A nationwide voting committee selected UCLA outside attacker Gonzalo Quiroga, Penn State outside attacker Aaron Russell, BYU outside attacker Taylor Sander and Loyola outside attacker Joseph Smalzer as finalists for the 2014 Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Server of the Year.
The Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Server of the Year recognizes the top individual serving performance from a NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball player during the regular season.
Quiroga in his senior season led the MPSF and was in the nation’s top five with both 56 aces and a 0.53 aces per game average. The All-American also had a match-high six aces in UCLA’s regular-season finale against then-No. 2 BYU to help the Bruins clinch a spot in the postseason.
Russell leads the nation with 58 aces and has at least five aces in four matches this season, including a season-high seven aces in a conference victory against St. Francis on Saturday that clinched the EIVA regular season title for Penn State. In addition, the junior is second in the nation with a 0.65 aces per game average.
Sander, the 2013 Volleyball Magazine National Player of the Year, finished the regular season among the national leaders with a 0.46 aces per game average. The senior also holds the school record for career aces during the rally scoring era and is second for the school’s single-season aces record during the rally scoring era with 44.
Smalzer, the 2013 Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Server of the Year recipient, had a nation-best 0.70 aces per game average during the regular season. In addition, the All-American senior had at least one ace all but two of Loyola’s 25 matches as the Ramblers were ranked No. 1 for the majority of the regular season.
This is the second year for the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Server of the Year award. The voting committee for this award was comprised of more than 20 college men’s volleyball head coaches and volleyball reporters from around the nation.
The overall winner of the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Server of the Year will be announced Wednesday, April 23.
Off the Block is a website that launched in January 2011 and has become among the nation’s leading media outlets for college men’s volleyball news and analysis. Springbak, Inc. is the official sponsor of the 2014 National Server of the Year 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.
VOTING RESULTS: NATIONAL SERVER OF THE YEAR
(Finalists listed alphabetically)
Gonzalo Quiroga, UCLA
Aaron Russell, Penn State
Taylor Sander, BYU
Joseph Smalzer, Loyola
Others receiving votes
5. Scott Siwicki, Lindenwood
T-6. Micah Christenson, USC
T-6. Zack LaCavera, UC Irvine
T-8. Evan Licht, UC Santa Barbara
T-8. Graham McIlvaine, Ball State
T-10. Colin Hackworth, Lindenwood
T-10. Steven Irvin, Stanford