Off the Block selected the 18 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 March. Individuals also vote using at the poll below or by visiting offtheblockblog.com/playerofmonth.
Taylor Averill, Hawai’i — Averill had double-digit kills and more than a .500 attack percentage in three matches during March, including 19 kills and a .750 attack percentage in a five-game victory against No. 3 Pepperdine on March 8. The All-American middle attacker also helped the Rainbow Warriors finish the month undefeated and climb to No. 1 in the national coaches poll for the first time since 2004.
Micah Christenson, USC — Christenson had at least 40 assists in five matches and double-digit digs five times during March, including a season-high 19 digs in a five-game victory against No. 9 USC’s rival No. 12 UCLA on Saturday. In addition, Christenson helped the Trojans finish the month in fourth place in the MPSF standings.
Greg Faulkner, CSUN — Faulkner had at least five blocks in six matches and double-digit kills two times during March, including a season-high 13 kills and 10 blocks in a non-conference victory against Harvard on March 24. The middle attacker also helped No. 14 CSUN move back into the race for the final spot in the MPSF Tournament with upset victories against No. 9 USC and No. 13 Stanford in the last two weeks.
Colin Hackworth, Lindenwood — Hackworth had at least 15 kills in five matches during March, including a match-high 22 kills on a .633 attack percentage in a road victory against Grand Canyon on Friday. The senior also had a season-high five aces in victories against both Ball State and Grand Canyon this month to help Lindenwood move into fifth place in the MIVA.
J.T. Hatch, UCLA — Hatch had double-digit kills in all but one of No. 12 UCLA’s five matches during March, including having a season-high 25 kills in a five-game loss to No. 9 USC on Saturday. The outside attacker was also named the Off the Block National Freshman of the Week on March 9 and helped the Bruins finish the month in eighth place in the MPSF standings.
Michael Henchy, Ohio State — Henchy had at least 15 kills in three matches this month, including a season-high 32 kills on a .756 attack percentage in an upset victory against then-No. 2 Lewis on March 13. The senior also had a season-high five aces in a loss to No. 8 Penn State and helped the Ohio State finish the month in third place in the MIVA.
Peter Hutz, Loyola — Hutz guided Loyola’s offense to more than a .400 attack percentage in four of its six matches during March. He also had more than 40 assists in three matches as the Ramblers finished the month tied for first place in the MIVA.
Thomas Jaeschke, Loyola — Jaeschke had double-digit kills and at least a .300 attack percentage in all five matches he played in during March, including a match-high 17 kills and a .600 attack percentage in a victory against No. 11 Ohio State on March 14. The All-American outside attacker also earned MIVA Offensive Player of the Week honors last week and helped the Ramblers end the month in a tie for first place in the MIVA.
Cody Kessel, Princeton — Kessel finished the month with double-digit kills in all but one of Princeton’s six matches in March, including a season-high 23 kills in a non-conference loss to Ball State. The All-American opposite also had a season-high three aces in a victory St. Francis on Saturday to help Princeton remain in second place in the EIVA.
Zack La Cavera, UC Irvine — La Cavera had at least 15 kills in four matches and led the Anteaters in kills in five of their six matches this month. The opposite also had 35 combined kills in a two-match series sweep against No. 6 BYU during the weekend as No. 5 UC Irvine finished the month in second place in the MPSF.
Enzo Mackenzie, Sacred Heart — Mackenzie had double-digit kills in all five matches he played in during March, including 19 kills and a season-high five aces in a non-conference victory against Barton on March 13. He also helped Sacred Heart enter April at 10-8 — its first season with 10 or more wins since 2011.
Brady Markle, Lees-McRae — Markle had a nation-best four matches with at least 20 kills during March, including a career-high 38 kills in a five-game victory against North Greenville on March 4. The outside attacker also had a career-high eight aces in a win against Emmanuel on Saturday to help Lees-McRae remain in contention for a possible berth to the Conference Carolinas Tournament.
Mike Michelau, Erskine — Michelau finished with double-digit kills in all 10 of Erskine’s matches so far during March and had two matches with at least 25 kills. The all-conference outside attacker also had multiple aces in seven matches as Erskine finished the month in second place in the Conference Carolinas.
Greg Petty, Lewis — Petty had match-high 21 kills in an upset victory against then-No. 1 Loyola on March 9. The outside attacker also had a four conference matches with at least 14 kills to help the Ramblers finish the month in a tie for first place in the MIVA.
Aaron Russell, Penn State — Russell had at least 20 kills in three matches and finished with more than .400 attack percentage four times in March. The All-American senior also had four consecutive matches with multiple aces and was named the National Player of the Week as No. 8 Penn State finished the month undefeated.
David Specian, Pfeiffer — Specian guided Pfeiffer’s offense to more than a .325 attack percentage in all five of its conference matches during March. He also had more than 50 assists in two of those matches as the Falcons finished the month in first place in the Conference Carolinas.
Josh Taylor, Pepperdine — Taylor had a nation-best four matches with at least 20 kills during March, including a season-high 24 kills on a .476 attack percentage in a victory against No. 6 BYU on March 21. The All-American outside attacker also helped the Waves end the month on a six-match winning streak and in third place in the MPSF.
Matt West, Pepperdine — West guided Pepperdine’s offense to more than a .300 percentage in four matches in March and had at least 50 assists five times, including a season-high 68 assists in a victory against No. 6 BYU on March 20. The All-American setter was also named the National Player of the Week on March 24 and helped the Waves end the month in third place in the MPSF standings.