Ohio State, Pacific players win Springbak, Inc. Co-National Freshman of the Week

Freshmen from Ohio State and Pacific following career performances have now each earned a share to one of the biggest college men’s volleyball individual weekly awards.

Off the Block announced Monday that Ohio State setter Christy Blough and Pacific opposite Thomas Hodges were selected as the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Co-National Freshman of the Week.


Blough had a career-high 57 assists and helped guide Ohio State’s offense to a .385 attack percentage in a four-game non-conference victory against St. Francis on Sunday. In addition, the freshman had 45 assists in a loss to Penn State on Wednesday despite the Buckeyes out-hitting the Nittany Lions .327 to .308.

Hodges led all players with a career-high 23 kills to help Pacific beat UC San Diego in four games on Saturday for the team’s first conference victory of the season. The opposite in the victory also added two aces and a team-high 11 digs.

Along with his performance against UC San Diego, Hodges had a match-high 14 kills in a three-game loss to No. 9 UC Irvine on Friday.

Blough and Hodges become the first players from their schools to be selected as the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Freshman of the Week. It is also the second time this season that Co-National Freshman of the Week have been awarded.

The Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Freshman of the Week is presented to the NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball freshman who had the most outstanding performance during the week.

The winner is announced every Monday during the regular season on the Off the Block website, offtheblockblog.com.

Each of the four NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball conferences have an opportunity each week to nominate one player for the National Freshman of the Week. In addition, fans and teams can nominate a player for the National Freshman of the Week by tweeting their nominee to the official Twitter account of Off the Block, @offtheblock11.

This new college men’s volleyball award will also lead up to the Freshmen All-American Team. The Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Freshmen All-American Team will be presented at the of the regular season and selected by nationwide voting committee of coaches and media members.

Off the Block is a website that started in January 2011 and has become among the national leaders in college men’s volleyball coverage. Springbak, Inc. is the official sponsor of the 2014 Freshmen All-American Team and National Freshman of the Week and 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.

Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Freshman of the Week honorable mentions
Andy Benesh, USC middle attacker —
Benesh had a team-high 15 kills and 10 blocks as No. 5 USC rallied to defeat No. 8 UC Santa Barbara in five games on Thursday.

Matt Callaway, Penn State middle attacker — Callaway had a match-high seven blocks and added seven kills as Penn State defeated Ohio State in non-conference play Wednesday. The middle attacker also had four kills in each of the team’s victories against Pfeiffer and Erskine during the weekend as the Nittany Lions extend their winning streak to a nation-best eight matches.

Jabarry Goodridge, NJIT outside attacker — Goodridge finished with a match-high 24 kills as NJIT lost to Sacred Heart in five games on Saturday to open its conference season. The freshman was also only NJIT player to have more than 11 kills in the loss.

Jonathan Novoa-Miralles, Barton outside attacker — Miralles had the match-winning ace in a fifth-game overtime to clinch a home conference victory for Barton against Lees-McRae. In addition, Miralles in the win had 13 kills, including four kills in the decisive fifth game.

Garret Dimm, Mount Olive outside attacker — Dimm led all players with a career-high 20 kills to help Mount Olive defeat King in four games on Saturday. The freshman also had 12 kills and a match-best .526 attack percentage as Mount Olive swept Lees-McRae on Friday.