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.


Summer of sales prepared setter for BYU starting role
Darnell Dickson | Daily Herald
Setter Leo Durkin in less than a year went from being a door-to-door salesman for pest services to leading No. 1/1 BYU to a MPSF regular season championship. This personality profile looks at how the skills Durkin learned in his summer job helped him emerge and excel as the team’s starting setter.

Unknown setter having memorable freshman season
Brian Whitehead | Orange County Register
Setter Dale Irvin was not recruited out of high school, but in his first season with Golden West College he is leading the California junior college league in assists. This personality profile story examines how Irvin was able to earn a spot on the Golden West roster and his development into one of the top junior college setters.

Student trainers offer help to Penn State
Giana Han | The Daily Collegian
The student trainers for No. 11/10 Penn State have done everything this season from taping players’ ankles to informing coach Mark Pavlik of any injuries. This news-feature story examines the role of the student trainers on the Nittany Lions and how they have become part of the team.

UCLA wavers heading into final stretch
Tanner Walters | Daily Bruin
It became clear to coach John Speraw last week following his team’s second straight loss to BYU that despite UCLA being ranked No. 1 it was not the nation’s best team. This game story looks at how the Bruins struggled against the Cougars and what the losses mean for UCLA entering the postseason.

UC Irvine sweeps CSUN to remain in playoff hunt
Brendan Yu | New University
No. 15 UC Irvine in a de-facto postseason match swept No. 10 CSUN on Thursday to eliminate the Matadors and remain in contention for the final berth to the MPSF Tournament. This game story focuses on the team’s mentality entering the must-win match and how the return of All-American outside attacker Tamir Hershko from a mid-season injury helped the team’s offense.

UCLA excels across court in sweep vs. Stanford
Grant Sugimura | Daily Bruin
No. 4/4 UCLA had 9.5 blocks and held No. 3/2 Stanford to less than a .200 attack percentage in a conference sweep on Thursday. This game story looks at how the Bruins were able to improve their defense after losing two matches against No. 1/1 BYU during the weekend.