Penn State, USC outside attackers named Co-National Freshman of Week

Two freshmen will earn a share of a national award after helping lead their teams to victories against top-10 nationally ranked teams during the weekend.

Off the Block announced Monday that Penn State outside attacker Jalen Penrose and USC outside attacker Larry Tuileta were selected as the Off the Block Co-National Freshman of the Week.


Penrose finished with a season-high 19 kills to help No. 10 Penn State defeat No. 11 Ohio State in five games on Saturday. He also had an ace and two blocks in the non-conference victory that extended the Nittany Lions’ winning streak to six matches.

Tuileta had a team-high 17 kills on a .469 attack percentage and added 10 digs in a four-game loss to No. 15 CSUN on Wednesday. In addition, the outside attacker had 11 kills and a season-high 11 digs as No. 7 USC defeated No. 8 Long Beach State in five games on Friday.

Both Penrose and Tuileta become the first players from Penn State or USC this season to win the National Freshman of the Week honors.

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.

Off the Block National Freshman of the Week honorable mentions
Nicholas Szerszen, Ohio State — Szerszen had eight kills and no attack errors in a five-game non-conference loss against No. 10 Penn State on Saturday. He also had a match-high four aces and added four blocks as No. 11 Ohio State swept St. Francis on Friday.

Alex Harthaller, IPFW — Harthaller finished with 12 kills and a team-high two aces as IPFW defeated Quincy in four games on Friday. He also had seven kills and two aces in a road sweep against Lindenwood on Saturday.

Jeff Jendryk, Loyola — Jendryk had a combined 18 kills and nine blocks in a two-match series sweep against Grand Canyon last week. The middle attacker also had more than a .350 attack percentage in both conference matches, including hitting .533 in the series opener on Wednesday.

Dustin King, North Greenville — King led all players with a season-high 32 digs as North Greenville lost in four games to King University on Wednesday. He also had a match-high 15 digs in a four-game loss to Emmanuel on Tuesday.

Nick Drooker, King — Drooker had 45 assists guided King’s offense to out-hit Mount Olive .258 to .140 in a four-game victory on Saturday. He also added seven blocks and eight digs in the conference victory.