In each of the last two seasons the Sacred Heart men's volleyball team has improved both its conference and overall records. If the trend continues the Pioneers are poised for a fantastic year in 2011. SHU has every reason to be confident with returning seniors Roger Parent (Burlington, CT) and Tim Sadowski (Salem, NH) returning for their final collegiate season along with promising freshmen Enzo Mackenzie (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), Patrick Sibley (Valley Center, CA), Brad Borsay (Richmond, RI) and Jose Juelle (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) entering the mix.
"We keep getting more athletic players and improving our skills," said Sadowski. "The coaching the last few years has been unbelievable and it's been a great ride here at Sacred Heart so far."
It's no surprise that the program's turnaround coincides with Rob Machan taking over the program two years ago. Machan is also the head coach for the Pioneer women's volleyball team, which capped off a four year building process that led to a conference championship and a trip to the NCAA tournament this fall. Machan has equally high hopes for the men's program at Sacred Heart.
"I believe we have a very strong team for this year and we've also upgraded our schedule quite a bit," commented Machan. "It's going to be a great test for us but we have a good team."
The Pioneers finished 2010 with an 18-11 overall record and finished 5-3 in the EIVA Hay division, good for second place.. In the EIVA tournament SHU put a scare into the second seeded Princeton Tigers, taking the first set 30-28. Although Princeton came back to win 3-1, the message was delivered to the rest of the league that the Pioneers are a team on the rise.
Parent led the 2010 squad with 3.29 kills per set and added 241 digs along the back line. Sadowski averaged 11.32 assists per set in his junior season and was named to the EIVA All-Academic team. SHU also returns junior Mike Komlanc (St. Croix, Virgin Islands) who hit a team high .353 last year and recorded 2.17 kills per set along with 151 total blocks playing in the middle position.
Sacred Heart opens the season January 22 on the road against George Mason. The Pioneers will play eight home games in 2011, including a grueling opening weekend January 28-29 versus IPFW and nationally ranked Ball State. The EIVA tournament quarterfinals will be held April 23 with semifinal matches taking place the April 28 followed by the conference title game April 30.