Penn State opposite Mende named National Freshman of Week

A freshman opposite is earning a national award after having a career performance in a comeback conference victory for No. 14 Penn State.

Off the Block announced Monday that Penn State opposite Calvin Mende was selected as the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Freshman of the Week.


Mende led all players with a season-high 29 kills on a .659 attack percentage, including six kills in the decisive fifth game, as Penn State rallied from a two-game deficit to beat Princeton on Saturday. He also had 14 kills along with a seven digs and a season-high six blocks in a five-game victory against NJIT on Friday.

This is the first time Mende has earned this national award. In addition, Mende is the third Penn State recipient in the four-year history of this weekly 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 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 combined 34 kills on a .419 attack percentage in a home-and-home series sweep against Fort Wayne last week. The freshman along with a match-high 18 kills added a season-high four blocks as No. 11 Ball State rallied from a two-game deficit to beat Fort Wayne in the series finale on Friday.

Erik Johnson, Harvard — Johnson had a team-high 13 kills on a .370 attack percentage and added five digs in a five-game upset victory against No. 15 George Mason on Saturday.

Luke Allmond, NJIT — Allmond finished with both a season-high 10 kills on a .667 attack percentage and six blocks in a five-game loss to No. 14 Penn State on Friday. The middle attacker also had five kills and three blocks as NJIT beat St. Francis in five games on Saturday.

George Huhmann, Princeton — Huhmann had nine kills on a .438 attack percentage and a season-high six blocks in a five-game victory against St. Francis on Friday. The middle attacker also had nine kills, three blocks and two aces in a five-game loss to No. 14 Penn State on Saturday.

Angelos Mandilaris, Barton — Mandilaris returning to the court for the first time in almost three weeks had a match-high 10 kills on a .421 attack percentage and two aces in a sweep against Limestone on Friday. He also had a match-high 14 kills on a .542 attack percentage and a season-high four aces in a sweep against North Greenville on Saturday.

Isaac Lanier, Erskine — Lanier led all players with a season-high 18 kills and added seven digs in a four-game victory against Lees-McRae on Friday for team’s first win of the season. He also had 11 kills in a three-game loss to King on Saturday.

Scott Stadick, UC Irvine — Stadick had a match-high nine blocks and added seven kills on a .462 attack percentage to help No. 7/7 UC Irvine beat No. 13 CSUN in five games on Saturday.

Mason Tufuga, Stanford — Tufuga had a season-high 19 kills on a .394 attack percentage along with five digs as No. 8/9 Stanford upset No. 4/4 UCLA in five games on Thursday. He also had 13 kills and a season-high six digs in a five-game victory against No. 12 UC Santa Barbara on Saturday.

Luca Berger, Coker — Berger had 10 kills and a season-high five blocks in a five-game victory against Alderson Broaddus on Saturday. He also had 15 kills and zero attack errors on a .833 attack percentage in a sweep versus Bluefield College on Friday.

Timothy McIntosh, Alderson Broaddus — McIntosh finished with a season-high 20 digs in a five-game loss to Coker on Saturday. The libero also led all players with 13 digs in a four-game victory against Lincoln Memorial on Friday.