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 February. Individuals can vote once per hour using at the poll below or by visiting offtheblockblog.com/playerofmonth.


Nolan Albrecht, Belmont Abbey — Albrecht had double-digit kills in four matches during February, including a season-high 28 kills on a .462 attack percentage in a five-game victory against Alderson Broaddus on Feb. 6. He also had at least nine digs in four matches and earned the Conference Carolinas Player of the Week award once in February as the Crusaders ended the month in fifth place in the conference.

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Tayler Averill, Hawai’i — Averill led all middle attackers in the nation with double-digit kills in six matches during February. The All-American senior also had at least five blocks in all but one of the Rainbow Warriors’ eight February matches to help the team end the month on a six-match winning streak and in second place in the MPSF.

Michael Brinkley, UC Irvine — Brinkley had at least 10 digs in three matches during February, including a season-high 15 digs in a five-game victory against No. 5 Pepperdine on Feb. 14. The All-American senior also led the Anteaters in digs for all but two of their seven February matches as UC Irvine went undefeated during the month and moved into first place in the MPSF.

Micah Christenson, USC — Christenson despite not playing for part of the month because of an illness had two matches with more than 50 assists, including a career-high 63 assists in a five-game road loss to No. 6 Hawai’i on Feb. 4. The All-American senior also had double-digit digs in two matches as No. 7 USC finished the month in fifth place in the MPSF.

Branden Clemens, Harvard — Clemens had double-digit kills in six matches and at least a .400 attack percentage in four matches during February to help Harvard move into top-half of the EIVA standings. He also was named the Morgan Classic MVP after a tournament-high 32 combined kills in two matches as Harvard won the non-conference event.

Michael Hatch, BYU — Hatch finished with at least five blocks in six matches during February for No. 4 BYU, including having a season-high nine blocks in a victory against No. 10 Long Beach State on Feb. 20. The middle attacker and 2014 Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Blocker of the Year finalist also had four matches with at least a .500 attack percentage as BYU ended the month in second place in the MPSF.


Tamhir Hershko, UC Irvine — Hershko led UC Irvine in kills during its last six matches of the month, including having a season-high 22 kills in a five-game victory against Stanford on Feb. 20. He also had double-digit kills and more than a .350 attack percentage in five consecutive matches to help the Anteaters finish February undefeated and in sole possession of first place in the MPSF.

Thomas Jaeschke, Loyola — Jaeschke had double-digit kills and more than a .400 attack percentage in five matches in February, including having a match-high 11 kills in a road sweep of then-No. 9 IPFW on Feb. 12. The All-American senior also earned National Player of the Week honors on Feb. 17 and had a season-high six aces in sweep against Lindenwood on Saturday to help the Ramblers undefeated this season.

Miles Johnson, Ohio State — Johnson had double-digit kills in six matches during February, including a season-high 20 kills on a .457 attack percentage in a four-game victory against Grand Canyon on Friday. The opposite also finished with at least one ace in all eight of the Buckeyes’ matches during the month to help the team move into third place in the MIVA.

Parker Kalmbach, Pepperdine — Kalmbach led Pepperdine in kills in all five of its matches during February, including having a match-high 19 kills on a .680 attack percentage in a sweep against Stanford on Friday. The all-conference senior also had more than a .325 attack percentage in every February match to help the Waves end the month one match out of first place in the MPSF.

Kolby Kanetake, Hawai’i — Kanetake had five matches with double-digit digs in February and was named the MPSF Player of the Week after having a career-high 21 digs in a four-game victory against No. 15 Cal State Northridge on Feb. 20. He also helped the Rainbow Warriors finish the month on a six-match winning streak to move into second place in the MPSF.

Cody Kessel, Princeton — Kessel had double-digit kills in all four matches he played in during February, including having a season-high 22 kills and eight blocks in a four-game rivalry win against Harvard. The senior also had two matches with more than a .400 attack percentage as Princeton ended the month in second place in the EIVA.

David Specian, Pfeiffer — Specian finished the month leading the Conference Carolinas with a 10.95 assists per game average, including having a season-high 58 assists in a five-game victory against Mount Olive on Feb. 21. He also guided the Falcons’ offense to more than a .300 attack percentage in four February matches as Pfeiffer went undefeated during the month and moved into first place in the Conference Carolinas standings.

Pierre Tang-Taye, Barton — Tang-Taye had at least 20 kills in three matches during February and double-digit kills in all eight of Barton’s matches in the month. The outside attacker also has at least one ace in six consecutive matches and helped Barton move into seventh place in the Conference Carolinas standings.

Bobby Walsh, Lewis — Walsh had at least three blocks in every February match and had at least a .600 attack percentage in four of Lewis’ six matches during the month. In addition, the all-conference middle attacker was named the National Player of the Week after having a season-high 12 blocks in four-game victory against Penn State on Feb. 20 to help No. 2 Lewis finish the month undefeated.

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