BUENA VISTA, Va. — The Southern Virginia University men's volleyball team completed their historic season with the most wins in program history while setting several team records including winning the University's first conference title and appeared in their first-ever NCAA Division III Tournament.
The Knights ended the 2019 season earning a 23-4 record with four victories over top-15 opponents to receive the program's highest ranking at No. 5. Southern Virginia was just as dominant in conference play with a flawless 11-0 record in the Continental Volleyball Conference (CVC).
"We had an exceptional season with many highs and only a few lows," said head coach Tom Peterson. "The odds of our team going undefeated was improbable but that is just what we did. Winning conference demonstrates the calibur of this team."
Southern Virginia was led by third-year and CVC Coach of the Year Tom Peterson, winning their first regular-season conference title followed by a CVC Tournament Championship after they defeated Juniata College in a five-set thriller 3-2, receiving an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament. In just his third season at the helm, Peterson has now surpassed 60 wins.
The Knights registered more individual accolades this season than ever before with Nahuel Recabarren and Paul "Cougar" Clark garnering AVCA All-American First Team honors, the University's first-ever.
Recabarren led the Knights with 4.29 kills per set and hit .315 while averaging 0.46 blocks per set, 1.12 digs per set. He recorded a single-game record of 33 kills against Juniata College in the CVC Championship game. He earned AVCA Division III National Player of the Week Jan. 22, All-CVC First Team, CVC Tournament MVP and CVC All-Tournament Team honors.
Clark on the season averaged 3.07 kills per set, 1.74 digs per set and 0.41 blocks per set while hitting .319 adding All-CVC First Team honors for the second consecutive season.
Danny Aina was named AVCA All-American Honorable Mention, CVC Libero of the Year, All-CVC Second Team and CVC All-Tournament team after his stellar play finishing second in total digs with 243 and third in the CVC at 2.48 digs per set.
Senior Colby Wilson earned an All-CVC Second Team selection anchoring the middle leading the team with blocks (61) and hitting .339.
Kaipo Tagaloa was the fifth Knight to receive honors with an All-CVC Third Team finish leading the conference with 9.87 assists per set.
"This was a season of firsts," said Peterson. "I am proud of the honors that each player received, but we know that these are awards that we accomplished as a team. This is a team sport and we win and succeed together. This is a group of great young men who chose to make themselves into something special."
Southern Virginia loses major pieces as Aina, Wilson and Mitch Usevitch will all graduate this spring.
The Knights season concluded in the first round of the NCAA Division III Tournament in a 3-0 loss against Wells College. Southern Virginia ends the season ranked No. 10 in the AVCA Top-15 Coaches Poll.