Off the Block releases watch list for 2017 Erik Shoji Award

Twenty college men’s volleyball liberos have been selected to the 2017 watch list for the annual Erik Shoji Award.

Off the Block unveiled on Saturday the preseason watch list for the national award that is presented to the best libero in NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball during the regular season.


Among those on this season’s watch list are three Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Preseason All-Americans, including the 2016 Erik Shoji Award recipient Stanford libero Evan Enriques.

The watch list for the 2017 Erik Shoji Award was determined by Off the Block using a variety of factors including player performances from previous seasons and projections on standout liberos to watch during the upcoming season.

The winner of the Erik Shoji Award will be selected at the end of the regular season by a nationwide voting committee comprised of coaches and media members. The top-three vote-getters will be named finalists, while the player receiving the most votes will be winner of the Erik Shoji Award presented by Off the Block.

The Erik Shoji Award started in 2016 and was named after the former Stanford All-American and current member of the U.S. Men’s National Team. The naming of the award after a player was done in an effort to honor and incorporate the history of college volleyball into this award.

This is one of five position-based awards presented in college men’s volleyball. Off the Block presents the Lloy Ball Award to the nation’s top setter, the Bryan Ivie Award to the nation’s top opposite, the Karch Kiraly Award to the nation’s top outside attacker and the Ryan Millar to the nation’s top middle attacker.

These are the only national position-based awards in college men’s volleyball. Several volleyball organizations give out national end-of-year awards such as All-American Teams, but no national award before last year was specific to a position.

Off the Block launched in 2011 and is among the nation’s leaders in college men’s volleyball coverage.

2017 ERIK SHOJI AWARD WATCH LIST
Erik Arroyo, Alderson Broaddus
Joshua Ayzenberg, Sacred Heart
Weston Barnes, Pepperdine
Parker Boehle, UC Santa Barbara
Royce Clemens, Penn State
Gabriel Domecus, Ohio State
Josh Donahue, Mount Olive
Evan Enriques, Stanford
Davis Gillett, UCLA
Johnny Gomez, George Mason
Dillon Hoffman, UC Irvine
Dustin King, North Greenville
Andrew Sato, Long Beach State
Jake Selsky, Loyola
Zach Thompson, McKendree
Robert Valentine, Belmont Abbey
Ryan Vorderer, Lindenwood
Nick Wildes, Limestone
Adam Wessel, Ball State
Gabe Woffindin, St. Francis


ERIK SHOJI AWARD WATCH LIST PLAYER BIOS

Erik Arroyo, Alderson Broaddus — Arroyo was third in the nation with a 2.83 digs per game average last season. He also had double-digit digs in 10 matches as Alderson Broaddus finished with the third-best record among independent teams.

Joshua Ayzenberg, Sacred Heart — Ayzenberg was third in the EIVA and in the nation’s top 10 averaging 2.55 digs per game last season, including having nine matches with double-digit digs. He also earned All-EIVA honors as Sacred Heart finished in sixth place in the EIVA.

Weston Barnes, Pepperdine — Barnes was fifth in the MPSF with a 2.02 digs per game average last season. He also had seven matches with double-digit digs as he helped the Waves finish in sixth place in the MPSF.

Parker Boehle, UC Santa Barbara — Boehle in his first season as a starter finished fourth in the MPSF with a 2.07 digs per game average and was in the top-10 of voting for the 2016 Erik Shoji Award. He also had double-digit digs in each of the Gauchos’ final four matches of the 2016 season, including 16 digs in a five-game loss to BYU in the MPSF Tournament semifinals.

Royce Clemens, Penn State — Clemens as a freshman last season was second in the EIVA and seventh in the nation averaging 2.58 digs per game, including having double-digit digs in 15 matches. He also was named the 2016 EIVA Newcomer of the Year as Penn State won the EIVA regular season championship.

