Two of the top freshmen in the nation so far this season are each earning a share of a weekly national award.
Off the Block announced Monday that Long Beach State outside attacker TJ DeFalco and UCLA setter Micah Ma’a were selected as the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Co-National Freshman of the Week.
DeFalco led all players with a season-high 27 kills and 14 digs as No. 2/2 Long Beach State defeated No. 11/10 UC Santa Barbara in five games on Saturday. The outside attacker also had a match-high 21 kills and added 14 digs in the five-game loss to No. 1/1 UCLA on Wednesday.
Ma’a had 13 kills and a team-high 30 assists along with the match-winning ace as UCLA rallied from a two-game deficit to defeat Long Beach State. In addition, Ma’a led all players with a season-high seven aces and guided the offense to a .336 attack percentage in a four-game win against No. 12 CSUN on Friday.
This is the second time this season DeFalco and Ma’a have earned National Freshmen of the Week honors.
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
Mitch Perinar, Lewis — Perinar led all players with a season-high 20 kills on a .594 attack percentage in a three-game loss to Grand Canyon on Saturday. He also added four kills in a sweep against Grand Canyon in their two-match series opener on Friday.
Michael Keegan, IPFW — Keegan had both a team-high nine digs and five blocks along with guiding the IPFW offense to a .240 attack percentage in a sweep against George Mason on Friday. He also had a match-high 41 assists and added four kills in a five-game victory versus NJIT on Saturday.
Gabe Woffindin, St. Francis — Woffindin finished with a match-high 11 digs in a three-game conference loss to No. 9 Penn State on Friday.
Vasilis Mandilaris, Barton — Mandilaris had 12 kills and zero attack errors on a .750 attack percentage in a win against North Greenville on Saturday. He also had a season-high 16 kills to help Barton beat Emmanuel in five games on Sunday.
Josh Tuaniga, Long Beach State — Tuaniga had a season-high 63 assists and led the offense to a .301 attack percentage as No. 2/2 Long Beach State defeated No. 11/10 UC Santa Barbara in five games on Friday. In addition, Tuaniga had a match-high 46 assist and added nine digs in a five-game loss to No. 1/1 UCLA on Wednesday.
Kyle Ensing, Long Beach State — Ensing finished with a match-high 16 digs and added 11 kills as No. 2/2 Long Beach State lost to No. 1/1 UCLA in five games. He also had 12 kills and nine digs in a conference victory versus No. 11/10 UC Santa Barbara on Friday.
Dimitar Kalchev, CSUN — Kalchev had a match-high 25 kills and added five aces in a four-game loss to No. 1/1 UCLA on Friday. He also led CSUN with nine kills in a three-game loss to No. 11/10 UC Santa Barbara on Wednesday.
Jordan Ewert, Stanford — Ewert had seven kills on a .385 attack percentage and added five digs in a sweep against Cal Baptist on Friday.