Finalists announced for OTB/Springbak National Player of Month

Off the Block selected the 30 finalists, and now it is up to the fans to determine who should win the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Player of the Month.


The Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Player of the Month award recognizes the best individual performances from NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball players during the month and gives volleyball fans from around the world the chance to determine who was the best player.

Fans will determine the winner of the National Player of the Month award through online voting on the Off the Block website. The online poll is now open and closes at 11:59 p.m. (EST) Wednesday.

While there are several weekly awards in college men’s volleyball, this is the only national monthly award presented in the sport. It is also one of the two nationally awards determined solely by the fans.

Springbak, Inc. is the official sponsor of the National Player of the Month and the Fan Choice National Player of the Year at the end of the season. Springbak, Inc. produces high performance footwear used by professional athletes from the NFL, NBA, MLB and U.S. Olympic teams and the top college teams in the nation.

Check out the finalists below for the National Player of the Month in January. Individuals also vote using at the poll below or by visiting offtheblockblog.com/playerofmonth.

Nolan Albrecht, Belmont Abbey — Albrecht leads the nation with a 5.00 kills per game average and is second in the Conference Carolinas with a .424 attack percentage. The senior also has three matches with at least 15 kills and helped the Crusaders finish the month undefeated.

TJ DeFalco, Long Beach State — DeFalco leads all freshmen in the nation and is among the national leaders with a 4.56 kills per game average. The outside attacker had more than 20 kills in the last two matches for the 49ers and was twice named the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Freshman of the Week in January.

Daniel Ford, St. Francis — Ford led St. Francis to a conference-best .280 attack percentage through the first month of the season. He also is third in the EIVA with a 9.56 assists per game average and had three matches with more than 50 assists in January.

Jennings Franciskovic, Hawai’i — Franciskovic entered the weekend the weekend with a MPSF-best 11.57 assists per game average and guided the Rainbow Warriors to a .360 attack percentage. The setter also helped the Rainbow Warriors finish January in the top half of the MPSF standings.

Madison Hayden, Stanford — Hayden finished the month among the MPSF leaders with a 3.82 kills per game average and had a .341 attack percentage. He also helped lead the Cardinal to second place in the MPSF.

Tamir Hershko, UC Irvine — Hershko entered the weekend in the MPSF top five with both a 4.21 kills per game average and a 2.25 digs per game average.

Peter Hutz, Loyola — Hutz has a conference-best 11.25 assists per game average and led the Ramblers offense the third highest attack percentage in the conference at .321. In addition, Hutz has more than 40 assists in four matches during January, including a season-high 48 assists in a five-game victory against UC Irvine.

Dustin King, North Greenville — King is among the national leaders with a 2.67 digs per game average and had a season-high 18 digs in a season-opening victory against Limestone. The libero also helped the second-year program end the month in the top half of the conference standings.

Bruno Kretzschmar, Limestone — Kretzschmar is second in the Conference Carolinas averaging 4.89 kills per game. He also has at least 13 kills in every match and opened the season with more than 20 kills in the first two matches.

Gerrard Lipscombe, Grand Canyon — Lipscombe finished January among the MIVA leaders with a 3.41 kills per game average and a .300 attack percentage. The senior also had a season-high 17 kills on a .556 attack percentage in Grand Canyon’s upset victory against No. 13 Lewis on Saturday.

Micah Ma’a, UCLA — Ma’a running a 6-2 offense finished January with a 5.79 assists per game average and a 2.21 kills per game average. He also had a conference-best 25 aces and was twice named the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Freshman of the Week as the Bruins ended the month undefeated.

Vasilis Mandilaris, Barton — Mandilaris as a freshman ended January among the Conference Carolinas leaders with a 3.33 kills per game average and a .333 attack percentage. He also has double-digit kills in every match this season, including 15 kills in an upset victory against St. Francis to open the season.

Jonathan Martinez, Pfeiffer — Martinez is third in the Conference Carolinas with a 3.88 kills per game average and in the conference’s top 10 with a .364 attack percentage. The outside attacker also helped the Falcons finish the month undefeated and in first place in the Conference Carolinas.