Gabriel Domecus, Ohio State — Domecus was fifth in the MIVA averaging 2.12 digs per game last season. The 2017 Preseason All-MIVA selection also had a combined 24 digs in the Buckeyes’ three NCAA Tournament matches to help Ohio State win the national championship.

Josh Donahue, Mount Olive — Donahue returns to the court after playing in one match during the 2016 season. The all-conference libero finished the 2015 season leading the NCAA with 302 digs and was among the national leaders with a 3.21 digs per game average.

Evan Enriques, Stanford — Enriques was in the nation’s leaders and had a MPSF-best 2.53 digs per game average last season. The First-Team All-American and recipient of the 2016 Erik Shoji Award helped the Cardinal end the regular season in the top four of the MPSF and almost earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. In addition, Enriques earned 2017 Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Preseason First-Team All-American honors.

Davis Gillett, UCLA — Gillett as a freshman last season finished in the MPSF’s top five with a 2.02 digs per game average and had a conference-best 245 digs. He also had double-digit digs in nine matches and finished sixth in the voting for the 2016 Erik Shoji Award as he helped the Bruins advance to the NCAA Tournament semifinals.

Johnny Gomez, George Mason — Gomez had a nation-best 3.03 digs per game average last season. He also earned All-EIVA honors as he helped George Mason win the EIVA championship and reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time in almost 30 years. In addition, Gomez was named a 2017 Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Preseason Second-Team All-American.

Dillon Hoffman, UC Irvine — Hoffman ended the 2016 season in third in the MPSF with a 2.13 digs per game average, including having a season-high 19 digs against Hawai’i. The first-year starter also helped the Anteaters overcome an injury-plagued season to reach the MPSF Tournament.

Dustin King, North Greenville — King finished last season sixth in the nation with a 2.63 digs per game average. The all-conference libero also had double-digit digs in 10 matches, including two matches with more than 20 digs, as he helped North Greenville qualify the Conference Carolinas Tournament.

Andrew Sato, Long Beach State — Sato was among the MPSF leaders last season with a 1.91 digs per game average. He also was an All-American honorable mention as he helped the 49ers earn an at-large bid to the 2016 NCAA Tournament. In addition, Sato was selected as a 2017 Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Preseason Second-Team All-American.

Jake Selsky, Loyola — Selsky ended last season with a 1.74 digs per game average. He also was named an All-MIVA honorable mention as he helped Loyola finish in second place in the MIVA.

Zach Thompson, McKendree — Thompson as a freshman ended last season fourth in the MIVA with a 2.19 digs per game average. He also had double-digit digs in nine matches, including 10 digs in an upset victory against Ball State for McKendree’s first postseason victory in program history.

Robert Valentine, Belmont Abbey — Valentine was in the top 10 of the Conference Carolinas with a 2.41 digs per game average last season. He also had double-digit digs in eight matches, including 11 digs to help Belmont Abbey beat Mount Olive in the Conference Tournament quarterfinals for the program’s first postseason victory.

Ryan Vorderer, Lindenwood — Vorderer was second in the MIVA last season with a 2.46 digs per game average — the highest average for any returning MIVA player this upcoming season. He also had five matches with double-digit digs as Lindenwood finished 2016 in ninth place in the MIVA.

Nick Wildes, Limestone — Wildes transitioning from setter to libero ended last season ninth in the nation with a 2.56 digs per game average. He also had double-digit digs in 10 matches as Limestone advanced to the Conference Carolinas Tournament quarterfinals.

Adam Wessel, Ball State — Wessel as a freshman last season was third in the MIVA with a 2.19 digs per game average. The All-MIVA honorable mention selection also had double-digit digs in eight matches as he helped Ball State finish tied in second place in the MIVA.

Gabe Woffindin, St. Francis — Woffindin as a freshman ended last season third in the EIVA with a 2.39 digs per game average, including having a combined 24 digs in two upset victories versus Penn State. He also had double-digit digs in 13 matches and finished in 10th place for the 2016 Erik Shoji Award as he helped St. Francis reach the EIVA Tournament finals.