BRISTOL, Tenn. – The King University men's volleyball team has been knocking on the door to postseason play each of the last two years, and the Tornado hope to knock down that door in 2015. King returns their top three hitters from a season ago as they set their sights on qualifying for the Conference Carolinas Tournament for the first time since the 2011 season.
Each of the last two years the Tornado have tied for the final spot in the Conference Carolinas Tournament, but each time King has lost a tie breaker, leaving them on the outside looking in. A season ago, King finished with an overall record of 9-18 while going 4-10 in conference play. King was led by third team all-conference performer Nick Serowski who ranked 10th in the league in kills per set.
Along with Serowski, Eddie Moushikhian gave head coach Ryan Booher a solid one-two punch on the offensive end. The duo accounted for nearly 60 percent of King's kills in 2014, led by Moushikhian's 309 terminations. He ranked eighth in Conference Carolinas with an average of 3.19 kills per set, but Serowski wasn't far behind, accounting for 305 total kills and an average of 3.14 kills per set. Joining the duo on the attack this year will be redshirt senior Stephen Brown and freshmen Jeff Sprayberry and Sean Luhmann.
In the middle, Mason Casner turned in a solid junior campaign, ranking third on the team with 144 kills. His attack percentage of .258 not only led the Tornado, but ranked him ninth in the league. Casner also led King with 81 total blocks and ranked eighth in Conference Carolinas with an average of 0.84 blocks per set. Junior Matthew Lychock will battle with Casner for a spot in the middle, accounting for 113 kills and 76 blocks a season ago. Redshirt freshman Adrian Besson and sophomore Chris Gerber will also vie for time in the middle for the Tornado.
At the setter position, Matthew DeLong returns after splitting time a season ago. As a sophomore, DeLong dished out 454 assists, averaging 8.11 helpers per set. He also accounted for 48 digs and 10 blocks. He will compete with freshman Nick Drooker for the starting setter spot in 2015.
In the back row, the Tornado have to replace Jeremy Funk who ranked fourth in Conference Carolinas with 214 digs last season. That sophomore duo of Chandler Wellmann and Nathan Veli will battle for the libero position. Wellmann started two of the 23 matches he played as a freshman, compiling 29 digs while Veli saw time in 10 matches for King and accounted for three digs.
King opens the season with a pair of home matches on Friday and Saturday as King hosts the University of Charleston at 7:00 p.m., on Friday and Quincy University at 8:00 p.m., on Saturday. The Tornado open the Conference Carolinas season on January 23 when they host Belmont Abbey College at 7:00 p.m. King closes the season with a home triangular against Coker College and Milligan College on April 11. The Conference Carolinas Tournament quarterfinals are slated for April 18 with the semifinals and finals taking place on April 22 and 23 at the highest remaining seed.