Princeton setter Kennedy wins Springbak, Inc. National Freshman of the Week

A freshman days after leading Princeton to a historic upset victory is now receiving the first national award of his college career.

Off the Block announced Monday that Princeton setter Chris Kennedy was selected as the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Freshman of the Week.


Kennedy coming off the bench midway through the match finished with 40 assists and a match-high three aces to help Princeton defeat No. 10 Penn State in five games on Friday. The freshman also guided the Tigers’ offense to a .429 attack percentage in the decisive fifth game to help secure the team’s first win against the Nittany Lions in 16 years.

Along with his offensive performance against Penn State, Kennedy started in the following day match’s against St. Francis and led all players with 36 assists in a sweep of the Red Flashes. In addition, Princeton’s offense hit a season-high .468 attack percentage in the conference victory Saturday, which moved the Tigers into third place in the EIVA.

This was the first time this season that a player from Princeton (5-6, 4-1 EIVA) has earned Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Freshman of the Week honors. It also the second time in the last three weeks that an EIVA player has been selected for the national award.

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.

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
Lucas Yoder, USC outside attacker —
Yoder had a match-high 14 kills to help No. 7 USC sweep Cal Baptist in conference play Thursday and extend its winning streak to four matches.. In addition, the freshman led USC with 12 kills while adding seven digs in a three-game road loss to No. 2 BYU on Friday.

Tanner Howard, UC San Diego libero — Howard in his first college start led all players with 16 digs as UC San Diego defeated Grand Canyon in five games on Friday for its first win of the season. The redshirt freshman also had a team-high six digs in a loss to No. 6 UC Santa Barbara on Saturday.

Brendan Surane, Ball State outside attacker — Surane coming off the bench had a match-high 10 kills as Ball State swept Barton on Friday. In addition, Surane added two blocks in the non-conference victory.

Radoslav Popov, George Mason outside attacker — Popov led George Mason with a combined 39 kills in two matches last week, including a career-high 24 kills on a .475 attack percentage in a four-game loss to No. 10 Penn State on Saturday. In addition, Popov added five digs and three blocks in the conference home loss against the Nittany Lions.

Casey White, Harvard outside attacker — White finished with 11 kills on a .400 attack percentage to help Harvard sweep NJIT. The freshman also added five digs in the conference victory that moved the Crimson into a tie for first place in the EIVA.

Robert Perez Vargas, Erskine outside attacker — Vargas had a match-high 16 kills to go along with a .619 attack percentage and two aces in a conference sweep against King on Friday. In addition, the freshman led all players with 13 kills and four aces to help Erskine beat Coker on Saturday. Vargas also had seven kills as Erskine defeated Sacred Heart on Saturday to give the Conference Carolinas its third win against the EIVA in non-conference play this season.