A North Greenville freshman is earning a national award after helping led the first-year program to a berth in the postseason.
Off the Block announced Monday that North Greenville outside attacker Luuga Vailu’u was selected as the Off the Block National Freshman of the Week.
Vailu’u had a combined 44 kills in three matches last week, including a team-high 17 kills on a .519 attack percentage as North Greenville defeated Lees-McRae to clinch a Conference Carolinas Tournament berth. He also led North Greenville with five blocks and added 13 kills in an upset victory against King.
This is the first time that a Crusader has a received the national award. Vailu’u also becomes the second player from the Conference Carolinas this season to earn the honor.
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
Jeff Jendryk, Loyola — Jendryk had a perfect seven kills on seven attack attempts as No. 5 Loyola swept Quincy on Friday. He also had eight kills on a .500 attack percentage and three blocks in a sweep against Lindenwood on Saturday.
Jared Wilcox, McKendree — Wilcox had a match-high 20 kills as McKendree lost to Ball State in four games on Saturday. He also added six digs and a block in the conference match.
Matt Walsh, Ball State — Walsh had a match-high four blocks and added eight kills on a .778 attack percentage in a four-game victory against McKendree on Saturday. He also had a team-high three blocks as Ball State lost to No. 11 Ohio State in three games on Thursday.
Nicolas Szerszen, Ohio State — Szerszen had nine kills and zero attack errors to help No. 11 Ohio State sweep Ball State on Thursday. He also finished with 10 kills and a team-high two aces in a sweep against No. 14 IPFW on Saturday.
Brian Negron, George Mason — Negron had 33 assists and guided George Mason’s offense to a season-high .441 attack percentage in a sweep against Grand Canyon on Saturday. He also had two aces and four blocks as the Patriots out-hit the Antelopes in a four-game victory Friday to open their two-match series.
J.T. Hatch, UCLA — Hatch had a match-high 17 kills on a .481 attack percentage to help No. 12 UCLA sweep UC San Diego on Saturday. He also finished with 11 kills in a four-game loss to No. 4 UC Irvine on Friday.
Hayden Boehle, UC Santa Barbara — Boehle finished with a match-high eight digs as No. 9 UC Santa Barbara swept UC San Diego on Friday. He also added nine digs in a near upset against No. 4 UC Irvine on Wednesday.