McKendree outside Ross named National Freshman of Week

An outside attacker who helped McKendree earn one of its non-conference wins in program history is now receiving the first national award of his college career.

Off the Block announced Monday that McKendree outside attacker Patrick Ross was selected as the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Freshman of the Week.

Ross finished with both a team-high 15 kills and 14 digs as McKendree beat UC San Diego on Friday in a match-up between two top-five ranked teams in the Division II National Coaches Poll.

This is second time in the five-year history of the award that a McKendree player earned National Freshman of the Week honors.

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 five 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 2018 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 Alu, St. Francis — Alu led all St. Francis with a season-high 15 digs in a four-game conference victory against Sacred Heart on Saturday. The libero also had a team-high 13 digs as St. Francis beat Harvard in four games on Friday.

Wyatt Harrison, UC San Diego — Harrison finished with 16 kills on a .375 attack percentage and added eight digs in a four-game loss to McKendree. He also had seven kills in a four-game victory against Lindenwood on Saturday.

Daniel Hermida, Erskine — Hermida had both a match-high 10 kills on a .350 attack percentage and three aces as Erskine swept Alderson Broaddus on Friday. He also added nine kills, nine digs and a match-high three aces in a sweep against Limestone on Tuesday that ended Erskine’s nine-match losing streak.

Jaylen Jasper, Stanford — Jasper led all players with a season-high 20 kills on a .633 attack percentage as Stanford upset No. 10/10 Grand Canyon in four games on Saturday.

Tyler Mitchem, Lewis — Mitchem had eight kills on a .500 attack percentage and a match-high four blocks in a sweep against No. 14 Fort Wayne on Saturday. He also led all players with a season-high eight blocks and added nine kills in a three-game loss to Ball State on Friday.

Robert Mullahey, Pepperdine — Mullahey had 45 assists and guided the offense to a .281 attack percentage as No. 12 Pepperdine upset No. 4/4 UC Irvine in four games on Wednesday. The setter also helped Pepperdine hit .308 while defensively adding eight digs and four blocks in a five-game conference victory against No. 15 USC on Saturday.

Max Senica, Charleston — Senica finished with a team-high 12 kills while adding eight digs and three blocks in a four-game victory against in-state rival Alderson Broaddus on Thursday.

Garrett Zolg, Loyola — Zolg had 53 assists while guiding the offense to a .357 attack percentage and defensively added a match-high 16 digs as No. 6/6 Loyola beat No. 14 Fort Wayne in five games on Friday. The setter also led Loyola with 12 digs and contributed two aces in a four-game loss to Ball State on Saturday.