Two freshmen who led their teams to conference victories are now earning a share of a national award.
Off the Block announced Monday that USC setter Chris Hall and Charleston outside attacker Max Senica were selected as the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Co-National Freshman of the Week.
Hall set the single-match NCAA record for this season with 64 assists and guided the offense to a .396 attack percentage as No. 14 USC defeated Stanford in five games on Thursday. The former setter for the U.S. Boys’ Youth National Team also led USC to hit .321 in a four-game loss to No. 7/7 BYU on Saturday.
Senica finished with 11 kills and seven digs as Charleston defeated Princeton in five games on Friday to win its first EIVA match in program history. In addition, Senica had a team-high 10 kills on a .318 attack percentage and added seven digs in a three-game victory against Princeton on Saturday that completed the conference series sweep.
This is the first time in the five-year history of the national award that a Charleston player has been named the National Freshman of the Week. Hall becomes the fourth Trojan to win the national award and the first to accomplish the feat since 2015.
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
Simon Anderson, Long Beach State — Anderson had seven kills on a perfect 1.000 attack percentage as No. 1/1 Long Beach State swept George Mason on Saturday to extend its winning streak to a nation-best 12 matches. The middle attacker also had five kills and zero attack errors while hitting .714 in a sweep against Harvard on Thursday.
Francisco Salinger Cenzual, Limestone — Cenzual finished with a match-high 18 kills on .306 attack percentage along with four aces and nine digs in a four-game victory against North Greenville on Friday. He also had a season-high 21 kills in a five-game loss to Belmont Abbey on Tuesday.
Gabi Garcia Fernandez, BYU — Fernandez finished with 18 kills on a .441 attack percentage in a four-game road victory against No. 14 USC on Saturday. The opposite also had had 11 kills along with eight digs and six blocks in a four-game non-conference win against UC San Diego on Thursday.
Tomas Gago, Fort Wayne — Gago finished with a season-high 10 kills while hitting .500 and had a match-high eight blocks in a five-game victory against McKendree on Wednesday.
Jake Hanes, Ohio State — Hanes had both a match-high 14 kills on a .333 attack percentage and three aces in a sweep against No. 14 Fort Wayne on Saturday. He also led all players with 18 kills and added three aces in a five-game win versus Ball State on Thursday.
Conner Nagaki, Queens — Nagaki extended his streak to four consecutive matches with double-digit digs as he had a team-high 14 digs in a four-game victory against Erskine on Saturday. The libero also had a match-high 15 digs in a four-game win versus Lees-McRae on Thursday.
Garrett Zolg, Loyola — Zolg had a season-high 13 digs and guided the offense to a .362 attack percentage in a five-game victory against Quincy on Friday. The setter also helped No. 6/6 Loyola hit .269 and added nine digs in a sweep against Lindenwood on Saturday.