Loyola outside attacker Mike Bunting is the inaugural winner of the Off the Block Fan Choice Player of the Year.
Bunting defeated UC Irvine outside attacker Cory Yoder on Monday in the championship match of the Off the Block Fan Choice Player of the Year tournament, a competition that lets the fans determine the winner through online voting.
More than 1,000 votes were cast in the championship match with Bunting receiving 63.9 percent of the vote to beat Yoder 818-463.
Bunting finished the 2011 season with a 4.21 kills per game average and a .372 attack percentage — one of three players to be in the nation’s top 10 for both categories. The junior was a Second-Team All-American and First-Team All-MIVA selection as Loyola advanced to the MIVA championship match for the second consecutive season.
The Off the Block Fan Choice Player of the Year is a six-round 64-player bracket tournament pitting some of best Division I-II men’s volleyball players in head-to-head matchups. The player who received the most online votes in their match advanced to the next round.
Several volleyball organizations give a National Player of the Year award at the end of each season. However, the Off the Block Fan Choice Player of the Year is the only player of the year award solely determined by the fans.
Bunting, a No. 4 seed in the Kawika Shoji Region, defeated Sacred Heart’s Enzo Mackenzie, Ball State’s Anders Nelson, Hawai’i’s Jonas Umlauft, UC Santa Barbara’s Vince Devany and Grand Canyon’s Trent Bruns to reach the championship.
Through the six rounds of the first-year tournament more than 15,000 votes were cast.