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.
Shaw sets up Stanford for possible national title
Tom FitzGerald | San Francisco Chronicle
All-American setter James Shaw’s passion for Stanford started long before his freshman season. This personality profile looks at how Shaw grew up around Stanford because of his Hall of Fame coach father and his development into one of the best setters in the nation.
BYU travels to UCLA with plenty at stake
Darnell Dickson | Daily Herald
No. 3/3 BYU swept a two-match road series against No. 1/1 UCLA during the weekend to remain tied for first place in the MPSF entering the final week of the regular season. This preview to the series examines first-year head coach Shawn Olmstead’s excitement to play UCLA and the intensity he expected in the matches.
Quincy late push not enough vs. Ball State
Matt Schuckman | Herald Whig
Quincy playing in front of a crowded Pepsi Arena on a alumni weekend fought off six match-points before losing to No. 9/9 Ball State in a third-game overtime on Friday. This deadline game story looks at the atmosphere late in the match and the momentum that the near comeback gives Quincy entering its remaining matches.
Ball State players built rapport playing club
Elizabeth Wyman | The Ball State Daily News
Ball State in recent seasons has developed a recruiting pipeline with the Illinois youth program Ultimate Volleyball Club. This news-feature story examines the connection between the elite club program and Ball State and the numerous Cardinals who developed their skills with Ultimate.
Coach faith in team remains resolute
Brendan Yu | New University
UC Irvine coach David Kniffin has not lost faith in his team’s ability to make a make a postseason run — even if it will be a challenge for the Anteaters to just make the postseason. This news-feature story examines Kniffin’s philosophy and why he remains confident in his team.
Crucial road stretch ahead for Penn State
Lucas Gouvalis | The Daily Collegian
Penn State coach Mark Pavlik with few matches remaining before the postseason is well aware that his team needs a confidence boost. This news-feature previewing the Nittany Lions’ road trip this weekend focuses on team working to re-establish its on-court swagger.
UCLA maintains momentum despite break
Phil Share | Daily Bruin
No. 1/1 UCLA following an almost two-week layoff defeated No. 10 CSUN and No. 5/5 Long Beach State last week. This news-feature story looks at how Bruins worked to regaining its offensive rhythm following the bye week.