Eight Men's Volleyball Players Earn All-GPAC Notice
- Posted Wednesday, April 14, 2021
- Updated Wednesday, May 12, 2021
(Tuesday, April 13; Sioux Center, Iowa) The Great Plains Athletic Conference has announced its first ever Men’s Volleyball All-GPAC teams following the conclusion of the recently completed 2021 season. Dordt had eight athletes honored in voting done by the conference coaches.
Andres Guzman (Freshman; Bogota, Colombia) and Caleb Kulesza (Sophomore; Chicago, Illinois) were named to the first-team while Luke Nelson (Sophomore; Oak Grove, Minnesota), Levi Ewald (Junior; Terrace, British Columbia) and Shavon Barker (Senior; Bridgetown, Barbados) were included on the second-team. Boris Le (Freshman; Melbourne, Australia), Jeremy Van Belle (Senior; Lethbridge, Alberta) and Adam Van Elburg (Sophomore; Thunder Bay, Ontario) were included in the honorable mention category.
Guzman averaged 2.65 kills per set with a .156 kill efficiency in 62 sets played this season and he had a 94.5 serve receive efficiency and put in 19 service aces.
““Andres showed incredible growth this season as his attack percentage in January and February was 0.054. In March and April his attack percentage grew considerably to 0.315. He has incredible power and physicality that became more dominant as the season continued. Teams around the conference would scheme a triple block against him and he still found ways to score. What impressed me the most about his season was his transformation into understanding and trusting the on-court and off-court system that is encompassed by The Defender Way. He has a very bright future and I am excited about the discoveries he will continue to make in all areas of his life,” said Dordt volleyball coach Chad Hanson.
Kulesza led the team with 4.13 kills per set with a .259 kill efficiency and he got to 2.15 digs per outing. Kulesza also had 10 service aces and handled 94.5 percent of his serve receptions cleanly.
“Caleb had a huge sophomore year as he not only led our team in kills but also led the conference. We relied on him in every single rotation as he often touched the ball as a server, digger, passer, blocker or attacker. For Caleb to be named to the First Team is indicative of how much of an impression he made on the other conference coaches. Not only is he a quality athlete, but he is solid in his walk with the Lord as he lives out The Defender Way,” said Hanson.
Nelson led the team in blocks with a 1.03 per set average and he averaged 1.34 kills per set and had 15 service aces.
“Luke is deserves any recognition that comes his way as he worked incredibly hard and competed at higher and higher levels each week of the season. He developed new routes for attacking on offense while also setting personal goals defensively of getting more block terminations. This season he broke his personal records of kills in a match (10) and blocks in a match (12). Further, he finished the regular season ranked 11th in the NAIA in blocks/set. Luke not only strove for excellence and competed at a high level, he also desired to serve the Lord through all areas of his life. He had an incredible sophomore year and we are excited for his growth ahead,” said Hanson.
Ewald led team in digs with 2.24 per set and he led the tea in service aces with 20 and he was the top serve receiver with a 95 percent efficiency.
“Levi was a strong on-court stabilizer for us in ball control areas, and he was a very effective server. He is a physically tough athlete and created confidence for our defensive system when he was vocal within the rally and between points,” said Hanson. “Levi’s leadership helped our program continue to grow as the season progressed. He is a high achiever and we are so blessed for the ways that he lives his life to serve the Lord and others through The Defender Way.”
Barker was second on the team in blocks per set with 1.02 per set and he averaged just under a kill per set.
“Shavon’s career has been filled with enormous block terminations and further moments of thunderous kills, all of which send him celebrating jubilantly around the court with teammates. This season, he produced a continuous wall against opposing attackers and finished ranked 12th in the NAIA in blocks/set. Shavon’s growth in all areas of his life has been more and more evident as he has lived out The Defender Way and served the Lord with all his might,” said Hanson.
Le put up 4.67 assists per set and he averaged 1.55 digs per outing.
“Boris entered our program in January and quickly established himself as a strong setter in our offensive system. He was propelled into the starting line-up in mid-February and gained more and more confidence as the season continued,” said Hanson. “It was really exciting to see his offensive location and tempo and decision-making ability grow. He has a strong future and his work ethic will align with his on-court maturing in our system as he seeks to continue to live out The Defender Way.”
Van Belle averaged 3.14 assists per set in his final season with the Defenders and Van Elburg averaged just under a kill per set.
“Jeremy expanded his role with our program this season by stepping into a setting position and playing three front row rotations blocking and running our offense. His work ethic, competitive spirit, and boundless energy were contagious. Daily, Jeremy worked his hardest and asked others around him to do the same. He embodies The Defender Way and we are so blessed for how he gave of himself for our program. This honor is well deserved,” said Hanson. “Adam had a solid sophomore season with different moments of timely brilliance either in the kill or block categories. He discovered new ways to contribute through his three front row rotations as an attacker and blocker.”
The Defenders completed the season 7-11 and were 3-3 in GPAC play, finishing second in league play.