A middle attacker after helping Ball State finish undefeated at the inaugural East vs. Midwest Challenge has now earned the first national award of his college career.
Off the Block announced Monday that Ball State middle attacker Matt Walsh was selected as the National Freshman of the Week.
Walsh had a match-high eight blocks and added seven kills on a .545 attack percentage as Ball State rallied from a two-game deficit to upset then-No. 10 Penn State in five games at the East vs. Midwest Challenge on Friday. The middle attacker also led all players with seven blocks and had six kills with zero attack errors in a four-game victory against St. Francis on Saturday.
This is the first time in the two-year history of the award that a Ball State player has earned National Freshman of the Week honors.
The Off the Block National Freshman of the Week is presented each week during the regular season to the NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball freshman who had the most outstanding performance.
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.
National Freshman of the Week honorable mentions
Alex Harthaller, IPFW — Harthaller had a match-high six aces in a sweep against St. Francis on Friday at the East vs. Midwest Challenge. He also had two aces and eight kills as No. 13 IPFW defeated then-No. 10 Penn State in its finale at the non-conference tournament.
Jeff Jendryk, Loyola — Jendryk finished a match-high six blocks as No. 1 Loyola swept Harvard on Saturday. The middle attacker in the non-conference victory also had seven kills on a .455 attack percentage.
Peyton Schirman, Mount Olive — Schirman had a team-high 15 kills as Mount Olive defeated Emmanuel in five games on Saturday to remain undefeated in Conference Carolinas play. In addition, Schirman had seven kills and a .500 attack percentage in a sweep against North Greenville on Friday.
Enrique Garcia, Cal Baptist — Garcia had 12 kills on a .450 attack percentage and added seven blocks as Cal Baptist almost upset No. 12 Stanford before losing in five games. He also had a five kills and no attack errors in a three-game loss to No. 2 Pepperdine on Wednesday.
Trent Thompson, Sacred Heart — Thompson in his first college match had 14 kills and 10 digs as Sacred Heart defeated Stevens Tech in five games on Saturday.