Ohio State outside Szerszen named National Freshman of Week

A freshman who helped No. 12 Ohio State defeat one of its biggest rivals is now receiving a national award for the first time in his college career.

Off the Block announced Monday that Ohio State outside attacker Nicolas Szerszen was selected as the National Freshman of the Week.


Szerszen had a team-high 16 kills and 11 digs as No. 12 Ohio State swept Penn State in a non-conference match Wednesday. In addition, the freshman had 10 kills and two aces in a four-game victory against St. Francis on Sunday to help Ohio State extend its winning streak to seven matches.

This is the first time this season that a Buckeye has been selected as the National Freshman of the Week. Szerszen also becomes the second Ohio State player to earn the honor in the two-year history of the award.

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
Ben Plaisted, Loyola — Plaisted had nine kills on a .571 attack percentage and added eight digs as No. 1 Loyola on the road swept No. 9 IPFW on Thursday. He also had 10 kills and two blocks in victory against No. 15 Ball State on Saturday to help Loyola remain the lone undefeated team in the nation.

Larry Tuileta, USC — Tuileta coming off the bench had 15 kills on a team-high .480 attack percentage as No. 2 USC rallied from a two-game deficit to defeat No. 7 BYU in five games onThursday.

Shalev Saada, Grand Canyon — Saada had a combined 21 kills in a two-match weekend series sweep against McKendree, including have a season-high 11 kills in the series finale Saturday. He also finished the series opener with a .471 attack percentage and had six digs in both matches.

Matthew McManaway, North Greenville — McManaway finished with a match-high 16 kills and five blocks as North Greenville defeated Emmanuel in five games on Tuesday for its first conference win program history. He also added 12 kills in a five-game non-conference victory against Charleston on Friday.

Kyle Dagostino, Stanford — Dagostino finished with 47 assists and helped Stanford’s offense hit .281 in a four-game road victory against UC San Diego on Saturday. He also added 12 digs against the Tritons.