A freshman who was near flawless offensively to help No. 2/2 UCLA open its conference season with two consecutive victories is now earning the first national award of his college career.
Off the Block announced Monday that UCLA middle attacker Daenan Gyimah was selected as the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Freshman of the Week.
Gyimah finished with a match-high 14 kills and zero attack errors on a .737 attack percentage, along with adding two aces and two blocks as No. 2/2 UCLA swept No. 7/8 UC Irvine on Thursday. The middle attacker also contributed a match-high four blocks in a sweep against UC San Diego on Saturday to keep the UCLA undefeated in conference play.
This is the eighth time in the four-year history of the national award that a Bruin has been selected as the National Freshman of the Week. With Gyimah receiving the honor, rivals USC and UCLA are now tied for the nation’s most all-time selections of this award.
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 the nation’s leader in college men’s volleyball coverage.
Springbak, Inc. is the official sponsor of the 2017 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.
National Freshman of the Week honorable mentions
Matt Szews, Ball State — Szews had a team-high 14 kills and added four blocks as No. 15 Ball State defeated No. 14 Penn State in four games on Friday. He also led all players with 16 kills on a .387 attack percentage in a sweep against St. Francis on Thursday.
Austin Matautia, Hawai’i — Matautia had a combined 20 kills on a two-match series sweep against Grand Canyon last week. The outside attacker also had more than a .350 attack percentage in both matches and contributed a match-high two aces in the series finale on Friday.
Ryan Coenen, Lewis — Coenen had a team-high 15 kills as No. 9/9 Lewis upset No. 5/7 Pepperdine in five games on Saturday. He also led all players with 23 kills on a .340 attack percentage and added a season-high 10 digs in a five-game victory against Harvard on Friday.
Ian Cowen, Loyola — Cowen had a match-high 14 digs and guided the offense to a .343 attack percentage as No. 8/6 Loyola lost to No. 5/7 Pepperdine in five games on Friday. He also helped Loyola hit .407 in a non-conference sweep against Harvard on Saturday.
Parker Dixon, Princeton — Dixon had a match-high 13 kills on a .571 attack percentage and added four blocks in a sweep against North Greenville on Thursday.
Michael Fisher, St. Francis — Fisher led all players with 19 kills and added six digs in a five-game non-conference victory against Fort Wayne on Friday. He also had a team-high 14 kills along with five digs in a three-game loss to No. 15 Ball State on Thursday.
Wes Rogman, Lees-McRae — Rogman had a match-high 15 kills on a .385 attack percentage and add three blocks in a season-opening sweep against Lincoln Memorial on Friday. He also finished with both a team-high 11 kills and three blocks in a five-game loss to Charleston on Saturday.
Keenan Sanders, UC Santa Barbara — Sanders had 10 kills on a .412 attack percentage along with three blocks in a five-game loss to No. 7/8 UC Irvine on Wednesday. The middle attacker also had six kills and zero attack errors on a .545 attack percentage as No. 12 UC Santa Barbara swept UC San Diego on Saturday.
Noah Dyer, Pepperdine — Dyer had 16 kills on a .325 attack percentage and four digs as No. 5/7 Pepperdine rallied to beat No. 8/6 Loyola in five games on Friday.