Springfield outside attacker Luis Vega did more than get selected as top Division III men’s volleyball player at his position — he won the national award unanimously.
Off the Block announced Monday that Vega received every first-place vote from a nationwide voting committee to be named the 2017 Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Division III National Outside Attacker of the Year.
Vega in his final college season finished in the nation’s top five with both a 4.28 kills per game average and a .459 attack percentage. The 2017 AVCA Division III National Player of the Year also had double-digit kills in the team’s final 12 matches, including a match-high 17 kills as Springfield beat SUNY New Paltz in the NCAA Tournament finals.
Along with receiving every first-place vote, Vega earned all but five votes from the voting committee of 12 Division III head coaches.
UC Santa Cruz outside attacker Lake Merchen and NYU outside attacker Alex Li finished tied for second place with each garnering two votes — 22 fewer votes than Vega.
The top-three vote-getters for the award were named finalists and the student-athlete receiving the most votes was named the award winner.
Besides the National Outside Attacker 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 Middle Attacker of the Year and the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Libero 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 Outside Attacker of the Year (voting results)
1. Luis Vega, Springfield — 24 votes
T-2. Alex Li, NYU — 2 votes
T-2. Lake Merchen, UC Santa Cruz — 2 votes
4. Ricardo Padilla Ayalal, Springfield — 1 vote