UCLA’s Ma’a, Ball State’s Wessel named Co-National Freshman of Week

Two freshmen who helped lead their teams to victories against top-10 nationally ranked teams are each earring a share of a national award.

Off the Block announced Monday that UCLA setter Micah Ma’a and Ball State libero Adam Wessel were selected as the the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Co-National Freshman of the Week.


Ma’a had 11 kills while hitting .389 and guided the offense to a .312 attack percentage to help No. 3/3 UCLA sweep No. 9/9 Pepperdine on Friday. The setter also had 11 kills, two aces and a team-high seven digs in a four-game loss to No. 4/4 Stanford on Sunday.

Wessel led all players with a season-high 18 digs as No. 12 Ball State upset No. 8/8 Loyola in four games on Wednesday. In addition, Wessel had a team-high 12 digs to help Ball State beat No. 14 Lewis in five games on Thursday and remain undefeated in conference play.

This is the third time Ma’a has been named the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Freshman of the Week. Wessel becomes the first libero to earn the national award this season and the second Ball State player to be selected in the three-year history of the award.

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
Jake Walenga, Lewis — Walenga had a match-high 16 digs as No. 14 Lewis lost to Ball State in five games on Thursday. He also led Lewis with eight digs in a sweep against IPFW on Friday.

Trevor Dow, Harvard — Dow had a match-high four blocks and added five kills with zero attack errors on a .833 attack percentage in a sweep against George Mason on Friday. He also had six kills and led all players with four blocks as Harvard defeated George Mason in four games on Saturday to complete the two-match series sweep.

Gilberto Cervantes, Emmanuel — Cervantes had a team-high 19 kills on a .417 attack percentage as Emmanuel lost to Belmont Abbey in five games on Tuesday. He also added 15 kills and a season-high 11 digs in a five-game near upset loss to Pfeiffer on Saturday.

Kevin Rocklein, Limestone — Rocklein had a team-high 17 kills and added three blocks as Limestone defeated Coker in five games on Friday. He also had 10 kills in a four-game conference loss to Erskine on Wednesday.

Joao Victor Santos, Coker — Santos led all players with both a season-high 27 kills on a .447 attack percentage and five aces as Coker lost to Limestone in five games on Saturday. He also had five kills on a .667 attack percentage in a sweep against St. Andrews on Wednesday.

Josh Tuaniga, Long Beach State — Tuaniga had a match-high 34 assists and guided the offense to a .382 attack percentage as No. 1/1 Long Beach State swept No. 11 UC Irvine on Friday. He also had two aces and led the team to a .466 attack percentage in a sweep against UC San Diego on Wednesday.

Henri Cherry, UC Santa Barbara — Cherry had team-high six blocks and added 12 kills on a .500 attack percentage to help No. 10/10 UC Santa Barbara defeat No. 9/9 Pepperdine in five games on Wednesday. He also had a team-high eight kills on a .636 attack percentage in a three-game loss to No. 4/4 Stanford on Friday.

Dimitar Kalchev, CSUN — Kalchev had a match-high six aces and added 10 kills in a four-game victory against No. 11 UC Irvine on Wednesday. He also added two aces as No. 13 CSUN swept UC San Diego on Friday.

Eugene Stuart, Charleston — Stuart had a team-high nine kills on a .400 attack percentage and an ace in a four-game loss to Sacred Heart on Friday.