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.

Olsen’s high energy providing spark for Penn State
John Stuetz | The Daily Collegian
Penn State outside attacker Jace Olsen whether it is trash talking across the net or getting a big kill has provided energy coming off the bench for the Nittany Lions this season. This feature story looks at the style of play that Olsen brings to the court and how it benefits the other Penn State players.

Feathers providing unexpected boost for USC
Jacob Freedman | Daily Trojan
USC middle attacker Robert Feathers in a span of one year as gone from an incoming freshman battling for a roster spot to leading the nation in blocks. This profile story looks at Feathers’ rise to prominence in the Trojans’ starting line up and how the freshman has emerged as one of the team’s hardest working players.

UCLA bounces back losses with sweep of Pepperdine
Chris Kalra | Daily Bruin
UCLA recovered from losing back-to-back matches for the first time this season and swept No. 8 Pepperdine before entering its bye week. This game story — which uses several nice direct quotes from setter Kyle Caldwell towards the top of the article — focuses on how the two losses made the Bruins more motivated.

Ball State pulls off upset over No. 10 Ohio State
Andrew Mishler | The Ball State Daily News
Ball State rallied from a one-game deficit to upset its longtime rival Ohio State last week — the Cardinals’ first victory against the Buckeyes since 2008. This game story focuses on why this was the biggest conference victory for every Ball State player and what it means for the team to finally defeat the Buckeyes.

Penn State enjoys support away from home
Wynton Somerville | The Daily Collegian
Even when Penn State is playing road matches it still has a significant Nittany Lions’ fan base in attendance. This news-feature story examines why Penn State has been able to have a significant fan presence at its road matches and how these fans change the dynamic of road matches for the Nittany Lions.