Off the Block releases watch list for 2015 Lloy Ball Award

Fourteen college men’s volleyball players have been selected to the 2015 watch list for the annual Lloy Ball Award.

Off the Block on Tuesday unveiled the watch list for the national award that is presented to the best setter in NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball during the regular season.


Among the setters making this season’s watch list includes the 2014 Lloy Ball Award winner USC senior Micah Christenson along with the two other finalists from last year, Pepperdine senior Matt West and Stanford junior James Shaw. All three setters were also Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. First-Team All-American selections.

The watch list for the 2015 Lloy Ball Award was determined by Off the Block using a variety of factors including player performances from previous seasons and projections on standout setters to watch during the upcoming season.

The winner of the Lloy Ball Award will be selected at the end of the regular season by a nationwide voting committee comprised of coaches and media members. The top-three vote-getters will be named finalists, while the player receiving the most votes will be winner of the Lloy Ball Award presented by Off the Block.

The Lloy Ball Award started in 2014 and was named after former IPFW All-American setter and U.S. Olympic gold medalist Lloy Ball. The naming of the award after a player was done in an effort to honor and incorporate the history of college volleyball into this award

This is one of three position-based awards presented in college men’s volleyball. Off the Block also presents the Bryan Ivie Award to the nation’s top opposite and the National Outside Attacker of the Year award.

These are the only national position-based award in college men’s volleyball. Several volleyball organizations give out national end-of-year awards such as All-American Teams, but no national award before last year was specific to a position.

Off the Block is a national award winning website that covers college men’s volleyball and launched in January 2011.


2015 LLOY BALL AWARD WATCH LIST
Nick Bendell, Harvard
Christy Blough, Ohio State
Micah Christenson, USC
Taylor Hammond, Penn State
Tyler Heap, BYU
Peter Hutz, Loyola
Chris Kennedy, Princeton
Brian Negron, George Mason
Steve O’Dell, UCLA
Federico Pagliara, Barton
Omar Rivera, IPFW
Jonah Seif, UC Santa Barbara
James Shaw, Stanford
Matt West, Pepperdine

LLOY BALL AWARD WATCH LIST PLAYER BIOS
Nick Bendell, Harvard
Bendell was among the EIVA leaders last season with a 9.94 assists per game average. In addition, Bendell was named to both the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Freshmen All-American Team and the Second-Team All-EIVA as he helped Harvard qualify for the four-team EIVA Tournament.

Christy Blough, Ohio State
Blough led all the freshmen and was in the nation’s top 10 with a 10.80 assists per game average last season. The setter also was selected to the 2014 Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Freshmen All-American Team as Ohio State finished the season in fifth place in the MIVA.

Micah Christenson, USC setter
Christenson was the inaugural recipient of the Lloy Ball Award last season after leading the nation with a 11.62 assists per game average. He also spent the recent off-season before his senior season playing for the U.S. Men’s National Team and helped the United States win the 2014 FIVB World League.

Taylor Hammond, Penn State
Hammond was in the nation’s top five averaging 11.34 assists per game and helped Penn State’s offense finish with an EIVA-best .305 attack percentage. The junior also earned First-Team All-EIVA honors as Penn State won its 16th consecutive EIVA championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament semifinals.

Tyler Heap, BYU
Heap in his first year as the starting setter ended last season fifth in the MPSF with a 10.60 assists per game average. The junior also helped BYU win the 2014 conference regular season championship before suffering a season-ending injury.

Peter Hutz, Loyola
Hutz led the MIVA and was third in the nation with a 11.62 assists per game average and guided the Ramblers’ offense to a nation-best .366 attack percentage last season. The junior also was among the top-five vote-getters for the 2014 Lloy Ball Award as he helped Loyola win its first NCAA championship in program history.

Chris Kennedy, Princeton
Kennedy ended last season second in the EIVA with a 10.35 assists per game average, including having at least 50 assists in three of Princeton’s final four matches. He also was named an Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Freshman of the Week last season and helped Princeton reach the EIVA Tournament championship match for the first time since 2010.

Brian Negron, George Mason
Negron will make his college debut in 2015 after playing with the Puerto Rico Men’s National Team in the FIVB World League this summer. The incoming freshman also was one of the top-ranked high school recruits from Puerto Rico last year.

Steve O’Dell, UCLA
Despite missing half of the last season because of an injury, O’Dell finished with a team-high 10.95 assists per game average. The junior also was able to return to the court late in the season and helped UCLA reach the MPSF Tournament quarterfinals.

Federico Pagliara, Barton
Pagliara as a freshman last season from Italy was fourth in the Conference Carolinas and in the nation’s top 25 with a 9.14 assists per game average. He also helped Barton in 2014 win its first postseason match in program history as it advanced to the conference tournament semifinals.

Omar Rivera, IPFW
Rivera ended last season seventh in the nation with an 11.03 assists per game average and was in the MIVA top 10 with 32 aces. The senior also earned Second-Team All-MIVA honors last season and helped IPFW reach the MIVA Tournament semifinals for the first time since 2007.

Jonah Seif, UC Santa Barbara
Seif was among the MPSF and national leaders averaging 10.46 assists per game last season. The junior also earned Second-Team All-American honors in 2014 as UC Santa Barbara reached the MPSF Tournament semifinals for the first time since 2011.

James Shaw, Stanford
Shaw, a Lloy Ball Award finalist last season, was in the nation’s top 10 with a 10.86 assists per game average and guided the Cardinal to the second-best attack percentage in the nation at .344. In addition, Shaw as a sophomore was a Second-Team All-American selection and helped Stanford reach the NCAA Tournament championship match.

Matt West, Pepperdine
West, a 2014 finalist for the Lloy Ball Award, finished last season eighth in the nation with an 11.00 assists per game average. The senior also earned Second-Team All-American honors last season as Pepperdine won a share of the MPSF regular season championship.