IPFW outside Harthaller named National Freshman of Week

For a nation-best third time this season, an IPFW freshman is receiving a national award.

Off the Block announced on Monday that IPFW outside attacker Alex Harthaller was selected as the Off the Block National Freshman of the Week.


Harthaller finished with a match-high 16 kills on a .609 attack percentage as No. 15 IPFW swept its in-state conference rival Ball State on Saturday. The outside attacker also led the Mastodons with a three aces and four blocks in the final regular season home match for Hall of Fame coach Arnie Ball before he retires.

This is the third time that Harthaller has been named the National Freshman of the Week. In addition, Harthaller joins USC outside attacker Lucas Yoder has the only players in the two-year history of award to win it three times in a single-season.

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
Nicolas Szerszen, Ohio State — Szerszen had a team-high 12 kills as No. 11 Ohio State defeated Quincy in four games on Saturday. He also added eight kills in a sweep against Lindenwood on Friday.

Jalen Penrose, Penn State — Penrose had 13 kills on a .450 attack percentage in a sweep against George Mason on Saturday. He also finished with a match-high two aces to help the Nittany Lions remain undefeated in conference play.

Brian Negron, George Mason — Negron had 39 assists as he guided George Mason’s offense to a .333 attack percentage in a sweep against St. Francis on Friday. He also finished with five blocks in the victory.

Bret Rutledge, Mount Olive — Rutledge finished with a team-high 18 kills and added seven blocks as Mount Olive defeated Barton in five games on Wednesday. He also had a 11 digs against the Bulldogs.

Kyle Dagostino, Stanford — Dagostino had 40 assists and guided Stanford’s offense to out-hit Cal Baptist .312 to .198 in a four-game victory on Thursday. The setter also had two aces and nine digs in the conference victory.