Release courtesy of Edgewood College athletics communications
MADISON, Wis. – The Edgewood College Athletic Department will be growing beginning in the 2020-21 season and will be doing so with the addition of a sport with great tradition in the Madison area: men's volleyball. The Eagles have announced men's volleyball will join its varsity sports lineup with competition slated to begin during the 2020-21 academic year.
"This is an exciting time for Edgewood College and the Southwest Wisconsin Volleyball Community!" said Eagles Director of Athletics Al Brisack. "Having a men's team that will compete in one of the premier D-III men's volleyball conferences will be so exciting for our campus community and for the Madison area boys that want to see and be a part of great volleyball. Our women's volleyball program has had a great deal of success. It will be fun to watch the two programs lift each other up. Of course, the Edgedome is an amazing volleyball venue. We expect the crowd excitement to be deafening for every powerful and fast-paced match."
In adding the sport, the Eagles will join one of the top men's volleyball conferences in the country in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference. By 2020-21, the conference will have 13 members with both the Eagles and Wisconsin Lutheran College joining the league standings. Wisconsin Lutheran will add the sport this upcoming season, but will not take part in the conference lineup.
The NACC only began sponsoring men's volleyball beginning in the 2018 season but has already seen a tremendous amount of success in the sport. In 2018 Dominican University qualified for the Final Four in the NCAA Tournament. Two other NACC programs ended the 2019 season ranked in the national poll, Benedictine University checking in at No. 7 and MSOE No. 14.
"Men's volleyball is such a great addition to Edgewood College Athletics," Eagles women's volleyball Head Coach Paul Schlomer said. "The men's game is so physical and fast-paced. I cannot wait to see the Edgedome packed cheering on our team as they fly around getting big kills and blocks. The presence of more volleyball on campus will further demonstrate how great the sport is. I think watching our guys play will surprise casual fans of our sport and will only strengthen our campus community."
The addition of men's volleyball for Edgewood College also offers a collegiate opportunity for the sport in the Madison area. The Madison area has a great tradition in the sport, dating all the way back to 1947 when Madison West won the first-ever WIAA State Championship. There was no state championship in 1948, but Madison Central won the next two titles in 1949 and 1950.
All in all, Madison schools have qualified for a total of 22 state tournaments with Madison West leading the way with 22. In addition, Middleton has qualified for 11 state tournaments (all since 2002), including each of the last six years.
Madison is also home to Jeff Nygaard, a Madison La Follette graduate who competed in the 2004 Summer Olympics in beach volleyball. Nygaard was also a member of the United States Men's Olympic National Indoor Team in 1996 and 2000.
Edgewood College will become the 9th school in the state of Wisconsin to add Men's Volleyball as a collegiate sport. Of those eight other schools, six compete in the NACC. Men's volleyball traditionally runs from January through late April at the collegiate level.
A national search is underway to find the Eagles first men's volleyball coach.