michael Young (Westlake Village, Calif./Westlake Village) has been the frontrunner at the setter position with fellow freshman Matt Schaeffer (Mount Wolf, Pa./Northeastern) progressing well according to DeHaven. He says that as Schaeffer gets better throughout the season, he will push into the lineup when needed.  


The Eagles will play a daunting schedule ahead of them this year with a total of seven ranked teams on the docket. Juniata begins its 2017 campaign against #3 Stevens this weekend at the CVC Crossover and will also face #6 UC Santa Cruz. Defending National Champion SUNY New Paltz comes to Huntingdon on January 28 and the two teams play again in New York on March 3. Others include #7 Nazareth (February 3) and #8 Vassar (March 4 and 25). Two CVC teams are ranked in #11 Rutgers Newark and #5 Stevenson. 


"I don't know if wins or losses at this point in the year is going to really determine how good we are going to be at the end of the year," said DeHaven. "Time will tell and we have some really good pieces. If we can find a way to put things together, we will be very tough for anybody especially in our own gym."


DeHaven sees his main team goals as getting better and making good choices. "This is a big picture year for this team," he said. "It has nothing to do with whether we lose the CVC Championship or whether we don't make the playoffs. The experience is going to be really good for them. They are going to learn how to be men and how to perform better in the classroom. We need to grow as individuals and understand that the groundwork that they lay this year is for bigger and better things in the future."