Finalists announced for OTB/Springbak National Player of Month

Off the Block selected the 32 finalists, and now it is up to the fans to determine who should win the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Player of the Month.


The Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Player of the Month recognizes the best individual performances from NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball players during the month and gives volleyball fans from around the world the chance to determine who was the best player.

Fans will determine the winner of the National Player of the Month award through online voting on the Off the Block website. The online poll is now open and closes at 11:59 p.m. (EST) Wednesday.

While there are several weekly awards in college men’s volleyball, this is the only monthly national award presented in the sport. It is also one of the two nationally awards determined solely by the fans.

Springbak, Inc. is the official sponsor of the National Player of the Month and the Fan Choice National Player of the Year at the end of the season. Springbak, Inc. 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.

Check out the finalists below for the National Player of the Month in March. Individuals can vote using at the poll below or by visiting offtheblockblog.com/playerofmonth.


Joshua Ayzenberg, Sacred Heart — Ayzenberg is leading the nation with a 3.22 digs per game average. The libero also had a season-high 11 digs in a sweep against Fort Wayne on Jan. 20 to help Sacred Heart extend its winning streak to three matches.

Jacob Delson, UC Santa Barbara — Delson began the weekend fourth in the nation with a 4.23 kills per game average, including having a season-high 22 kills in a five-game victory against USC on Jan. 18. He also had 12 aces as he helped No. 11 UC Santa Barbara end the month in seventh place in the MPSF.

Leo Durkin, BYU — Durkin entered the weekend second in the nation with an 11.29 assists per game average. He also helped guide the No. 3/3 BYU offense to a .312 attack percentage as the Cougars ended the month in the top five of the MPSF standings.

Michael Fisher, St. Francis — Fisher is second in the EIVA with a 3.90 kills per game average. He also had at least 20 kills and a .350 attack percentage in non-conference matches against No. 6/6 Lewis on Jan. 21 and No. 4/4 Long Beach State on Saturday.

Jabarry Goodridge, NJIT — Goodridge led the EIVA with both a 4.19 kills per game average and 14 aces. He also had twice had at least 20 kills in a match, including a season-high 23 kills on a .541 attack percentage in a four-game victory against North Greenville on Jan. 11.

Connor Gross, Ball State — Gross is second in the MIVA and among the national leaders with a 10.52 assists per game average and guided the Cardinals offense to a .305 attack percentage. The setter also had double-digit digs in four matches as No. 12 Ball State ended the month on a six-match winning streak.

Daenan Gyimah, UCLA — Gyimah finished the month in the nation’s top five with a .562 attack percentage, including having double-digit kills and hitting at least .500 in four January matches. The freshman middle attacker also committed a combined eight attack errors the entire month and added 25 blocks to help No. 2/2 UCLA maintain sole possession of first place in the MPSF.

Jeff Jendryk, Loyola — Jendryk ended the month with a .495 attack percentage and had double-digit kills in three matches against nationally ranked teams. He also led No. 10/8 Loyola and was fourth in the MIVA with a 1.04 blocks per game average.

Miles Johnson, Ohio State — Johnson leads the MIVA and is in the nation’s top five with a 4.34 kills per game average on a .370 attack percentage. The opposite also has double-digit kills in every January match for the undefeated No. 1/1 Ohio State, including a season-high 22 kills in a victory against No. 4/4 Long Beach State on Saturday.

Dimitar Kalchev, CSUN — Kalchev finished the month among the nation’s leaders with both a 4.03 kills per game average and a .508 attack percentage. The sophomore outside attacker also has a nation-best 31 aces and helped No. 15 CSUN win six of its first seven matches to open the season.

Dylan Lavner, Limestone — Lavner is third in the Conference Carolinas with a 1.00 blocks per game average. He also had a match-high 14 kills on a .480 attack percentage as Limestone defeated Barton on Jan. 21 to remain in first place in the Conference Carolinas.

Chris Nugent, Penn State — Nugent is third in the EIVA with a 3.54 kills per game average and had double-digit kills in all but one of No. 14 Penn State’s matches in January. The outside attacker is also second in the conference with a .307 attack percentage.

Federico Pagliara, Barton — Pagilara leads the Conference Carolinas and is among the national leaders with a 10.86 assists per game average. The setter also helped guide Barton to more than a .300 attack percentage in two of its three conference matches.

Ben Patch, BYU — Patch entered the weekend leading the nation with a 5.35 kills per game, including having more than 20 kills in two matches versus nationally ranked teams during January. The All-American opposite also helped No. 3/3 BYU earn four victories against nationally ranked teams during the opening month of the season.

Mitch Perinar, Lewis — Perinar is in the top five of the MIVA with both a 3.74 kills per game average and a .341 attack percentage. He also had at least 20 kills in three January matches as No. 6/6 Lewis had a six-match winning streak during the month.

