IPFW outside attacker Eddie Rivera received more than 1,000 votes in the championship round to win the 2013 Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Fan Choice Player of the Year.
The Fan Choice Player of the Year is an annual 65-player bracket-style tournament that recognizes the best individual performances from NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball players during the season and gives volleyball fans from around the world the chance to decide the winner through online voting on Off the Block’s website. In addition, almost 20,000 votes were cast throughout the six-round tournament.
Rivera in the four-person championship round received 1,448 votes to defeat runner-up and UC Irvine All-American outside attacker Kevin Tillie by almost 700 votes.
Rivera finished the season leading IPFW and was in the nation’s top 30 with a 3.19 kills per game average. The junior also earned First-Team All-MIVA honors as IPFW ended the regular season in seventh place and reached the MIVA Tournament quarterfinals.
Despite entering the tournament as a No. 10 seed, Rivera reached the championship round after defeating UC Irvine middle attacker Scott Kevorken, George Mason libero Max McFarland, BYU outside attacker Ben Patch and UCLA outside attacker Robart Page in the first four rounds.
Along with Rivera and Tillie, Penn State setter Tayler Hammond finished the championship round in third place with 531 votes and Pfeiffer outside attacker Caleb Brophy came in fourth place with 346 votes.
Several volleyball organizations present National Player of the Year awards, but this contest is the only National Player of the Year award solely decided by the fans through online voting.
This is the third year a player from the MIVA has won the Fan Choice Player of the Year. Loyola All-American outside attacker Mike Bunting won the inaugural contest in 2011 and Ball State middle attacker Matt Leske won the honor last year.
Springbak, Inc. is the official sponsor of the 2013 Fan Choice Player of the Year championship round. Springbak, Inc. produces high performance footwear used by professional athletes from the NFL, NBA, MLB and U.S. Olympic teams and the top college teams in the nation.