As one often does when taking on a new coaching position, I’ve been learning more about the history of volleyball at Medaille College. Some of it was stuff I noted during my initial research. That was mostly related to recent history. There’s some interesting stuff looking back further, though.

Women

Broadly speaking, the Medaille women’s teams have not been massively successful, though they’ve had a couple good patches. There’s a history going back to 2002 on the Athletics website which documents this.

  • One AMCC conference tournament championship, with a resulting trip to the NCAA tournament (2012)
  • One shared regular season conference championship, but lost in the tournament final (2015)
  • Twice conference tournament semifinalists, four times knocked out in the first round of the tournament.
  • 3 of the last 4 years didn’t make the tournament after being there 7 years in a row previously (top 6 finish required).
  • 7 winning seasons in the conference out of 15, only 5 overall winning seasons out of 18.

I should note that most of this success can be credited to Jake Blasz (Jake Beiter until 2013 when he legally changed his name), who led the team from 2008-2014.

That said, I’ve also got trophies and plaques in my office for:

  • 1998 NSCAA National Invitational consolation (not really sure what that means)
  • 1999 NECVA Championships Runner-Up
  • 2001 NEAC Tournament Champions
  • 2002 NEAC Regular Season and Tournament Runner-Up (doesn’t show on our website)

The statistical records posted on the website go back to 1998. Not sure what, if anything, happened before then.

Men

The Medaille men have accumulated a lot more hardware than their counterparts on the women’s side. And a lot more name recognition. I’ve heard from multiple coaches in different places who either coached or played against Medaille in the past and remember the strength of the teams.

What shows up on the conference website goes back to 2012, when the AMCC first started to sponsor men’s volleyball).

  • Five times conference champions
  • Four conference Players of the Year
  • Two Newcombers of the Year

If we go back further things get really interesting.

  • In 2004 Medaille was a finalist in the Molten Invitational (lost to Juniata). That’s the precursor to the NCAA Division III tournament, which only started in 2012. And in 2005 they were semifinalists
  • According to the AVCA, Medaille has appeared in the Coaches Poll 139 times overall, with 50 appearances in the Top 10 (through 2020).
  • Medaille players have earned 7 All-American selections, the most recent in 2014.

All of this success was under my immediate predecessor Keith Koch. He also coached the women back in 2006, then 2015-2019. His only winning season with them, however, was in 2015 after taking over from Jake.

You’d think Medaille would have made multiple appearances in the NCAA tournament since 2012 thanks to its conference championships. Nope. None. Because of some quirks involving conference affiliation, no qualification bid was available. That’s no longer the case, however. For now, an NCAA tournament appearance is the one thing the women can point to that the men don’t have.


John Forman
John Forman

John is currently the Men's & Women's Head Volleyball Coach at Medaille College, as well as Global Director for Volleyball for Nation Academy (formerly Charleston Academy). His previous experience includes the college and university level in the US and UK, professional coaching in Sweden, and both coaching and club management at the Juniors level. Learn more on his bio page.

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