WCRD play-by-play announcer C.J. Allard, The Daily Collegian reporters Garrett Ross and Lindsey Smith and Daily Bruin reporter Leonard Villalobos were selected as the 2014 Off the Block Men’s Volleyball Conference Reporters of the Year.
The Off the Block Men’s Volleyball Conference Reporters of the Year is an annual award recognizes the best college student-media reporters covering teams in the EIVA, MIVA and MPSF.
Winners were determined primarily on their reporting and storytelling abilities throughout the college men’s volleyball regular season and their ability to produce content that went beyond the box score and game notes. Also factored into the award was the reporter’s use of non-traditional media such as online video, blogs and social media.
Throughout the season Off the Block conducted an analysis of men’s volleyball coverage in college student-media from around the nation. The Off the Block Men’s Volleyball Conference Reporters of the Year are annual awards selected at the end of each regular season. Among the other men’s volleyball media award presented by Off the Block includes the Best Men’s Volleyball Online Coverage of the Year that is awarded to a college newspaper and the Top Five Men’s Volleyball Stories of the Week, a weekly list posted every Sunday throughout the college men’s volleyball regular season.
This is the fourth consecutive year that individuals from Ball State and Penn State have won conference reporter of the year honors. In addition, this is the second time a reporter from UCLA has received the award.
Off the Block launched in January 2011 and is the nation’s leading website in college men’s volleyball news and analysis.
2014 OFF THE BLOCK CONFERENCE REPORTERS OF THE YEAR
Co-EIVA Reporters of the Year: Garrett Ross and Lindsey Smith, The Daily Collegian, Penn State University
MIVA Reporter of the Year: C.J. Allard, WCRD, Ball State University
MPSF Reporter of the Year: Leonardo Villalobos, Daily Bruin, UCLA
EIVA Reporter of the Year: Garrett Ross
Ross, a freshman, is the 2014 Off the Block Co-EIVA Reporter of the Year and extends The Daily Collegian’s streak of winning this award to four straight years. The freshman was among the newspaper’s two beat reporters covering the Penn State men’s volleyball team and wrote almost 50 articles this season. Ross was among the nation’s leaders making an Off the Block Top Five College Men’s Volleyball Stories of the Week list nine times during the regular season. Among some Ross’ top stories this season included a news-feature story about Penn State’s new recruiting philosophy and a personality profile story on the Nittany Lions’ strength and conditioning coach. Beyond his articles, Ross helped run The Daily Collegian’s men’s volleyball Twitter account and provided online video of the Penn State’s home postmatch news conferences during the regular season.
EIVA Reporter of the Year: Lindsey Smith
Smith, a senior, is the 2014 Off the Block Co-EIVA Reporter of the year and becomes the first female sports journalist to earn conference reporter of the year honors. The freshman was one of two beat reporters for The Daily Collegian covering the Penn State men’s volleyball team. In addition, Smith had articles make an Off the Block Top Five College Men’s Volleyball Stories of the Week list eight times during the regular season. Several of Smith’s top articles from the season included a personality profile on All-American outside attacker Aaron Russell and a personality profile on middle attacker Matt Callaway overcoming adversity off the court to earn a spot in the starting lineup. She also during the off-season was one of the first reporters to cover the NCAA Tournament expanding to six teams.
MIVA Reporter of the Year: C.J. Allard
Allard, a senior and the reigning AVCA college student-media national reporter of the year, is the 2014 Off the Block MIVA Reporter of the Year. The senior also becomes the first radio-based reporter to be selected as a conference reporter of the year. Allard served as the play-by-play announcer this season for Ball State men’s volleyball matches on WCRD 91.3 FM. Along with providing compiling content, Allard’s broadcasting style seamlessly educated new volleyball fans and provided well educated in-sight to the most ardent volleyball fans during every match. He also displayed strong interviewing skills and an ability to ask coaches and players the difficult questions with both his on-air postmatch interviews and his bi-weekly radio coach’s show with Ball State coach Joel Walton. In addition, Allard was one of the most active volleyball reporters on Twitter this season tweeting out great in-sights about Ball State and other MIVA teams throughout the season.
MPSF Reporter of the Year: Leonardo Villalobos
Villalobos is the 2014 MPSF Reporter of the Year and becomes the second Daily Bruin reporter in the last three years to win this award. He spent this season as one of two beat reporters covering the UCLA men’s volleyball team for the Daily Bruin. Villalobos had articles make an Off the Block Top Five College Men’s Volleyball Stories of the Week list six times this season. Among his top stories included a news-feature about head coach John Speraw kicking his UCLA players out a practice, which became one of the most discussed articles of the season among college men’s volleyball fans. In addition, Villalobos wrote a compelling personality profile about UCLA outside attacker Robart Page and why he almost quit volleyball to become a college men’s basketball player.