Off the Block releases watch list for 2017 Ryan Millar Award

Twenty-seven college men’s volleyball middle attackers have been selected to the 2017 watch list for the annual Ryan Millar Award.

Off the Block unveiled on Friday the preseason watch list for the national award that is presented to the best middle attacker 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 Loyola middle attacker Jeff Jendryk and UCLA middle attacker Mitch Stahl. Both Jendryk and Stahl were finalists for the Ryan Millar Award last season

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

The winner of the Ryan Millar 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 Ryan Millar Award presented by Off the Block.

The Ryan Millar Award started in 2016 and was named after the former BYU All-American and former 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

The inaugural winner of the Ryan Millar Award was former Stanford middle attacker Conrad Kaminski.

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 Erik Shoji Award to the nation’s top libero.

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 in is among the nation’s leaders in college men’s volleyball coverage.

2017 RYAN MILLAR AWARD WATCH LIST
Andy Benesh, USC
Evan Blair, Pfeiffer
Josiah Byers, CSUN
Matt Callaway, Penn State
Henri Cherry, UC Santa Barbara
Trevor Dow, Harvard
Enrique de Diego Garcia, Cal Baptist
Price Jarman, BYU
Jeff Jendryk, Loyola
Keith Kegerreis, St. Francis
Jarrod Kelso, Quincy
Ashton King, Grand Canyon
Dylan Lavner, Limestone
Blake Leeson, Ohio State
Matt McManaway, North Greenville
Joel Muhlbach, Limestone
Junior Oboh, Princeton
Wyatt Patterson, McKendree
Alex Pia, Ball State
Kevin Rakestraw, Stanford
Jacob Schmeigelt, Lewis
Brendan Schmidt, McKendree
Hector Serviat, Lees-McRae
Scott Stadick, UC Irvine
Mitch Stahl, UCLA
Matt Walsh, Ball State
Jon Wheaton, King


RYAN MILLAR AWARD WATCH LIST PLAYER BIOS

Andy Benesh, USC — Despite missing the beginning of the 2016 season with a back injury, Benesh ended the season with more than 50 blocks and a .377 attack percentage. The former All-MPSF selection and 2017 USC captain also added 15 aces last season as the Trojans finished in 11th place in the MPSF.

Evan Blair, Pfeiffer — Blair ended last season leading the Conference Carolinas and in the nation’s top five with a 1.20 blocks per game average. The all-conference selection also had a conference-best .444 attack percentage as he helped Pfeiffer reach the Conference Carolinas Tournament semifinals.

Josiah Byers, CSUN — Byers had a 0.93 blocks per game average, including having 19 solo blocks, and added a .424 attack percentage last season. He also was named an All-MPSF honorable mention as CSUN narrowly missed the final berth to the eight-team MPSF Tournament.

Matt Callaway, Penn State — Callaway was second in the EIVA and among the national leaders with a 1.03 blocks per game average last season. He also had a .367 attack percentage as Penn State won the EIVA regular season championship.

Henri Cherry, UC Santa Barbara — Cherry as a freshman was third in the MPSF with a .486 attack percentage and finished with a 2.01 kills per game average last season. The MPSF All-Freshman Team selection added 62 blocks as he helped UC Santa Barbara advance to the 2016 MPSF Tournament quarterfinals.

Trevor Dow, Harvard — Dow as a freshman last season finished with a .423 attack percentage. He also was among the EIVA leaders and in the nation’s top 50 with a 0.86 blocks per game average as Harvard advanced to the EIVA Tournament semifinals.

Enrique de Diego Garcia, Cal Baptist — Garcia led the nation with a .481 attack percentage and was in the nation’s top 10 averaging 1.04 blocks per game last season. The All-MPSF honorable mention selection also had double-digit kills in five matches as the Lancers ended last season in 10th place in the MPSF.

Price Jarman, BYU — Jarman ended last season fourth in the nation with a 1.31 blocks per game average. The All-MPSF selection also helped the Cougars win the 2016 MPSF championship and advance to the NCAA Tournament finals. In addition, Jarman earned 2017 Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Second-Team Preseason All-American honors.

Jeff Jendryk, Loyola — Jendryk ended last season in the nation’s top five with a .431 attack percentage and was among the national leaders with 101 blocks. The Second-Team All-American also was a Ryan Millar Award finalist for the nation’s top middle attacker as he helped the Ramblers reach the MIVA Tournament semifinals. In addition, Jendryk was named to the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. First-Team Preseason All-American.

Keith Kegerreis, St. Francis — Kegerreis ended the 2016 season with a career-best .356 attack percentage and in the nation’s top 50 with a 0.86 blocks per game average. He also helped St. Francis advance to the EIVA Tournament finals.

