Off the Block releases watch list for 2016 Lloy Ball Award

Fifteen college men’s volleyball players have been selected to the 2016 watch list for the annual Lloy Ball Award.

Off the Block unveiled Monday the watch list for the national award that is presented to the best setter in NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball during the regular season.


Among the setters making this season’s watch list includes 2015 Lloy Ball Award finalist Loyola setter Peter Hutz. Along with Hutz, fellow Off the Block/Srpingbak, Inc. Preseason All-American selections UC Santa Barbara setter Jonah Seif, Lewis setter Scott Fifer, Stanford setter James Shaw and Hawai’i Jennings Franciskovic made the watch list.

The watch list for the 2016 Lloy Ball Award was determined by Off the Block using a variety of factors including player performances from previous seasons and projections on standout setters to watch during the upcoming season.

The winner of the Lloy Ball Award will be selected at the end of the regular season by a nationwide voting committee comprised of coaches and media members. The top-three vote-getters will be named finalists, while the player receiving the most votes will be winner of the Lloy Ball Award presented by Off the Block.

The Lloy Ball Award started in 2014 and was named after former IPFW All-American setter and U.S. Olympic gold medalist Lloy Ball. The naming of the award after a player was done in an effort to honor and incorporate the history of college volleyball into this award

This is one of five position-based awards presented in college men’s volleyball. Off the Block also presents the Bryan Ivie Award to the nation’s top opposite, the Karch Kiraly Award to the nation’s top outside attacker and the Erik Shoji Award to the nation’s top libero.

These are the only national position-based award in college men’s volleyball. Several volleyball organizations give out national end-of-year awards such as All-American Teams, but no national award before last year was specific to a position.

Off the Block launched in 2011 and in recent years has emerged among the nation’s leaders in college men’s volleyball coverage.


2016 LLOY BALL AWARD WATCH LIST
Christy Blough, Ohio State
Nick Drooker, King
Scott Fifer, Lewis
Jennings Franciskovic, Hawai’i
Hiago Garchet, Ball State
Taylor Hammond, Penn State
Peter Hutz, Loyola
Chris Kennedy, Princeton
Micah Ma’a, UCLA
Zachary Melcher, Cal Baptist
Brian Negron, George Mason
Federico Pagliara, Barton
Michael Saeta, UC Irvine
Jonah Seif, UC Santa Barbara
James Shaw, Stanford

LLOY BALL AWARD WATCH LIST PLAYER BIOS
Christy Blough, Ohio State — Blough ended last season second in the MIVA and among the national leaders with a 11.05 assists per game average. The junior also helped the Buckeyes finish the 2015 season in third place in the MIVA and advance to the conference tournament semifinals.

Nick Drooker, King — Drooker was in the top 10 of the Conference Carolinas last season with both a 9.25 assists per game average and 28 aces. He also was named the 2015 Conference Carolinas Freshman of the Year as he helped lead King to a berth in the conference tournament.

Scott Fifer, Lewis — Fifer, a 2016 Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Preseason All-American Team selection, was third in the MIVA last season with 1,018 assists and guided the Flyers’ offense to the conference’s second best attack percentage at .338. The senior also earned all-conference honors last season and helped Lewis advance to the NCAA Tournament finals.

Jennings Franciskovic, Hawai’i — Franciskovic, an Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Preseason All-American Team selection, finished last season in the nation’s top 10 with a 10.82 assists per game average and guided the Rainbow Warriors to a .309 attack percentage. The junior also helped Hawai’i earn its first berth to the NCAA Tournament in almost a decade.

Taylor Hammond, Penn State — Hammond was fifth in the nation with a 10.99 assists per game average and helped guide the Nittany Lions’ offense to a conference-best .283 attack percentage. The senior also earned all-conference honors last season as Penn State won the EIVA championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament semifinals.

Peter Hutz, Loyola — Hutz, a 2016 Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Preseason All-American Team selection, finished last season leading the MIVA and third in the nation with a 11.26 assists per game average. Hutz also earned All-American last season as he helped the Ramblers repeat as NCAA champions.

Hiago Garchet, Ball State — Garchet in his first year as the Cardinals’ starting setter finished last year in the nation’s top 15 with a 9.68 assists per game average. The senior also helped Ball State advance to the 2015 MIVA Tournament quarterfinals.

Chris Kennedy, Princeton — Kennedy was among the EIVA leaders last season with a 9.32 assists per game average. The junior also helped the Tigers advance to the EIVA Tournament for the fourth consecutive year.

Micah Ma’a, UCLA — Ma’a had a tournament-high 32 aces and helped lead the U.S. Boys’ Youth National Team to a seventh-place finish at the Youth World Championship during the summer. He also enters his freshman season after being one of the top ranked high school recruits in the nation.

Zachary Melcher, Cal Baptist — Melcher was among that nation’s freshmen leaders with both a 854 assists and a 8.99 assists per game average last season. In addition, Melcher earned All-MPSF Freshman Team honors as Cal Baptist finished last season in 11th place in the MPSF.

Brian Negron, George Mason — Negron as a freshman last season finished second in the EIVA with 958 assists and was in the conference’s top 10 with 63 blocks. He also was selected to the 2015 Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Freshmen All-American Team as the Patriots reached the EIVA Tournament championship match.

Federico Pagliara, Barton — Pagliara was fourth in the Conference Carolinas and among the nation’s leaders with a 9.87 assists per game average. He also earned All-Conference Carolinas honors as Barton reached the conference tournament quarterfinals.

Michael Saeta, UC Irvine — Saeta was among the MPSF leaders last season with an 8.53 assists per game average and 38 aces. The junior also helped the Anteaters win the MPSF championship and advance to the NCAA Tournament semifinals.

Jonah Seif, UC Santa Barbara — Seif, an Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Preseason All-American Team selection, was among the nation’s leaders with a 10.18 assists per game average and was fifth in the MPSF with a 2.26 digs per game average. The All-American senior also helped the Gauchos reach the MPSF Tournament quarterfinals last season.

James Shaw, Stanford — Shaw after being named a finalist for the 2014 Lloy Ball Award missed the majority of last season because of an injury. The Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Preseason All-American Team senior returns to the starting lineup as Stanford finished last season in ninth place in the MPSF.