Palisadian Will Bantle is making his mark on the volleyball court at Penn State University. He had a stellar season in 2020 as a redshirt sophomore, earning All-Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association second team honors, making the EIVA All-Academic Team and making the All-Big Ten Academic Team for the second straight season.
Bantle was named EIVA Defensive Player of the Week in January and was one of three Nittany Lions to play in all 68 sets, starting all 19 matches as the primary libero, leading the squad with 155 digs and 2.28 digs per set and recording a .946 serve-receive percentage with the most attempts on the team (354).
He had eight matches without a receiving error and posted at least five digs in 18 matches, with three matches in double figures, despite the season being shortened and no championships held because of the COVID-19 pandemic. His 155 digs ranked second in the EIVA and his 2.28 digs per set ranked third.
In a match against No. 5 Lewis on January 18 he recorded a career-high 19 digs and did not commit a receiving error (33-33) to extend his errorless receiving streak to three straight matches. On February 14 versus No. 11 Princeton he had eight digs without a receiving error to begin conference play. The next day in a sweep of NJIT he had another flawless serve-receive match with 12 digs and on March 18 at Big Ten rival Ohio State he came up with 16 digs.
As a redshirt freshman in 2019, Bantle made the All-EIVA second team, the EIVA All-Academic Team and the All-Big Ten Academic team and was Penn State’s primary libero for 24 matches until suffering a season-ending injury. He led the Nittany Lions with 149 digs and 1.82 digs per set, had a .937 serve-receive percentage in 510 attempts, finished third on the team with 46 assists, recorded at least one dig in every match he played and tallied 35 digs in a four-match stretch from January 18-26. He had five digs in his college debut at Ohio State in January 2019. He utilized his redshirt as a freshman in 2018.
Bantle, who is majoring in advertising, captained Loyola High’s 2016-17 CIF Division I state championship team and was named to the AVCA’s All-America first team. He played beach volleyball for Manhattan Beach Surf and he took first place at the USA Volleyball Beach High Performance U19 Championships in 2015.
Bantle’s sister Taylor played volleyball at Brown University (2011-14) and his brother Jackson played volleyball at UCLA (2014-17).
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