Off the Block releases watch list for 2015 National Outside Attacker of Year

Nineteen outside attackers have been selected to the 2015 watch list for a new college men’s volleyball national award.

Off the Block announced Friday the watch list for the inaugural National Outside Attacker of the Year award, which will be presented to the best outside attacker in NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball during the regular season.


Among the players making the watch list includes four Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Preseason Frist-Team All-Americans — Loyola junior Thomas Jaeschke, Lewis senior Geoff Powell, Penn State senior Aaron Russell and Pepperdine senior Josh Taylor.

The watch list for the inaugural National Outside Attacker of the Year was determined by Off the Block using a variety of factors including player performances from previous seasons and projections on standout opposites to watch during the upcoming season.

The winner of this 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 outside attacker receiving the most votes will be the recipient of the National Outside Attacker of the Year presented by Off the Block.

This is one of three position-based national awards presented in college men’s volleyball. Off the Block also presents the Lloy Ball Award to the nation’s best setter and Bryan Ivie Award to the nation’s best opposite.

Similar to the Lloy Ball Award and the Bryan Ivie Award, the National Outside Attacker of the Year will be renamed in the upcoming weeks after a former standout in college men’s volleyball history. The decision to rename the National Outside Attacker of the Year after a former outside attacker is done in an effort to honor and incorporate the history of college volleyball into the award.

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

2015 NATIONAL OUTSIDE ATTACKER OF THE YEAR WATCH LIST
Cody Caldwell, Loyola
Michael Henchy, Ohio State
Thomas Hodges, UC Irvine
Sam Holt, Cal State Northridge
Thomas Jaeschke, Loyola
Brady Markle, Lees-McRae
Mike Michelau, Erskine
Marcin Niemczewski, Ball State
Greg Petty, Lewis
Radoslav Popov, George Mason
Geoff Powell, Lewis
Josue Rivera, BYU
Aaron Russell, Penn State
Brook Sedore, Hawai’i
Devin Stearns, Princeton
Josh Taylor, Pepperdine
Roberto Perez Vargas, Erskine
DJ White, Harvard
Lucas Yoder, USC


NATIONAL OUTSIDE ATTACKER OF THE YEAR WATCH LIST PLAYER BIOS
Cody Caldwell, Loyola
Caldwell was in the top 10 of the MIVA last season with both a 3.40 kills per game average and a .334 attack percentage. The senior last season also was named the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Tournament after having a match-high 20 kills in the NCAA Tournament championship match victory against Stanford.

Michael Henchy, Ohio State
Henchy ended last season in the top 20 of the MIVA with both a 2.67 kills per game average and a 1.71 digs per game average. The senior and 2013 First-Team All-MVIA selection also helped the Buckeyes advance to the MIVA Tournament quarterfinals last season.

Thomas Hodges, UC Irvine
Hodges transferred to UC Irvine in the off-season after having a 3.32 kills per game average last season for Pacific, which recently disbanded its program. With his former team, Hodges played at opposite and was named to the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Freshmen All-American Team.

Sam Holt, Cal State Northridge
Holt finished last season in the nation’s top 15 with a 3.89 kills per game average, including having a season-high 37 kills in an upset victory against UCLA in April. In addition, Holt was named a 2014 All-MPSF honorable mention as Cal State Northridge finished the season in 10th place in the MPSF.

Thomas Jaeschke, Loyola
Jaeschke was among the MIVA leaders and in the nation’s top 15 with a 3.73 kills per game average last season. He also became the first sophomore to earn MIVA Player of the Year honors as he helped lead Loyola to its first NCAA championship in program history.

Brady Markle, Lees-McRae
Markle in 2014 was in the nation’s top 10 with a 3.92 kills per game average and had at least 20 kills in fives matches. The junior also earned First-Team All-Conference Carolinas honors last season as he helped the Bobcats qualify for the six-team conference tournament.

Michael Michelau, Erskine,
Michelau was fourth in the nation last season with a 4.14 kills per game average and was among the Conference Carolinas leaders with 34 aces. The junior also earned First-Team All-Conference Carolinas honors in 2014 as he helped lead Erskine to the conference championship and a berth in the NCAA Tournament.

Marcin Niemczewski, Ball State
Niemczewski finished last season among the MIVA leaders with both 84 blocks and a 3.22 kills per game average. The junior in 2014 also was named the AVCA National Player of the Week after having 22 kills and 16 digs in a victory against IPFW and helped Ball State end the season in third place in the MIVA.

Greg Petty, Lewis
Petty finished the 2014 season in sixth in the MIVA with a 3.43 kills per game average and had a .328 attack percentage. The senior last season also was a Second-Team All-MIVA selection and helped Lewis earn an at-large bid to the six-team NCAA Tournament.

Radoslav Popov, George Mason
Popov, the 2014 EIVA Newcomer of the Year, finished the season among the EIVA leaders with both a 3.03 kills per game average and 25 aces. The sophomore also earned First-Team All-EIVA honors last season as George Mason qualified for the four-team EIVA Tournament.

Geoff Powell, Lewis
Powell was second in the MIVA and among the national leaders with a 3.89 kills per game average last season. The senior also was a 2014 First-Team All-American selection and helped lead the Flyers last season to one of the two at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament.

Josue Rivera, BYU
Rivera was among the BYU leaders with both a 2.13 kills per game average and 26 aces last season. The senior also helped BYU in 2014 win its second consecutive MPSF championship and reach the NCAA Tournament semifinals.

Aaron Russell, Penn State
Russell had a nation-best 71 aces last season and was in the nation’s top 10 with a 4.00 kills per game average. The outside attacker also received EIVA Player of the Year award for the second consecutive year and led the Nittany Lions to the NCAA Tournament semifinals.

Brook Sedore, Hawai’i
Sedore ended last season among the MPSF and national leaders with a 3.70 kills per game average. The senior also was a 2014 Second-Team All-MPSF selection as the Rainbow Warriors narrowly missed the postseason.

Devin Stearns, Princeton
Stearns was among the EIVA leaders with a 3.03 kills per game average last season, including having a season-high 18 kills in an upset victory against Penn State in February. The junior also earned Second-Team All-EIVA honors last season and helped Princeton reach the EIVA Tournament championship match.

Josh Taylor, Pepperdine
Taylor as a junior last season ended eighth in the nation averaging 4.01 kills per game. He also was a 2014 First-Team All-American selection as Pepperdine was the co-MPSF regular season champions and advanced to the conference tournament semifinals.

Roberto Perez Vargas, Erskine
Vargas was second among all nation’s freshmen and in the nation’s top 20 averaging 3.70 kills per game. He also was selected to the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Freshmen All-American Team and helped Erskine become the first Conference Carolinas school to earn an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.

DJ White, Harvard
White ended last season fourth in the EIVA with a 3.30 kills per game average and in the nation’s top 40 with a .312 attack percentage. The senior also was a 2014 First-Team All-EIVA selection and helped Harvard qualify for the four-team conference tournament.

Lucas Yoder, USC
Yoder led all freshman and was sixth in the nation with a 4.02 kills per game average. In addition, Yoder was named the 2014 MPSF Freshman of the Year and an Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Freshmen All-American Team selection as he helped the Trojans qualify for the eight-team MPSF Tournament.