Two freshmen who led their teams to upset victories during the weekend have now earned a share of a college men’s volleyball national weekly award.
Off the Block announced Monday that Erskine outside attacker Roberto Perez Vargas and USC outside attacker Lucas Yoder were selected as the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Co-National Freshmen of the Week.
Vargas led Erskine with 59 combined kills in three matches last week, including a match-high 20 kills in a five-game road comeback victory against Cal Baptist on Saturday. The freshman also added eight digs and an ace in the match to help Erskine become the first Conference Carolinas school to defeat a team from the MPSF.
Along with his performance against Cal Baptist, Vargas had zero attack errors and a match-high 20 kills on a .667 attack percentage as Erskine defeated Pfeiffer in four games on Monday. The conference victory kept Erskine in first place in the Conference Carolinas and moved the Fleet within two matches of winning their first conference regular season title.
Yoder finished with a match-high 20 kills on a .410 attack percentage to help lead No. 9 USC to a conference victory against its cross-town rival No. 6 UCLA on Saturday. In addition, Yoder led all players with 21 kills and added two aces in a five-game loss to No. 4 UC Santa Barbara earlier in the week.
This is the fifth time this season that Yoder has earned Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Freshman of the Week honors — the most of any player in the nation. In addition, it is the second time he has received the national award on back-to-back weeks.
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
Tim Dobbert, BYU opposite — Dobbert had 11 kills along with four blocks and two aces as No. 3 BYU swept No. 8 UC Irvine on Friday in a rematch of the last season’s NCAA championship match.
Christy Blough, Ohio State setter — Blough had a combined 117 assists in two five-game losses at the Active Ankle Tournament during the weekend, including a season-high 60 assists in a near upset against No. 2 Long Beach State on Friday. The freshman also added a season-high four blocks in a loss to Cal State Northridge on Saturday.
Matt Callaway, Penn State middle attacker — Callaway finished with seven kills and a .417 attack percentage in a three-game loss to No. 2 Long Beach State on Saturday at the Active Ankle Tournament. In addition, Callaway was one of two Penn State players selected to the All-Tournament Team.
Jarrod Kelso, Quincy middle attacker — Kelso had more than a .400 attack percentage in all three matches and a combined 15 kills to help Quincy finish undefeated at the McKendree Crossover Tournament during the weekend. He also added a match-high five blocks in a sweep against Barton on Saturday.
Nick Serowski, King outside attacker — Serowski had 11 kills and a .476 attack percentage in a sweep against McKendree on Friday at the McKendree Crossover Tournament. In addition, Serowski had a team-high 15 kills in a four-game loss to Quincy during the non-conference tournament.