A sophomore has garnered a national award after helping lead his team to a NCAA championship.
Off the Block announced Wednesday that a nationwide voting committee selected Springfield’s Eli Irizarry Pares as the 2017 recipient of the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Libero of the Year.
Irizarry Pares finished with a team-high 2.33 digs per game average, including having five matches with double-digit digs. He also earned All-American honors and had a combined 16 digs in three NCAA Tournament matches as the Pride won their fifth national championship this decade.
In the closest vote of the five Division III national award presented by Off the Block and Springbak, Inc., Irizarry Pares edged out Carthage libero Cody Bolan by three votes to the national award. The other finalists — Marian libero Cullen Liberski, Hunter libero Joe Muir and Vassar libero Trey Cimorelli — each finished tied for third place with four votes.
The voting committee for this national award was comprised of 12 Division III head coaches from around the nation.
The top-three vote-getters for the award were named finalists and the student-athlete receiving the most votes was named the award winner. A three-way tie for third place resulted in five finalists for the National Libero of the Year.
Besides the National Libero of the Year, Off the Block annually presents four more Division III awards — the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Opposite of the Year, the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Setter of the Year, the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Outside Attacker of the Year and the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Middle Attacker of the Year.
Off the Block is a college men’s volleyball website that launched in 2011 and is the nation’s leaders in college men’s volleyball coverage. Springbak, Inc. is the official sponsor the Division III national awards 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.
2017 Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Libero of the Year (voting results)
1. Eli Irizarry Pares, Springfield — 13 votes
2. Cody Bolan, Carthage — 10 votes
T-3. Trey Cimorelli, Vassar — 4 votes
T-3. Cullen Liberski, Marian — 4 votes
T-3. Joe Muir, Hunter — 4 votes
6. Robert Nolan, SUNY New Paltz — 3 votes