It does not appear that the first-ever American recruits in the history of the Brandon University Bobcats men’s volleyball team will make it to the end of the season.
Randy Preval, a 6-foot-6 middle from Queens Village, N.Y., has already turned in his jersey to BU head coach Grant Wilson and starting left side Rob McLean, who’s from East Northport, N.Y., has talked to Wilson about not returning for the second semester. Wilson said Preval decided to leave the team because of family and financial reasons.
McLean is looking at leaving because of his financial situation. Wilson said nothing is set in stone, but he does not expect McLean to return unless he gets a phone call in the next few days.
While Wilson hates to see the two leave, he knows there’s nothing he could do as a coach to help their personal situations.
"It’s certainly disappointing that it didn’t work out," he said. "You have to respect each individual’s situation and sometimes life calls before volleyball and school and we have to respect that and move ahead as a team."
Both are big losses for BU. McLean, who’s 6-foot-4, started eight of the Bobcats’ 12 matches before suffering a knee injury. He was fourth on the team with 1.94 kills per set and served eight aces.
Preval backed up starting middles Dan Boutwell and Brendan White. He appeared in six matches, averaging 1.47 kills per set and was involved in 14 blocks.
Preval’s departure leaves Brandon with only two middles. Wilson isn’t worried about losing Preval if White and Boutwell can stay healthy. If they can’t, Wilson will look at moving starting right side Roy Ching to the middle and bring Brandonite D.J. McCharles back into the starting ranks.
If McLean leaves, then third-year Australian Craig Lowe will move into the starting left-side spot.
Lowe started the last four matches for Brandon and is averaging 1.15 kills per set.
"It’s a situation where as long as we stay healthy, I don’t see it being too much of a concern," Wilson said. "It’s taking a bit of our ability to have a deep bench and (a different lineup in) different situations. In terms of our starting lineup, not too much concern there."
The Bobcats finished the first semester with a 9-3 record and are ranked seventh in the country.