Two freshmen who helped their teams earn the No. 2 seed for their upcoming conference tournaments will end the regular season with a national award.
Off the Block announced Monday that UCLA setter Micah Ma’a and Loyola outside attacker Will Tischler were named the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Co-National Freshman of the Week.
Ma’a guided the No. 4/4 UCLA offense to a .307 attack percent and added six kills in a sweep against No. 3/2 Stanford on Thursday. The setter also helped the team hit .420 in its regular-season finale victory versus No. 6/6 Pepperdine to clinch the MPSF Tournament No. 2 seed.
Tischler led all players with a season-high 20 kills on a .361 attack percentage in a five-game victory against IPFW on Friday. He also had 16 kills and a team-high 12 digs as No. 12 Loyola defeated No. 8/8 Ball State on Saturday to clinch the No. 2 seed for the upcoming MIVA Tournament.
This is the fourth time this season that Ma’a has earned the national award, while Tischler closes out the regular season with his first National Freshman of the Week honor.
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
Henri Cherry, UC Santa Barbara — Cherry had 12 kills on a .688 attack percentage and added a team-high four blocks as No. 7/7 UC Santa Barbara upset No. 3/2 Stanford in four games on Saturday. He also had five kills in a four-game victory against No. 6/6 Pepperdine on Wednesday.
Dante Chakravorti, UC Irvine — Chakravorti guided the offense to a .400 attack percentage as No. 15 UC Irvine swept No. 10 CSUN on Thursday to remain in postseason contention. The setter also had 44 assists and four blocks in a five-game loss against No. 5/5 Long Beach State on Saturday.
Gabe Woffindin, St. Francis — Woffindin had a match-high 18 digs in a five-game conference victory against Harvard on Saturday. The libero also led St. Francis with 13 digs in a sweep versus Sacred Heart on Friday.
Royce Clemens, Penn State — Clemens finished with a match-high 12 digs in a sweep against Harvard on Friday. The libero also had a team-high 12 digs as No. 11/10 Penn State defeated Sacred Heart on Saturday to clinch the EIVA regular season championship.
Aleksa Brkovic, Barton — Brkovic moving from outside attacker to setter had 45 assists and a season-high 17 digs in a five-game victory against King on Friday. He also led Barton’s offense to a .338 attack percentage in a sweep versus Lees-McRae on Saturday.
Andrew Salmon, Mount Olive — Salmon finished with a season-high 18 digs in a three-game loss to King on Saturday. He also led all players with 14 digs as Mount Olive upset Barton on Tuesday.
Joao Victor Santos, Coker — Santos had a season-high 27 kills and added nine digs in a five-game loss to Emmanuel on Wednesday. He also finished with 16 kills and a team-high three aces in a four-game loss to Belmont Abbey on Saturday.
TJ DeFalco, Long Beach State — DeFalco had a match-high 24 kills as No. 5/5 Long Beach State beat No. 15 UC Irvine in five games on Saturday to clinch the No. 3 seed for the MPSF Tournament. He also had a team-high 10 kills in a sweep against UC San Diego on Friday.