Ball State, UC Irvine players named Co-National Freshman of Week

Two freshmen who helped their teams earn postseason home matches are concluding the regular season with another national award.

Off the Block announced Monday that UC Irvine middle attacker Scott Stadick and Ball State outside attacker Matt Szews were named the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Co-National Freshman of the Week.

Stadick led all players with a season-high 12 blocks and added seven kills to help No. 5/5 UC Irvine beat No. 9/9 Stanford on Friday to clinch the No. 4 seed and quarterfinals home match for the upcoming MPSF Tournament. The middle attacker also had a match-high six blocks along with five kills in a five-game victory against No. 8/8 Pepperdine on Saturday.

Szews finished with a match-high 14 kills on a .400 attack percentage as No. 13 Ball State swept No. 10/10 Loyola on Saturday to clinch the No. 4 seed in the upcoming MIVA Tournament. In addition, Szews contributed 12 kills and added seven digs in a four-game loss to No. 7/7 Lewis on Thursday.

This is the third time that both Stadick and Szews have earned National Freshman of the Week honors — the most of any player in the nation this season.

Before this season, only four players had earned the honor at least three times in four-year history of the weekly 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
Ryan Coenen, Lewis — Coenen finished with 13 kills on a .476 attack percentage and led No. 7/7 Lewis with seven digs in a sweep against Fort Wayne on Saturday. He also had 15 kills in a four-game victory against No. 13 Ball State on Thursday.

Calvin Mende, Penn State — Mende had a match-high 14 kills on a .462 attack percentage and contributed seven digs in a sweep against Harvard on Saturday.

Michael Fisher, St. Francis — Fisher led all players with 19 kills in a five-game road victory against Harvard on Friday. He also had 14 kills on a .370 attack percentage and 10 digs as St. Francis swept Sacred Heart on Saturday to remain in second place in the EIVA.

George Huhmann, Princeton — Huhmann had a match-high eight blocks along with 10 kills on a .412 attack percentage in a four-game victory against George Mason on Saturday.

Angelos Mandilaris, Barton — Mandilaris finished with a match-high 18 kills on a .441 attack percentage and added 11 digs in a four-game non-conference victory against Coker on Tuesday.

Liam Maxwell, Belmont Abbey — Maxwell had 13 kills on a .314 attack percentage and 11 digs along with a match-high three aces in a four-game victory against Limestone on Tuesday. He also had six kills in a sweep against Erskine on Friday.

Evan Cory, Lincoln Memorial — Cory had both a team-high 18 kills on a .325 attack percentage and four blocks in a five-game pool-play loss to Alderson Broaddus on Saturday at the IVA Championship Tournament. He also had 12 kills in the team’s pool-play opening loss to Coker on Friday.