Two freshmen who helped their teams remain undefeated to start the season will now receive a share of a national award.
Off the Block announced Monday that Long Beach State outside attacker TJ DeFalco and CSUN setter Sam Porter were selected as the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Co-Freshman of the Week.
DeFalco had both a match-high 21 kills on a .432 attack percentage and six aces in a four-game victory against Cal Baptist on Friday. The outside attacker also led all players with 19 kills and three aces as No. 3/4 Long Beach State beat No. 13 USC in four games on Saturday.
Porter had match-high 52 assists and guided the CSUN offense to a .410 attack percentage in a four-game victory against No. 13 USC on Friday. With Porter as the starting setter, No. 14 CSUN also had a .449 attack percentage in a sweep against Cal Baptist on Wednesday.
This is the first time in the three-year history of the award that a Long Beach State player has been named the National Freshman of the Week. In addition, it is the second time a Matador freshman has received the honor.
The Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Freshman of the Week is presented each week during the regular season to the NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball freshman who had the most outstanding performance. The winner is announced every Monday during the regular season on the Off the Block website, offtheblockblog.com.
Each of the four NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball conferences have an opportunity each week to nominate one player for the National Freshman of the Week. In addition, fans and teams can nominate a player for the National Freshman of the Week by tweeting their nominee to the official Twitter account of Off the Block, @offtheblock11.
Off the Block is a website that started in January 2011 and has become among the national leaders in college men’s volleyball coverage.
Springbak, Inc. is the official sponsor of the 2016 Freshmen All-American Team and National Freshman of the Week and 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.
Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Freshman of the Week honorable mentions
Adam Wessel, Ball State — Wessel had a match-high 17 digs in a four-game victory against Harvard on Friday. He also led Ball State with 10 digs in a non-conference win against Sacred Heart on Thursday.
Michael Keegan, IPFW — Keegan had a match-high 52 assists and guided IPFW’s offense to a .381 attack percentage in a four-game victory against Sacred Heart on Friday. He also had team-high 40 assists and added five digs in a three-game loss to Harvard in Saturday.
Royce Clemens, Penn State — Clemens finished with a match-high 12 digs as No. 10/10 Penn State on the road defeated No. 9/8 Lewis in five games on Friday. He also added five digs in a three-game loss to No. 6/5 Loyola on Thursday.
Gabe Woffindin, St. Francis — Woffindin had a 13 digs to help St. Francis upset No. 9/8 Lewis in five games on Friday.
Kevin Rocklein, Limestone — Rocklein had a combined 38 kills in three matches last week, including a season-high 17 kills on a .483 attack percentage in a four-game loss to Mount Olive on Friday. He also had nine kills on a .400 attack percentage in a sweep against Barton on Saturday.
Vasilis Mandilaris, Barton — Mandilaris had a team-high 16 kills on a .379 attack percentage in a five-game loss to Pfeiffer on Thursday. He also led Barton with 10 kills in a three-game loss to Limestone on Saturday.
Caleb Bonaventure, Emmanuel — Bonaventure had a team-high 48 assists and added 12 digs as Emmanuel defeated King in five games on Friday. He also had a match-high three aces and guided Emmanuel’s offense to a .221 attack percentage to help the team beat Lees-McRae on Saturday.
Ivan Trifunovic, Mount Olive — Trifunovic had a match-high 16 kills on a .583 attack percentage as Mount Olive defeated Limestone in four games on Friday.
Josh Tuaniga, Long Beach State — Tuaniga had a match-high 49 assists and guided Long Beach State to a .377 attack percentage in a four-game victory against No. 13 USC on Saturday. In addition, Tuaniga had 47 assists as Long Beach State hit .360 to defeat Cal Baptist in four games on Friday.
Stijn van Tilburg, Hawai’i — van Tilburg had 15 kills on a .452 attack percentage as No. 5/6 Hawai’i defeated No. 12 Pepperdine on Saturday. He also had 12 kills in the series-opening loss to Pepperdine on Friday.
Micah Ma’a, UCLA — Ma’a had a match-high six aces and helped guide the Bruins’ offense to a .407 attack percentage in a sweep against UC San Diego on Saturday. He also had eight kills and 23 assists in a four-game victory against No. 4/3 UC Irvine on Friday.