MUNCIE, Ind. - The Ball State men’s volleyball team and head coached Joel Walton announced the signing of three National Letters of Intent Wednesday. The Cardinals will welcome Brendan Surane, Alex Pia and Connor Gross for the 2014 campaign.
Surane is a 6-7 outside hitter/middle blocker from Lockport, Ill. He was a three year letterwinner at Providence Catholic High School for head coach Brett Krapil, earning the team MVP in 2012. Surane played his club volleyball for Keith Kujawa and the Ultimate Volleyball Club. He helped guide the team to a fifth place finish at Junior Nationals in 2011 and a fourth place finish in 2012. Surane also played forward for his high school’s basketball team, earning two letters.
During the 2012 season, Surane had 24 aces, 149 kills and 132 blocks. He was a member of the All-Catholic League team and the Southtown Star All-Area team in 2012. Surane was also a member of the USA Volleyball Boys’ Youth National team that won a bronze medal in the NORCECA U-19 tournament in Tijuana, Mexico. He also played on the 2012 USA Volleyball A2 High Performance team that finished fourth at the High Performance Championships in Iowa.
Pia is a 6-6 middle hitter from Johns Creek, Georgia. Georgia is not a state that has high school boys’ volleyball, so Pia spent time with the Southern Storm club team under the direction of Brian Teague. Pia has been named captain for the Southern Storm for the 2013 season. He helped lead his team to a third place finish at the 2011 AAU Nationals; the team has qualified for Nationals the last three seasons. Pia helped lead his team to fifth place at the Daytona Beach National qualifier as well as ninth place at the Richmond East Coast Qualifier.
Pia was a teammate of Surane’s on the 2012 USA Volleyball Boys’ Youth National team as well as the USA Volleyball A2 High Performance team. Pia played football and baseball for Johns Creek High School. He pitched for the varsity baseball team that finished third in the Georgia State Tournament in 2012.
The final signee, Connor Gross, is a 6-5 setter from Appleton, Wis. Gross was a three-year letterwinner at Appleton North High School and led the team the a spotless 34-0 record and the conference and state championship as a senior. For his efforts, Gross was named Wisconsin Player of the Year for volleyball as well as earning All-Area and All-Conference Player of the Year nods. As a junior he was an All-State Honorable Mention and earned spots on the All-Area and All-Conference first teams. Gross had 742 for his career and led the team in solo blocks as a senior with a .374 hitting percentage.
Gross was a setter for the Wisconsin Nightmares under head coach Matt Seidl. He also played varsity basketball for two years as a forward.
Ball State Athletics would like to welcome the three new Cardinals. The 2013 Ball State men’s volleyball team will open up its season by celebrating 50 years as a program Jan. 4-5. The first match of the season will be on Saturday, Jan. 12 against St. Francis at 7:30 p.m.