A national award for liberos that is named in honor of a four-time All-American will be introduced to college men’s volleyball this upcoming season.
Off the Block announced Tuesday that it will present in 2016 the inaugural Erik Shoji Award, which will be awarded to the best libero in NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball during the regular season.
The Erik Shoji Award will be the first national position-based award in college men’s volleyball history specifically for a libero. The naming of this award after a former standout college men’s volleyball player was done in effort to preserve and honor the sport’s history.
Shoji while at Stanford became the first libero in college men’s volleyball history to earn All-American honors in four consecutive years. He also continues to hold both NCAA records for single-season digs and career digs during the rally scoring era.
Along with his individual success, Shoji as a sophomore helped lead the Cardinal to the 2010 NCAA championship.
Shoji since graduating in 2012 played professional volleyball overseas and was selected to the U.S. Men’s National Team. In addition, the starting libero helped the United States win the 2015 FIVB World Cup to earn a berth to the upcoming Olympics.
The Erik Shoji Award will be one of five position-based national awards presented by Off the Block in the upcoming season.
Off the Block in 2014 presented the inaugural Lloy Ball Award to the nation’s top setter. It also debuted last season the Karch Kiraly Award for the nation’s top outside attacker and the Bryan Ivie Award for the nation’s top opposite.
Several volleyball organizations present end-of-season awards ranging from All-American Teams to the National Player of the Year. However, Off the Block is the first volleyball organization to present national awards based on a specific position
Each national award winners will be determined at the end of the regular season by a nationwide voting committee comprised of coaches and media members.
Off the Block is a website that has become among the nation’s leaders in college men’s volleyball coverage.