Robert Poole, Mount Olive — Poole is second in the Conference Carolinas and among the national leaders with a 3.70 kills per game average. He also had at least 14 kills in all but one match he play in during January, including a season-high 17 kills in a four-game loss to No. 11 UC Santa Barbara on Jan. 6.

Kevin Rakestraw, Stanford — Rakestraw entered the weekend leading the nation with a .576 attack percentage and had five matches with at least seven kills. The middle attacker also had at least five blocks in the team’s last three conference matches to help No. 8/9 Stanford end the month in second place in the MPSF.

Michael Saeta, UC Irvine — Saeta spending time at both setter and opposite averaged 1.63 kills per game while hitting .352 and had a 8.34 assists per game average. He also is second in the nation with 27 aces and helped No. 7/7 finish the month in fourth place in the MPSF.

Sam Schindler, Lindenwood — Schindler leads the MIVA with both a 1.35 blocks per game average and a .404 attack percentage. He also had double-digit kills in six of Lindenwood’s seven matches and had at least six blocks in five matches during January.

Joao Victor Santos, Coker — Santos is among the nation’s leaders with a 4.21 kills per game average and has double-digit kills in all four of Cokers’ matches during January. He also had a season-high five aces in a victory against North Greenville as Coker opened the season on a three-match winning streak.

Jacob Schmiegelt, Lewis — Schmiegelt had at least seven kills and a .600 attack percentage in four matches during the month, including a season-high 15 kills on a .737 attack percentage in a win versus No. 9/10 Pepperdine on Jan. 14. The middle attacker also had a 1.00 blocks per game average to help No. 6/6 Lewis finish the month at 6-2.

John Sobel, Lees-McRae — Sobel is third in the Conference Carolinas with a 3.61 kills per game average, including having a season-high 20 kills in a five-game loss to Lincoln Memorial on Friday. He also had a match-high 19 kills on a .654 attack percentage in a sweep against Alderson Broaddus on Jan. 20.

Mitch Stahl, UCLA — Stahl ended January among the nation’s leaders with both a 1.14 blocks per game average and 17 aces. The senior middle attacker also had at least five kills and a .400 attack percentage in four matches as No. 2/2 UCLA remained in sole possession of first place in the MPSF.

Tanner Syftestad, UC San Diego — Syftestad led UC San Diego and was among the MPSF leaders with a 3.72 kills per game average, including a career-high 31 kills in a five-game victory against Hope International on Saturday. He also had a match-high 23 kills on a .395 attack percentage in a near-upset of No. 7/7 UC Irvine on Jan. 20.

Nicolas Szerszen, Ohio State — Szerszen is second in the MIVA and in the nation’s top 10 with 4.07 kills per game average on a .398 attack percentage. He also already has a MIVA-best 21 aces, including a combined 10 aces in a two-match series against No. 8/9 Stanford on Jan. 13-14.

Josh Tuaniga, Long Beach State — Tuaniga leads the nation with a 11.33 assists per game average and helped guided the 49ers offense to a .344 attack percentage during January. The All-American setter also helped Long Beach State finish the month winning four of its last five matches.

Stijn van Tilburg, Hawai’i — van Tilburg entered the weekend in the nation’s top 10 with a 3.92 kills per game average while hitting .340, including a season-high 19 kills in a conference road victory versus No. 7/7 UC Irvine on Jan. 21. The opposite also was the Most Outstanding Player at the Outrigger Invitational after having a match-high 18 kills in a victory against No. 12 Ball State on Jan. 7 to help No. 5/5 Hawai’i end its home tournament undefeated.

Maalik Walker, McKendree — Walker is among the MIVA leaders with a 3.45 kills per game average, including having more than 20 kills in non-conference matches against No. 9/10 Pepperdine and Concordia-Irvine. The opposite also helped McKendree move to No. 4 in the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Division II National Coaches Poll.

Matt Walsh, Ball State — Walsh is among the national leaders with a 1.29 blocks per game average, including five matches in January with at least five blocks. The middle attacker also hit .543 and had double-digit kills in two matches as No. 12 Ball State ended the month on a six-match winning streak.

Jon Wheaton, King — King led the Conference Carolinas with both a 1.24 blocks per game average and a .438 attack percentage. The middle attacker also had two matches with double-digit kills and helped King end the month in third place in the Conference Carolinas.

David Wieczorek, Pepperdine — Wieczorek led No. 9/10 Pepperdine and ended the month among the national leaders with a 3.75 kills per game average, including having a season-high 26 kills in a road loss to No. 6/6 Lewis on Jan. 14. He also had 17 kills and a season-high four aces in a five-game win veers USC on Saturday to keep Pepperdine in the top five of the MPSF standings.

Jack Wilson, George Mason — Wilson is in the top five of the EIVA with a 3.28 kills per game average, including having double-digit kills in six matches. The opposite also had more than .300 attack percentage in the first five matches of the season.