A nationwide voting committee selected nine players to the inaugural Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Freshmen All-American Team.
The Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Freshmen All-American Team honors the top NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball freshmen players from the regular season. It is also the only Freshmen All-American Team presented in college men’s volleyball.
Both USC and Ohio State led all teams with two players earning Freshmen All-American Team honors. In addition, USC outside attacker Lucas Yoder was the top vote-getter and the only player included on every ballot submitted for this award.
Pacific, Harvard, Loyola, Erskine and Belmont Abbey each had one player selected to the Freshmen All-American Team.
Players eligible for the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Freshmen All-American Team had to be on an active roster of a Division I-II men’s volleyball team and be listed as a freshman or redshirt freshman.
A player earning a spot on the Freshmen All-American Team had to be among the top 10 vote-getters and appear on at least 33 percent of all the submitted ballots. In addition, the top vote-getter at each position was guaranteed a spot on the Freshmen All-American Team.
The 22-member voting committee was comprised of men’s volleyball head coaches and volleyball reporters from around the nation.
Off the Block is a national-award winning website that launched in January 2011 and has become among the nation’s leaders in college men’s volleyball coverage.
Off the Block annually presents national college men’s volleyball awards to recognize outstanding individual performances in the sport. Along with this being the inaugural year for the Freshmen All-American Team, Off the Block during the regular season presented the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Freshman of the Week award.
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. FRESHMEN ALL-AMERICAN TEAM
Setter: Nick Bendell, Harvard
Setter: Christy Blough, Ohio State
Opposite: Thomas Hodges, Pacific
Outside attacker: Roberto Perez Vargas, Erskine
Outside attacker: Lucas Yoder, USC
Middle attacker: Andy Benesh, USC
Middle attacker: Driss Guessous, Ohio State
Middle attacker: Owen McAndrews, Loyola
Libero: Johnny Gomez, Belmont Abbey
Others receiving votes: Radoslav Popov, George Mason; Junior Oboh, Princeton; Bradely Sakaida, Cal State Northridge; Matt Callaway, Penn State; Tamir Hershko, UC Irvine, Demani Lenore, Cal State Northridge; Hagen Smith, UCLA; Brendan Surane, Ball State; Josh Donahue, Mount Olive; Jarrod Kelso, Quincy; Chris Kennedy, Princeton; Joel Muhlbach, Limestone; Casey White, Harvard; Jackson Bantle, UCLA; Kiel Bell, King; Tim Dobbert, BYU; Jabarry Goodridge, NJIT; Tanner Howard, UC San Diego; Miles Johnson, Ohio State; Mathew Schnitzer, UC San Diego; Nick Serowski, King; Mitch Stahl, UCLA; Chad Stanback, Jr., Barton
FRESHMEN ALL-AMERICAN TEAM PLAYER BIOS
Nick Bendell, Harvard
Bendell was among the EIVA leaders with a 9.91 assists per game average. In addition, he was a Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Freshman of the Week selection and helped the Crimson qualify for the four-team EIVA Tournament.
Andy Benesh, USC middle attacker
Benesh led all freshmen and finished in the nation’s top five with a .440 attack percentage, while also being among the MPSF leaders with a 0.97 block per game average. Benesh earned an Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Freshman of the Week honor and helped the Trojans qualify for the MPSF Tournament.
Christy Blough, Ohio State setter
Blough led all freshmen and was among the nation’s leaders with 10.80 assists per game average. In addition, he guided the Buckeyes offense to a .274 attack percentage as the team ended the MIVA regular season in fifth place.
Johnny Gomez, Belmont Abbey libero
Gomez led all freshmen and was in the nation’s top five with a 2.70 digs per game average. The freshman also finished the season having double-digit digs in 11 matches, including a season-high 18 digs in a five-game loss to King in January.
Driss Guessous, Ohio State middle attacker
Guessous led the MIVA with a .446 attack percentage and had 12 matches with double-digit kills. The middle attacker also was in the conference’s top 10 averaging 0.88 blocks per game as Ohio State finished in fifth place in the MIVA.
Thomas Hodges, Pacific opposite
Hodges playing in the final season of Pacific’s program history was among the freshmen leaders with a 3.32 kills per game average and led all non-middle attackers in the nation with a 1.12 blocks per game average. He also earned Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Freshman of the Week honors once during the regular season.
Owen McAndrews, Loyola middle attacker
McAndrews was among the MIVA leaders with a 0.85 blocks per game average and a .471 attack percentage. In addition, he was a two-time recipient of the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Freshman of the Week as he helped Loyola win the MIVA regular season championship.
Roberto Perez Vargas, Erskine outside attacker
Vargas was in the top five of the Conference Carolinas with a 3.73 kills per game average and had three matches with at least 20 kills. The freshman also was twice named the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Freshman of the Week and helped Erskine win the Conference Carolinas regular season title.
Lucas Yoder, USC outside attacker
Yoder led all freshmen and was seventh in the nation with a 4.04 kills per game average. In addition, he was named the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Freshman of the Week a record six times during the regular season and helped USC qualify for the MPSF Tournament.