Christopher Nugent, Penn State — Nugent is in the top five of the EIVA with both a 4.24 kills per game average and a .312 attack percentage. He also last week was named the National Player of the Week after having after having a combined 28 kills and more than .500 attack percentage in sweeps against No. 15 Ball State and IPFW.

Ben Patch, BYU — Patch leads BYU and is among the national leaders with a 4.42 kills per game average. The All-American opposite also had three matches with at least 20 kills as the Cougars finished the month in the top half of the MPSF.

Alex Pia, Ball State — Pia ended January among the MIVA leaders with a 1.13 blocks per game average and had three matches with at least five blocks. The middle attacker also added a .426 attack percentage, the highest attack percentage for any Cardinal with at least 25 attack attempts.

Sam Porter, CSUN — Porter finished January among the MPSF leaders with a 10.48 assists per game average and led the Matadors to a .323 attack percentage. He also earned Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Freshman of the Week honors and helped CSUN start 7-0 for the first time in program history.

Jonah Seif, UC Santa Barbara — Seif ended the month among the MPSF leaders with a 10.26 assists per game average and 20 aces. He also guided the Gauchos to a .303 attack percentage and helped the team move into the top half of the conference standings.

Andrew Sellan, IPFW — Sellan leads the MIVA with a 4.62 kills per game average and had double-digit kills in all but one match in January. The senior also had at least 20 kills in two matches, including a match-high 20 kills in a sweep against George Mason on Friday.

James Shaw, Stanford — Shaw returning to the court after missing most of last season with a leg injury is among the conference leaders with a 10.45 assists per game average and 15 aces. He also guided the Cardinal offense to a .342 attack percentage and helped the team climb to second place in the MPSF.

Mitch Stahl, UCLA — Stahl is among the MPSF leaders with both a .481 attack percentage and a 1.26 blocks per game average. The middle attacker also was named the season’s inaugural National Player of the Week and helped lead the Bruins to an undefeated January.

Devin Stearns, Princeton — Stearns leads the EIVA with a 4.29 kills per game average. The outside attacker also set the Princeton single-match rally-scoring era record with 33 kills in a five-game loss to UC San Diego.

Nicolas Szerszen, Ohio State — Szerszen is second in the MIVA with both a 4.25 kills per game average and 14 aces. He also is among the conference’s top five with a .407 attack percentage. Among the sophomore’s top performances in January included a team-high 21 kills in a four-game loss to No. 1/1 UCLA.

Matt Tarantino, Pepperdine — Tarantino is among the MPSF leaders with a 3.62 kills per game average on a .316 attack percentage. He also has 24 blocks to help the Waves finish January in the top half of the conference standings.

Josh Tuaniga, Long Beach State — Tuaniga as a freshman is among the national leaders with an 11.31 assists per game average. He also guided the 49ers to a .319 attack percentage in January and was named the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Freshman of the Week on Jan. 25.

Stijn van Tilburg, Hawai’i — van Tilburg entered the weekend leading the conference with a 4.61 kills per game average and in the top 15 of the MPSF with a .376 attack percentage. The opposite also was named an Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Freshman of the Week and helped the Rainbow Warriors end the month in the top half of the MPSF standings.

Bobby Walsh, Lewis — Walsh leads the MIVA with a .548 attack percentage and is in the conference’s top five with 29 blocks. The senior also had a season-high 14 kills on a .737 attack percentage and six blocks in a five-game loss to Penn State on Jan. 16.

Casey White, Harvard — White has an EIVA-best 3.06 kills per game average and is among the conference leaders with both a 2.78 kills per game average and a .304 attack percentage. The senior also had a both season-high 16 digs and 14 kills along with zero attack errors in a four-game loss to No. 15 Ball State on Jan. 15.

Jeff Yasalonis, Mount Olive — Yasalonis led Mount Olive to a conference-best .361 attack percentage and finished the month second in the Conference Carolinas with an 11.73 assists per game average. The setter also has more than 40 assists in the last three matches as Mount Olive ended January in third place in the Conference Carolinas.

Sinisa Zarkovic, Hawai’i — Zarkovic entered the weekend third in the conference with a 4.39 kills per game average and among the MPSF leaders with a .347 attack percentage. He also helped the Rainbow Warriors finish the month in the top half of the MPSF standings.

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