It’s been eight long, and at times chaotic, months to the college men’s volleyball off-season but the new season is finally within everyone’s grasp.
Check out the top 15 news items from college men’s volleyball off-season that you need to know about before the 2016 season begins in January.
Jaeschke turns professional early, leaves Loyola
All-American outside attacker Thomas Jaeschke announced in July that he will forego his senior season and play professionally in the Polish Volleyball League. Jaeschke, the 2015 AVCA National Player of the Year, finished last season in the nation’s top five with a 4.04 kills per game average as the Ramblers repeated as NCAA champions. To read more about Jaeschke decision to turn professional early, click here.
BYU tops preseason coaches poll
The Cougars received 13 of 20 first-place votes to be ranked No. 1 in the AVCA preseason national coaches poll. BYU enters the upcoming season returning a majority of starters after advancing to the MPSF Tournament quarterfinals last season. In addition, former All-American opposite Ben Patch returns to the team after missing the last two seasons to participate in a church mission. To read more about the AVCA preseason coaches poll, click here.
Nygaard named USC head coach
USC athletics director Pat Haden announced in June that he promoted assistant coach and former UCLA All-American Jeff Nygaard to be the Trojans’ new head coach. Nygaard spent the last five seasons coaching the USC middle attackers as a part of former head coach Bill Ferguson’s staff. This also was one of almost a dozen head coaching changes made during the off-season in NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball. To view Off the Block special contributor Jonathan Bates’ interview with the new USC head coach, click here.
BYU coaching change
BYU announced in June that women’s volleyball coach Shawn Olmstead would transition to become the school’s new head coach of the men’s volleyball team for the upcoming season. Olmstead replaces former BYU coach Chris McGown, who stepped down earlier in the summer to spend more time with his family. To read more about this BYU coaching change, click here.
Changes possible to NCAA Tournament
The NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball committee during its annual summer meetings discussed a variety of possible changes to the NCAA Tournament in future years. Off the Block in July interviewed Ron Shayka, the NCAA men’s volleyball committee chairman and George Mason associate athletics director about NCAA annual meeting and any potential changes. To listen to that interview with the committee chairman, click here.
2016 Preseason All-American Team released
A nationwide voting committee of coaches and media members selected 21 players to the 2016 Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Preseason All-American Teams. The two-time defending NCAA champions Loyola along with Hawai’i and BYU each had a nation-best three players earn All-American honors. To read more about the Preseason All-American Team and to view the complete list, click here.
Erik Shoji Award to debut in 2016
Off the Block announced earlier this month 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. It is also named after the former four-time All-American Stanford libero. To read more about the Erik Shoji award, click here.
MPSF teams traveling east to Penn State
Penn State will open the season with a home non-conference showcase featuring MPSF teams UCLA and USC along with its MIVA rival Ohio State. This will be the first time that MPSF teams have traveled to play a road non-conference match against Penn State since 2011. To read more about these early-season non-conference matches, click here.
AVCA Showcase moving to Provo
BYU announced it will play host to the annual AVCA Showcase with UC Irvine, George mason and the two-time defending NCAA champions Loyola also competing in the event. All four teams participating in the January non-conference tournament were ranked in the preseason national coaches poll. To read more about the 2016 AVCA Showcase, click here.
U.S. finishes strong at World Championship
The United States won four of its final five matches to finish in 11th place at the FIVB U21 World Championship. UCLA outside attacker JT Hatch led the U.S. team comprised of college players with double-digit kills in five matches during the international tournament. To read more about the United States at the World Championship, click here.
Hosack goes to George Mason
George Mason announced in August that it hired former Penn State assistant coach and offensive coordinator Jay Hosack to be its new head coach. Hosack spent the last six seasons as a Penn State assistant coach and in each season the Nittany Lions won the EIVA championship and reached the NCAA Tournament. In addition, Penn State defeated George Mason in the EIVA Tournament championship match last season. To read more about Hosack taking over the George Mason program, click here.
IPFW promotes assistant Perrotte to be new head coach
IPFW announced in May that longtime assistant coach Rock Perrotte will succeed retired Hall of Famer Arnie Ball as the new Mastodons head coach. Perrotte spent the last 12 seasons working under Ball and helped the Mastodons twice reach the NCAA Tournament. To listen to Off the Block’s interview with Perrotte about becoming the team’s new head coach, click here.
Incoming recruits shine at Youth World Championship
The U.S. Boys’ Youth National Team comprised of high school players and incoming college recruits finished in seventh place at the FIVB U19 World Championship in August. UCLA freshman Micah Ma’a led all players at the international tournament with 32 aces. Long Beach State freshman Kyle Ensing also had a match-high 15 matches to help the United States swept Mexico in the Round of 16 and advance to the quarterfinals. To read more about the United States’ performance at the Youth World Championship, click here
New look for upcoming Outrigger Invitational
Hawai’i announced in October that it will play host to Harvard, King and NCAA finalists Lewis at its home non-conference tournament the Outrigger Invitational. This will be the first time that both Harvard and King will compete in the early-season round-robin tournament. King also will be the first Conference Carolinas school to participate in the 22-year history of the Outrigger Invitational. To read more about the 2016 Outrigger Invitational field, click here.
U.S. takes silver at Pan Am Cup
The U.S. Men’s Junior National Team went 4-2 and won the silver medal at the Pan American Cup during the summer. BYU outside attacker Brenden Sander led the United States in kills in three tournament matches, including having 20 kills in a four-game victory against rival Canada in the semifinals. To read more about the United States in the Pan American Cup, click here.