Harvard, Erskine players named Springbak, Inc. Co-National Freshmen of the Week

Two freshmen who helped lead their teams to postseason berths are now earning a share of a national weekly award.

Off the Block announced Monday that Harvard setter Nick Bendell and Erskine outside attacker Roberto Perez Vargas were named the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Co-National Freshmen of the Week.


Bendell had a match-high 45 assists and guided Harvard’s offense to a .408 attack percentage in a four-game victory against St. Francis on Saturday. That victory also clinched the Crimson a berth in the four-team EIVA Tournament for the third consecutive season.

Along with his performance against Sacred Heart, Bendell helped Harvard out-hit first-place Penn State .348 to .320 in a three-game loss on Friday.

Vargas had back-to-back matches with at least 20 kills last week to help Erskine get two conference victories and clinch the Conference Carolinas regular season championship. In addition, the freshman had a career-high 25 kills and three blocks in a four-game victory against Lees-McRae on Saturday.

This is second time that Vargas has earned Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Freshman of the Week honors.

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 Week honorable mentions
Thomas Hodges, Pacific opposite –
Hodges finished with a match-high 14 kills on a .737 attack percentage and added three aces in a sweep against Cal Baptist on Saturday. The sweep was also the final home match for Pacific in its program history before the university dissolves the team at the end of the season.

Lucas Yoder, USC outside attacker – Yoder had a match-high 19 kills and added five digs in a five-game loss to No. 3 Pepperdine on Saturday.

Driss Guessous, Ohio State middle attacker – Guessous finished with 15 kills and a team-high four blocks in a four-game victory against George Mason on Sunday. He also added 13 kills on a .478 attack percentage and led Ohio State with six blocks in a five-game loss to IPFW on Friday.

Brendan Surane, Ball State outside attacker – Surane led Ball State with a career-high 17 kills in a four-game road conference victory against Grand Canyon on Saturday. With that win, the Cardinals remained in third place in the MIVA standings and clinched a home match for the MIVA Tournament quarterfinals.