A nationwide voting committee selected Hawai’i middle attacker Taylor Averill, Long Beach State middle attacker Taylor Gregory, Lewis middle attacker Bobby Walsh and Ball State middle attacker Matt Walsh as the four finalists for the annual Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Blocker of the Year.
The Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Blocker of the Year is annually awarded to the NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball player with the best front-row defensive performance during the regular season.
Averill was second in the conference and fourth in the nation with a 1.31 blocks per game average. The All-American senior also helped the Rainbow Warriors move to No. 1 in the national coaches poll for the first time in more than a decade and earn the No. 2 seed for the MPSF Tournament.
Gregory had a nation-best 138 blocks and was second in the nation with a 1.53 blocks per game average. In addition, the 2013 finalists for the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Blocker of the Year had at least six blocks in 13 matches as Long Beach State qualified for the upcoming MPSF Tournament.
Bobby Walsh led the nation with a 1.55 blocks per game average and had more than five blocks in 10 matches. The all-conference junior also helped lead Lewis to the MIVA regular season championship and the No. 1 ranking in the national coaches poll.
Matt Walsh was third in the nation with a 1.40 blocks per game average and led the MIVA with 126 blocks. The Freshman All-American selection also twice tied a school rally scoring era record with 14 blocks in a single-match as Ball State finished the regular season in sixth place in the MIVA.
This is the fifth year of the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Blocker of the Year. Previous winners include BYU All-American middle attacker Futi Tavana in 2011, USC middle attacker Robert Feathers in 2012, UC Santa Barbara All-American middle attacker Dylan Davis in 2013 and Pacific middle attacker Tommy Carmody in 2014.
The voting committee for this award was comprised of more than 30 college men’s volleyball head coaches and volleyball reporters from around the nation.
The overall winner of the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Blocker of the Year will be announced Thursday, April 30.
Off the Block is a website that launched in January 2011 and has become among the nation’s leading media outlets for college men’s volleyball coverage. Springbak, Inc. is the official sponsor of the 2015 National Blocker of the Year and 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.
NATIONAL BLOCKER OF THE YEAR: VOTING RESULTS
Finalists (listed alphabetically)
Taylor Averill, Hawai’i
Taylor Gregory, Long Beach State
Bobby Walsh, Lewis
Matt Walsh, Ball State
Others receiving votes
5. Michael Hatch, BYU
6. Ramon Burgos, IPFW
T-7. Andy Benesh, USC
T-7. Greg Faulkner, CSUN
T-7. Davis Holt, Hawai’i
T-7. Jeff Jendryk, Loyola
T-11. Jason Agopian, UC Irvine
T-11. Enrique de Diego Garcia, Cal Baptist
T-11. Conrad Kaminski, Stanford
T-11. Nicholas Olson, Loyola
T-11. Tanner Medina, Barton
T-11. Matt Tarantino, Pepperdine