This is an entry in my volleyball coaching log for the 2020-21 season.

Here’s how the AMCC final regular season standings fell out after completing the schedule over the weekend.

Hiram7-0
Geneva5-1
Medaille5-1
Penn State – Behrend4-3
Penn State – Altoona3-4
Saint Vincent2-5
Thiel1-6
Hilbert0-7

As you can see, in the battle of the two Penn State branch schools it was Behrend who came out on top. The match was a 5-setter.

Monday

Welp, my assistant’s PCR test came back positive, so any lingering hopes of post-season play were gone. The guys didn’t take it well (not surprisingly), and there was some upset at what was perceived as a lack of support from the school when their efforts to find a solution that would allow our season to continue were for naught. Unfortunately, there really wasn’t anything the school could do about it. The policy of a 10-day shutdown is clear (and others have since hit it as well), and the conference had no flexibility in pushing back the tournament because of NCAA requirements.

We had to post nominations for All-Conference by the end of the day.

Wednesday

Semifinal day for the conference tournament. Hiram was the #1 seed, and hosted Altoona, who got the #4 with Medaille out of the picture. Not surprisingly, Hiram won 3-0. The other match was also 3-0, but although Geneva was the host as the #2 seed, it was #3 Behrend who came out victorious. That was really frustrating to see as it affirmed – at least in our minds – that we could have beaten Geneva – assuming we played to our capability, of course.

Thursday

After receiving the full slate of nominees the day before for All-Conference (with liberos in a separate category), Newcomer of the Year, and Coach of the Year (all coaches are on the ballot) the day before, we completed the voting this day. One of the big decision points was a player who played in only 10 of his teams 26 sets during conference play. He certainly had All-Conference numbers from the sets he did play, but in the end I just couldn’t justify putting him on our ballot having played so little. If he was a senior I might have taken a different view, but he’s an underclassman.

Friday

That Thursday decision came back to make things interesting when it came to Player of the Year voting. I’m not entirely sure how the nominations are done, though I’m thinking it’s based on vote totals for All-Conference (players get 2 points for 1st votes, 1 point for 2nd team). The player in question was on the list of four. In this case, it’s only the ADs who are allowed to submit the school’s vote (the other stuff is done online through the SIDs).

My AD asked for my pick. I explained to her why I hadn’t put said player on my ballot and gave her the name of the selection I would make if we stuck to that principle. Since others clearly voted for the guy in the base balloting, however, I also could see a justification for giving him the PoY vote. The thing we wanted to make sure to avoid, though, was looking like we were negative voting to give our guy (who we couldn’t vote for) a better chance to win. That’s explicitly against conference rules.

Saturday

Hiram ended up winning the final, though it took them 5 sets to do so.

Looking ahead

I’ll share the conference honors in the next update, after they’ve been released.

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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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