IPFW outside Harthaller repeats as National Freshman of the Week

For the second consecutive week, IPFW outside attacker Alex Harthaller is earning a national award.

Off the Block announced Monday that Harthaller was selected as the Of the Block National Freshman of the Week.


Harthaller led all players with a season-high 26 kills on a .452 attack percentage as No. 10 IPFW rallied from two-game road deficit to beat its rival No. 13 Ball State on Thursday in Muncie. The freshman also added seven kills in non-conference sweep against swept George Mason on Friday.

This is the first time this season that a player has received multiple National Freshman of the Week honors. In addition, Harthaller becomes the third player in the two-year history of the award to earn the honor at least twice.

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
Jake Arnitz, UCLA — Arnitz had a match-high 14 kills on a .435 attack percentage and added six blocks to help No. 9 UCLA defeat Cal State Northridge in four games on Friday. He also led all players with 14 kills in a four-game loss to No. 11 Long Beach State on Wednesday.

Nicolas Szerszen, Ohio State — Szerszen finished with a match-high 11 kills and zero attack errors as No. 12 Ohio State swept Lindenwood on Saturday to move into sole possession of first place in the MIVA. In addition, Szerszen added seven kills in a home sweep against Quincy on Friday.

Matt Walsh, Ball State — Walsh had a match-high 14 blocks in a five-game loss to No. 10 IPFW on Thursday. He also led Ball State with a season-high 10 kills on .500 attack percentage in a three-game loss to George Mason on Saturday.

Brendan Sander, BYU — Sander had a combined 21 kills to help No. 7 BYU complete a the two-match home series sweep against Cal Baptist during the weekend. The freshman also had almost a .400 attack percentage in both matches and added two aces in the series opener on Friday.

Brian Negron, George Mason — Negron had a match-high 29 assists and helped George Mason out-hit No. 13 Ball State .243 to .161 in its road sweep on Saturday. The setter in the victory also added three kills and two blocks.

Nick Drooker, King — Drooker had 38 assists and added nine digs to help King upset Mount Olive in four games on Saturday for the program’s first victory against the Trojans. He also had a match-high 50 assists in a five-game home win against Barton on Friday.

Kendall Ratter, Princeton — Ratter had 10 kills on a .438 attack percentage to help Princeton sweep NJIT in its conference opener on Friday.