Off the Block releases watch list for 2016 Bryan Ivie Award

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

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


The watch list features all three opposites who earned Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Preseason All-American Team honors — UC Irvine’s Tamir Hershko, BYU’s Ben Patch and Pepperdine’s Matt Tarantino.

This Bryan Ivie Award preseason watch list was determined by Off the Block using a variety of factors including player performances from previous seasons and projections on opposites to watch during the upcoming season.

The winner of the Bryan Ivie 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 Bryan Ivie Award presented by Off the Block.

The Bryan Ivie Award started in 2015 and was named after the former USC All-American and former member of the U.S. Men’s National Team. 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 Lloy Ball Award to the nation’s top setter, 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 BRYAN IVIE AWARD WATCH LIST
Arthur Cabral, Coker
Jakub Ciesla, CSUN
Branden Clemens, Harvard
Tamir Hershko, UC Irvine
Christian Hessenauer, UCLA
Jack Gamache, Quincy
John La Rusch, Long Beach State
Marcin Niemczewski, Ball State
Ben Patch, BYU
Ben Plaisted, Loyola
Bret Rutledge, Mount Olive
Andy Sellan, IPFW
Matt Tarantino, Pepperdine
Paco Velez, George Mason
Jared Wilcox, McKendree

BRYAN IVIE AWARD WATCH LIST PLAYER BIOS
Arthur Cabral, Coker — Cabral, the 2015 Independent Player of the Year, was in the nation’s top 10 with both a 3.90 kills per game average and a 0.57 aces per game average last year. The junior also won the 2015 Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Fan Choice National Player of the Year and helped Coker finish the season 4-1 against other independent teams.

Jakub Ciesla, CSUN — Ciesla was among the CSUN team leaders in 2015 with a 2.43 kills per game average and 20 aces. He also helped the Matadors finish last season in 10th place in the MPSF.

Branden Clemens, Harvard — Clemens finished in the top 10 of the EIVA with both a 3.11 kills per game average and a 179 digs per game average last season. The senior also earned all-conference honors and helped Harvard advance to the four-team EIVA Tournament.

Jack Gamache, Quincy — Gamache, a 2016 Preseason All-MIVA Team selection, finished last season among the MIVA leaders with both a 2.38 kills per game average and a 1.99 digs per game average. The all-conference senior also helped Quincy earn a berth to the 2015 MIVA Tournament quarterfinals.

Tamir Hershko, UC Irvine — Hershko, a finalist for the 2015 Karch Kiraly Award, was among the national leaders and in the top five of the MPSF with a 3.56 kills per game average and had a .348 attack percentage last season. The Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Preseason All-American Team selection also helped the Anteaters advance to the 2015 NCAA Tournament semifinals.

Christian Hessenauer, UCLA — Hessenauer as a freshman was among the team leaders with a 2.32 kills per game average and had double-digit kills in seven matches last season. He also helped UCLA earn a berth to the eight-team MPSF Tournament.

John La Rusch, Long Beach State — La Rusch ended last season in the top 10 of the MPSF averaging 3.09 kills per game and had double-digit kills in 18 matches. He also was an all-conference honorable mention as Long Beach State earned a berth to the 2015 MPSF Tournament quarterfinals.

Marcin Niemczewski, Ball State — Niemczewski was among the MIVA leaders with a 3.04 kills per game average last season. He also had a team-high 14 kills as Ball State lost to Ohio State in the 2015 MIVA Tournament quarterfinals.

Ben Patch, BYU — Patch, the 2013 AVCA Newcomer of the Year, returns to the court after missing the last two years to participate in a church mission. In addition, Patch was one of two opposites selected as a Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Preseason First-Team All-American.

Ben Plaisted, Loyola — Plaisted had a 2.41 kills per game average started 19 matches as a freshman before missing the final month of the season with an injury. He also was named the National Freshman of the Week after having a career-high 14 kills to help Loyola defeat Penn State in February.

Bret Rutledge, Mount Olive — Rutledge as a freshman was in the top 10 of the Conference Carolinas with a 3.13 kills per game average last season. The all-conference selection also helped Mount Olive advance to the Conference Carolinas Tournament semifinals.

Andy Sellan, IPFW — Sellan, despite missing the second half of the 2015 season with a leg injury, was second in the MIVA and among the national leaders with a 3.80 kills per game average. The senior also earned all-conference honors last season and was named to the Preseason All-MIVA Team earlier this month.

Matt Tarantino, Pepperdine — Tarantino as a middle attacker last season was second in the MPSF with both a .428 attack percentage and a 0.40 aces per game average. The Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Preseason All-American Team selection also helped Pepperdine reach the 2015 MPSF Tournament finals.

Paco Velez, George Mason — Velez, a finalist for the 2015 Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Server of the Year, was among the nation’s leaders with 50 aces last season. He also was in the EIVA’s top 15 with a 2.52 kills per game average as George Mason advanced to the EIVA Tournament championship match.

Jared Wilcox, McKendree — Wilcox as a freshman last season was in the top 10 of the MIVA with a 3.05 kills per game average. He also was named the National Freshman of the Week after having a career-high 21 kills as McKendree upset then-No. 12 IPFW in March for the program’s first win versus a nationally ranked team.