The top college men’s volleyball stories of the week

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.


Man behind the Ball State mic
Kaitlin Lange | The Ball State Daily News
Steve Shondell is more than just the Ball State women’s volleyball head coach — he’s the voice of Ball State volleyball. This personality profile looks at why the Hall of Fame continues to serve as the public address announcer for Ball State men’s volleyball home matches and how his energetic style gives the Cardinals a significant home court advantage.

IPFW’s Sellan rebounding through extra season
Blake Sebring | The News-Sentinel
IPFW all-conference opposite Andy Sellan is among the MIVA leaders in almost every offensive category this season despite suffering a near career-ending ankle injury last year. This personality profile examines what made the fifth-year senior opt to return for one more season with the Mastodons.

Stanford has healthy shot at championship
Rick Eymer | Palo Alto Online
No. 3/2 Stanford with a healthy All-American setter James Shaw has rebounded from missing the 2015 postseason and midway through the season is tied for first place in the MPSF. This news-feature story focuses on what the return of Shaw means for the team and how the Cardinal has exceeded low preseason expectations.

Stats tell story of BYU dominating victory
Brandon Gurney | Desert News
No. 2/3 BYU finished with more than a .500 attack percentage as it swept No. 12 CSUN on Friday to extend its winning streak to nine matches and its game winning streak to a school-record 27 games. This deadline game story looks at the Cougars’ season-high offensive numbers and how the team is playing its best volleyball of the season.

Penn State captains led team of goofballs
Giana Han | The Daily Collegian
Penn State middle attackers Matt Seifert and Matt Callaway have emerged as the undisputed leaders on a team self-described as a bunch of “lanky goofballs.” This personality profile focuses on how Seifert and Callaway have established themselves as leaders and are respected by their teammates.

Former Ball State player transitions to coach
Jake Fox | The Ball State Daily News
Shane Witmer within one year has transition from playing on the court for the Ball State to serving as a volunteer assistant coach. This personality profile examines how Witmer’s lighthearted personality has helped him connect to his former teammates and become a successful young coach.

UCLA enters second half of season with rivalry match
Phil Share | Daily Bruin
No. 4/4 UCLA defeated USC in four games on Saturday to complete the season sweep against its cross-town rival. This preview story to the rivalry match examines how the Bruins were ignoring the unranked Trojans’ 3-10 conference record and preparing for an intense match.

UC Irvine struggles to execute against Pepperdine
Brendan Yu | New University
No. 13 UC Irvine blew a one-game lead as it lost to No. 10/10 Pepperdine in five games on Saturday to drop into tie for ninth place in the MPSF. This deadline game story looks at how the Anteaters struggled to executive offensively late in the match and what the loss means for its postseason hopes.

Surane adds depth to Ball State roster
Kara Berg | The Ball State Daily News
Brendan Surane within his first three years at Ball State has started in a variety of positions and that’s the way coach Joel Walton likes it. This news-feature story looks at how Surane’s versatility gives the Ball State coaching staff multiple options to create the right match-up against any opponent.