The top 5 men’s volleyball stories of the week

It’s your top five men’s volleyball story list, but with a twist.

Every Sunday during the men’s volleyball season Off the Block will post the top five best men’s volleyball stories of the week from around the nation. The list, though, is based more on how well the reporter wrote and covered the story rather than just what happened on the court.


Off the Block will be primarily looking at a college newspapers — they provide the majority of coverage to the sport — but occasionally it will include some well written men’s volleyball articles from professional newspapers.

In many communities volleyball is a non-mainstream sport that has a niche following. One of the exciting things for reporters covering volleyball, though,is finding that interesting angle that could appeal to volleyball and non-volleyball fans.

Going beyond the boxscore and game notes to provide readers with insight on the team that they can’t got anywhere else is one of the most important skills for a sports reporter.

This list is to honor those efforts.

Penn State’s Russell following father and brother footsteps
John Stuetz | The Daily Collegian
Penn State freshman middle attacker Aaron Russell comes from a long family-line of great volleyball players, including his older brother and father. Russell in this personality profile discusses his rise in volleyball and how he learned the game at a young age.

Ball State working on new style of offense
Andrew Mishler | The Ball State Daily News
Ball State after opening the conference season 0-2 decided to change its offensive system and a run quicker offense to its outside attackers. This news-feature story examines why Ball State made the mid-season change and how the players are adapting to the new offensive system.

UCLA intends to return to winning ways
Kevin Bowman | Daily Bruin
No. 1 UCLA lost to Long Beach State on Tuesday to snap its nation-best 10-match winning streak, but for many Bruin players they were able to look past the loss. This article, which uses a nice anecdotal lead to bring the readers into the story, discusses how the team moved on from the loss to prepare for its upcoming matches.

Penn State stays loose with fun rituals
John Stuetz and Amanda August | The Daily Collegian
Penn State players have developed an odd pre-practice ritual of participating in a self-created game combining volleyball and basketball. This news-feature story looks at how the players formed the game and why they do it before each of their practices during the season.

Penn State freshman benefits from learning experience
Wynton J. Somerville | The Daily Collegian
Penn State freshman setter Taylor Hammond will not play this season because he was redshirted. This article looks at why the Nittany Lions opted to have Hammond redshirt and how this year is becoming a valuable learning experience for the freshman.

BEST OF THE REST
Bruins roll into town for Hawai’i
Marc Arakaki | The Voice Kaleo
A key to writing a good preview story is finding a focus that is of interest to the readers. This preview article for Hawai’i’s upcoming home matches against UCLA breaks down the Warriors’ late-game struggles and how that is becoming a recurring problem for the team.

Penn State’s Turko brings consistent serving to team
Kevin Byrne | The Daily Collegian
Penn State middle attacker Nick Turko has become one of the team’s most consistent players this season, especially while serving. This news-feature story examines how Turko does not put up big numbers in the box score but it’s his consistency that makes him so valuable for the Nittany Lions.