BUENA VISTA, Va. — The Southern Virginia University men's volleyball team graduates four student-athletes who have contributed to the program's success while leading the team to the first Continental Volleyball Conference (CVC) Championship during the 2018-2019 season.
The Knights ended the shortened season with an overall 12-3 record while securing a perfect 4-0 conference record, which included a 3-2 victory over No. 14 Juniata College.
Offensively, Southern Virginia finished 18th in the nation with a .261 combined hitting average while finishing in the top 50 in kills per set with 11.28. The Knights thrived at the serve finishing 11th in the country in aces per set with 2.11 beating last year's 1.78 aces per set and a 22nd finish in the country.
On the defensive end of the ball, Southern Virginia held its opponents to a .178 hitting percentage, placing them in the top 50 in the country.
Southern Virginia Men's Volleyball Seniors
Tyler McCreadie joined the team last year after playing three years of basketball for Southern Virginia and has since contributed valuable minutes to the team's success. The middle blocker collected 41 total kills as a Knight while averaging a .266 hitting percentage. McCreadie recorded eight service aces and 17 blocks this season with a career-high coming against Elizabethtown with seven total blocks. Tyler will graduate this year, majoring in Bio-Chemistry and plans to go to dental school after this year and become a dentist.
"This year Tyler progressed more than even he probably imagined," said head coach Tom Peterson. "He was an intimidating presence on the volleyball court and his personality greatly helped our team chemistry."
As a four-year men's volleyball player for Southern Virginia University, Monte Tukumoeatu averaged 1.17 digs per set and recorded 211 digs while also collecting 32 assists. Tukumoeatu tallied 48 assists this season and recorded a career-high 11 digs this year against Augustana on Jan. 17. After graduating with a Bio-Chemistry degree this year, Monte has plans of going back home to Salt Lake City, Utah, to either continue his studies in Forensic Science or pursue a medical career.
"Monte is one of our team's founding fathers (here from the inception of our volleyball program)," said coach Peterson. "His positive, and sometimes self-effacing personality, had a great calming effect on our team. Whether Monte was on the floor, or on the bench, or even in the stands, he made our team better."
Paul Clark averaged 2.46 kills per set, hit .350 and collected 1.11 digs per set this year. Clark set a season-high against Cal Lutheran with 16 kills and a career-high coming against Elmira in 2017 with 24 while hitting 1.000 with 11 kills on 11 total attempts against Elizabethtown on Feb. 29. The Centerville, Ohio native recorded 75 assists, 90 total blocks, and 116 service aces and holds the program record in total kills with 919. Clark is a three-time All-CVC First Team member and earned AVCA All-American First Team Honors in 2019. Clark will graduate this year with a degree in Liberal Arts and plans to continue his volleyball career playing professionally and coaching.
"Paul has played a vital role in our program's success playing for us over the past four seasons. Paul's desire to not only elevate himself and his teammates has led to many well-deserved accolades on both a team and individual level highlighted by his NCAA First Team All-American honors last season."
Kaipo Tagaloa recorded 8.76 assists per set with a season-high coming this year against No. 4 Dominican (IL) with 53 assists. Tagaloa leaves Southern Virginia as the all-time assists leader with 2902 and assists per set with 9.27. The Lincoln, Nebraska native amassed 150 kills, 86 service aces, and 519 digs, averaging 1.66 digs per set in his career. Tagaloa recorded a career-high 55 assists versus No. 5 Stevenson in 2019 and 13 digs against UC Santa Cruz. Tagaloa is a two-time All-CVC team member earning All-CVC Second Team this year and All-CVC Third Team in 2019. Tagaloa will graduate from Southern Virginia University with a degree in Psychology and wants to coach volleyball and play professionally following graduation, along with playing rugby professionally.
"Kaipo is one of only two players that have played at Southern Virginia for all four years and has been our starting setter since," said coach Peterson. "It will be a big plus for our team to have a great player and a great person like Kaipo helping to make our team culture be even better than ever."