Iandolo ‘setting’ the table for men’s volleyball

Two words describe the way all-American senior setter Mike Iandolo carves up opposing defenses for the No. 15 Lewis University men’s volleyball team: smooth and effortless. The 6’ 7” senior from Orlando, Fla. possesses an unparalleled skill set, as well as an exceptional volleyball IQ, creating countless headaches for opposing coaches and players alike.

“I think he’s a phenomenal athlete,” head coach Dan Friend said. “To have that type of athlete in the setting position is great. Not to mention, he’s a three-year starter for us and a two time all-conference player.”

Iandolo displays a feathery touch on his passes, yet also has the ability to be moved into the middle and outside hitter positions to deliver a kill if need be. He also has the skill to throw down a service ace at any given time. Iandolo leads the Flyers with eight aces on the year and has helped engineer a very efficient offensive attack. Lewis is averaging 15.12 kills and 14.09 assists per game, both second best in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association conference.

“I think he brings a lot to the table for us,” head coach Dan Friend said. “He’s always touching every single ball for us as a setter.”

Iandolo juggled between setting and hitting up through high school, but made the transition to becoming a full-time setter in college.

“You get to control everything,” Iandolo said. “You’re like the quarterback, so everything that happens offensively is on my shoulders. It’s a lot of responsibility, and I like it. It’s challenging.”

As talented as he is, it’s hard to imagine that Iandolo didn’t even consider playing volleyball until the seventh grade. Up until then, his main focus was basketball. Iandolo played the power forward/center position, but this all changed when the school’s volleyball coach kept urging him to give volleyball a shot.

“It is such a complete team game,” Iandolo said. “Everyone on the team has to be doing their job in order for you to win.”

Iandolo’s collegiate career started off at Long Beach State in California, but with mixed emotions towards the school and volleyball program, he decided a change was needed. That is when he looked to his Orlando high school volleyball friend Nick Perakes for some answers. Perakes, who was playing volleyball for Lewis at the time, provided Mike with the “inside scoop” on the program. Iandolo liked what he heard from Perakes and head coach Dan Friend, so he decided to transfer to Lewis. It also didn’t hurt that he was born in Chicago and still has relatives that live in the area.

Since his arrival at Lewis in 2008, the Flyers are 29 games over .500 (49-20). Mike is currently 23 assists shy of becoming the Flyers’ new career-leader. He sits at 2,367 assists. He already holds the school record for assists per set (12.26) and service aces per set (0.41). His athletic prowess was recognized last year with a selection to the All-MIVA First Team.

Iandolo is no slouch in the classroom either. He is a two-time recipient of Lewis’ Delahanty Award for academic excellence among student athletes and was named to the MIVA Academic All-Conference twice.

Even with all of the success Iandolo has endured, he continues to stay grounded. Mike feels he can be even more consistent from his position, which is a scary thought for the competition.

“I think the biggest thing he has worked to get better at is becoming a better setter,” Friend said. “That is crucial to us becoming a better team. This year he has had to work into four new hitters in different positions, and I think he is doing a great job of trying to learn all of these new hitters in order to help us become successful.”

Iandolo considers upsetting No. 6 UCLA at home last year in five sets (22-30, 30-26, 30-26,
21-30, 15-10) the highlight of his career and has enjoyed being part of the winning tradition that we have come to expect from Lewis volleyball. However, there is still one task he would like to cross off of his list before he leaves Romeoville.

“I’ve got one more thing that I want to do and that’s to win our conference championship. That’s all I am trying to do this year before I graduate.”

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