Jarrod Kelso, Quincy — Kelso finished last season among with national leaders with both a 1.08 blocks per game average and a .406 attack percentage. He also had double-digit kills in 15 matches as he helped Quincy advance to the MIVA Tournament quarterfinals.

Ashton King, Grand Canyon — King was in the nation’s top 10 with a 1.16 blocks per game average last season. He also added a .324 attack percentage as the Antelopes finished in fifth place in the MIVA.

Dylan Lavner, Limestone — Lavner finished last season third in the Conference Carolinas and in the nation’s top 25 averaging 1.01 blocks per game. He also was in the conference’s top five with a .358 attack percentage as Limestone advanced to the Conference Carolinas Tournament quarterfinals.

Blake Leeson, Ohio State — Leeson as a freshman had 11 kills and zero attack errors on a .846 attack percentage while adding two aces to help Ohio State sweep BYU in the 2016 NCAA Tournament finals. He also ended last season with a .419 attack percentage and 90 block.

Matt McManaway, North Greenville — McManaway finished with a .332 attack percentage and had double-digit kills in seven matches last season. He also added 55 blocks to help the second-year program North Greenville advance to the Conference Carolinas Tournament quarterfinals.

Joel Muhlbach, Limestone — Muhlbach despite missing the first month of the 2016 season finished fifth in the Conference Carolinas with a 0.93 blocks per game average. The two-time all-conference selection also had a 1.50 kills per game average last season as Limestone reached the Conference Carolinas Tournament quarterfinals.

Junior Oboh, Princeton — Oboh returns to the court after missing the 2016 season. The All-EIVA selection finished the 2015 season in the conference’s top five with both a .386 attack percentage and a 1.01 blocks per game average, while adding 19 aces.

Wyatt Patterson, McKendree — Patterson was third in the MIVA with a .450 attack percentage and averaged 2.20 kills per game last season. He also had a 0.95 blocks per game average, including six blocks in an upset victory against Ball State in the 2016 MIVA Tournament quarterfinals.

Alex Pia, Ball State — Pia was third in the MIVA and ninth in the nation averaging 1.18 blocks per game last season. He also had 104 kills on a .355 attack percentage as he helped Ball State finish tied for second place in the MIVA.

Kevin Rakestraw, Stanford — Rakestraw finished last season second in the MPSF with a .489 attack percentage and was in the conference’s top 10 with 93 blocks. He also was named an All-MPSF honorable mention as Stanford narrowly missed the final at-large berth to the six-team NCAA Tournament.

Jacob Schmeigelt, Lewis — Schmeigelt was in the top five of the MIVA with both a 1.03 blocks per game average and a .427 attack percentage last season. The 2017 Preseason All-MIVA selection also added 21 aces to help Lewis advance to the 2016 MIVA Tournament finals.

Brendan Schmidt, McKendree — Schmidt led the MIVA and was seventh in the nation with a 1.19 blocks per game average last season. He also was among the conference leaders with a .391 attack percentage and 22 aces as he helped McKendree win its first postseason match in program history.

Hector Serviat, Lees-McRae — As a freshman last season, Serviat was among the team leaders with a 1.71 kills per game average and 34 blocks. He also added 13 aces as Lees-McRae ended 2016 in 10th place in the Conference Carolinas.

Scott Stadick, UC Irvine — Stadick enters his first college season after helping the U.S. Men’s Junior National Team win the NORCECA Continental Championship during the summer to qualify for the upcoming FIVB U21 World Championship. The 7-foot freshman joins a UC Irvine team that finished an injury-plagued 2016 season in eighth place in the MPSF.

Mitch Stahl, UCLA — Stahl finished last season sixth in the nation with a 1.19 blocks per game average and had a .455 attack percentage during the regular season. The Second-Team All-American was a finalist for the Ryan Millar Award that is presented to the nation’s top middle attacker and helped lead UCLA to its first NCAA Tournament berth in almost a decade. In addition, Stahl was selected as a 2017 Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Preseason First-Team All-American.

Matt Walsh, Ball State — Walsh, a finalist for the 2015 Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Blocker of the Year, finished last season among the MIVA and national leaders with a 1.13 blocks per game average. The 2017 Preseason All-MIVA selection also added a .368 attack percentage and 20 aces last season as Ball State finished tied for second in the MIVA.

Jon Wheaton, King — Wheaton had a conference-best 113 blocks and was second in the Conference Carolinas with a 1.03 blocks per game average last season. He also had a 1.75 kills per game average on a .345 attack percentage as he helped King qualify for the Conference Carolinas Tournament.