It’s your top men’s volleyball stories list, but with a twist.
Every Sunday during the men’s volleyball regular season, Off the Block will post the best men’s volleyball stories of the week from around the nation. The list, though, is based more on how well the reporter wrote and covered the story rather than just what happened on the court.
In many communities volleyball is a non-mainstream sport that has a niche following. One of the exciting things for reporters covering volleyball, though, is finding that interesting angle that could appeal to volleyball and non-volleyball fans.
Going beyond the box score and game notes to provide readers with insight on the team that they can’t got anywhere else is one of the most important skills for a sports reporter.
This list is to honor those efforts.
IPFW takes step forward despite Stanford loss
Blake Sebring | The News-Sentinel
IPFW lost to then-No. 13 Stanford in a home non-conference that featured three of the four games going to overtime. This column examines how a possible blowout loss because of IPFW’s young starting lineup turned out a major positive for the program and first-year coach Rock Perrotte.
Long Beach State enters year with title hopes
Mike Guardabascio | Press-Telegram
Coach Alan Knipe even before the conference season started made it clear to his players the expectation for this year is to win the program’s first NCAA championship since 1991. This feature story focuses on how Long Beach State’s latest recruiting class has made the 49ers a national title contender.
New Belmont Abbey coach wants to prove everyone wrong
Richard Walker | Gaston Gazette
Despite being No. 7 in the preseason conference poll, coach Sean Manzi said Belmont Abbey can not only win the Conference Carolinas but outside attacker Nolan Albrecht is an All-American caliber player. This season preview story looks at why the first-year coach has several good reasons to be confident about the Crusaders this season.
UCLA sets itself apart through individual strengths
Tanner Walters | Daily Bruin
An overlooked component for the early-season success of UCLA’s 6-2 offensive system is the effective communication between setters Micah Ma’a and Hagen Smith. This feature story focuses on the reasons for that improved communication and how coach John Speraw has given his players more freedom on the court.
Former player returns to Ball State as opposing coach
Robby General | The Ball State Daily News
Harvard assistant coach Jeff Aucoin spent one year playing for Ball State but his short time with the Cardinals has a special meaning for him. This feature story looks at the unusual journey Auccoin took to make the Ball State roster and how his Ball State career led him into coaching at the college level.
BYU serving game falters in loss to Stanford
Sean Walker | KSL
No. 1/1 BYU committed a season-high 19 serving errors as it lost at home to No. 11 Stanford in five games on Friday. This game story looks at the Cougars’ poor serving and passing late in the match that resulted in the team suffering its loss of the season.