Justin Rich and Head Coach Jake Bluhm Take Home Top Honors as 4 Wildcats Garner All-Conference Nods

Justin Rich and Head Coach Jake Bluhm Take Home Top Honors as 4 Wildcats Garner All-Conference Nods

GANSEVOORT, N.Y.- Fresh off taking home the NEAC regular season title, the SUNYIT Men's Volleyball team (18-5, 7-1 NEAC) added a group of individual accolades to go along with their team success. The top honors of the year went to Justin Rich (Hamburg, N.Y./ Eden) who took home Defensive Player of the Year, and Head Coach Jake Bluhm who was named the NEAC Coach of the Year.

As a junior, Rich anchored the Wildcat defense, recording a team high 196 digs on the season as the team's libero. Rich also finished second in the conference with 2.51 digs per set, and was a three-time NEAC Defensive Player of the Week winner. Rich was named to the All-Conference 2nd Team as well. 

In his third season as Head Coach, Jake Bluhm wins his first NEAC Coach of the Year award for men's volleyball, and second overall as he picked up the same honor this past fall for stewarding the SUNYIT Women's Volleyball Team to a record number of wins. Similarly, Bluhm led this year's men's team to a school best 18-5 record and a dominant 7-1 record in conference play, which was good enough to earn SUNYIT the title of NEAC Regular Season Champions.

The Wildcats also had several players named to NEAC All-Conference teams. Alan Davids (Hilton, N.Y. / Hilton) headlined the First Team selections for the Wildcats as the sophomore followed up his Freshmen of the Year performance from last year with another big year for the Wildcats. Davids led the NEAC in hitting percentage at .366 as he gathered 126 kills on the season. 

The Wildcats had three players earn Second Team honors as well. Joining Rich were junior Jeff Knapp (Hamlin, N.Y. / Brockport), and sophomore Sean Conte (Hilton, N.Y. / Hilton).

Knapp had a stellar season, controlling the team's offense as setter and tying for the highest assists-per-set average in the conference at 8.25 a/s. The honor is Knapp's second-straight selection to a NEAC All-Conference team. 

Conte finished the year as SUNYIT's team leader in kills, and ended the regular season 5th in the NEAC in both total kills and kills-per-set. The big lefty has now been named to an all-conference team in each of his two seasons at SUNYIT.

To read the full NEAC All-Conference press release, click here.