Finalists announced for OTB/Springbak, Inc. National Player of Month

Off the Block selected the 15 finalists, and now it is up to the fans to determine who should win the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Player of the Month.

The Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Player of the Month award recognizes the best individual performances from NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball players during the month and gives volleyball fans from around the world the chance to determine who was the best player.

Fans will determine the winner of the National Player of the Month award through online voting on the Off the Block website. The online poll is now open and closes at 11:59 p.m. (EST) Wednesday.

While there are several weekly awards in college men’s volleyball, this is the only national monthly award presented in the sport. It is also one of the two nationally awards determined solely by the fans.

Springbak, Inc. is the official sponsor of the National Player of the Month and the Fan Choice National Player of the Year at the end of the season. Springbak, Inc. 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.

Check out the finalists below for the National Player of the Month in January. Individuals can vote once per hour using at the poll below or by visiting offtheblockblog.com/playerofmonth.



Tyler Averill, Hawai’i — Averill was third in the MPSF with a .462 attack percentage and in the conference’s top 10 averaging 1.07 blocks per game. The middle attacker also was twice named the MPSF Player of the Week as he helped the Rainbow Warriors go 3-1 in conference play during January.

Cody Caldwell, Loyola — Caldwell led the MIVA with a 4.27 kills per game average, including having at least 15 kills in four of the Ramblers’ seven matches in January. The outside attacker also had a career-high 14 digs in a road victory against Penn State on Jan. 23 to help the Ramblers remain undefeated.

Micah Christenson, USC — Christenson was among the MPSF leaders with a 10.65 assists per game average and had more than 50 assists in two matches. The All-American senior also had a career-high five aces in a win against then-No. 2 Pepperdine on Jan. 16 to help keep the Trojans undefeated so far this season.

Kevin Donohue, UC Santa Barbara — Donohue led the MPSF with a 3.84 kills per game average and had seven matches in January with double-digit kills. He also was in the conference’s top 15 with a 1.90 digs per game average to help UC Santa Barbara start 2-4 in MPSF play.

Eric Fitterer, Lewis — Fitterer was among the MIVA leaders with both a 3.83 kills per game average and an 1.26 blocks per game average. The opposite also had double-digit kills in six matches to help the Flyers move as high as No. 2 in the national coaches poll.

Tamir Hershko, UC Irvine — Hershko was in the top 10 of the MPSF with both a 3.71 kills per game average and a .381 attack percentage. The outside attacker also was named the most valuable player at the Outrigger Invitational after having a combined 45 kills in the Anteaters three victories at the non-conference tournament in early January.

Thomas Jaeschke, Loyola — Jaeschke finished the month second in the MIVA with a 4.04 kills per game average and fourth in the conference with a 2.39 digs per game average. The All-American outside attacker also helped Loyola end the month undefeated — one of two remaining undefeated teams in NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball.

Parker Kalmbach, Pepperdine — Kalmbach finished the month in the top five of the MPSF with a 3.62 kills per game average, including having more than 20 kills in two of the Waves last three conference matches. The all-conference opposite also was in the conference’s top 15 with an 1.79 digs per game average as Pepperdine went 9-1 in January.

Jake Langlois, BYU — Langlois was the only player to be in the top 10 of the MPSF for both kills per game average and blocks per game average. The sophomore outside attacker also led the Cougars with a 3.46 kills per game average as BYU started 5-1 in conference play.

Omar Rivera, IPFW — Rivera was second in the MIVA with a 10.85 assists per game average and had at least 40 assists in five matches during the month. The all-conference setter also was named the AVCA National Player of the Week on Jan. 25 and helped IPFW move into the top 10 of the national coaches poll for the first time since 2008.

Aaron Russell, Penn State — Russell was second in the EIVA with a 4.61 kills per game average and had at least 20 kills in three matches during January. The All-American outside attacker also led the conference with 16 aces in January and helped Penn State win its conference opener against St. Francis.

Michael Schneck, Erskine — Schneck led the Conference Carolinas with a 12.59 assists per game average in January and helped guide the Fleet’s offense to a conference-best .338 attack percentage. He also had a match-high 64 assists in a four-game victory against Belmont Abbey on Wednesday to help Erskine remain undefeated in conference play.

Michael Seata, UC Irvine — Seata led the MPSF with an 11.19 assists per game average and helped guide the Anteaters’ to a conference-best .344 attack percentage. The setter also helped UC Irvine win the Outrigger Invitational and finish the month with a nation-best nine victories.

Josh Taylor, Pepperdine — Taylor was sixth in the conference with a 3.56 kills per game average and led the Waves in kills in six of their 10 matches in January. The All-American outside attacker also was in the top 15 of the MPSF with a .353 attack percentage to help Pepperdine win a nation-best nine matches in January.

Matt Walsh, Ball State — Walsh led the MIVA with an 1.68 blocks per game average and tied the school’s single-match rally scoring era record with 15 blocks in a victory against Sacred Heart. He also earned National Freshman of the Week honors during January and helped the Cardinals end the month at 7-1.

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