Voting underway for OTB/Springbak National Player of Month championship round

Six players based on your votes have an opportunity to win a college men’s volleyball national award for their outstanding performances in January.

Long Beach State opposite Kyle Ensing, Loyola middle attacker Jeff Jendryk, Grand Canyon setter Puna Kaniho, UCLA setter Micah Ma’a, Limestone libero Florian Ruhm and Hawai’i outside attacker Stijn van Tilburg all advanced to the championship round of the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Player of the Month.

The Off the Block/Springbak National Player of the Month recognizes the best individual performances from NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball players during the month. In addition, it gives volleyball fans from around the world the chance to determine who was the best player through online voting on the Off the Block website.

The National Player of the Month is a two-round event with the opening round consisting of finalists being placed into one of five ballots based on their position. The five winners on the position ballots advanced to the championship round, along with the runner-up who received the most votes.

Ensing, Jendryk, Kaniho, Ruhm and van Tilburg all won their opening-round ballots to reach the finals, while Ma’a received the most votes among the runner-ups on all the ballots.

Online voting for the championship round is underway, and the polls will close at 10 p.m. (CST) Friday. The individual receiving the most votes will be the National Player of the Month for January.

While there are several weekly awards in college men’s volleyball, this is the only monthly national award presented in the sport.

Springbak, Inc. is the official sponsor of the National Player of the Month and the Fan Choice National Player of the Year at the end of the season. Springbak, Inc. 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.

Check out the finalists below for the National Player of the Month in January. Individuals can vote using at the poll below or by visiting offtheblockblog.com/playerofmonth.

Player of the Month finalists

Kyle Ensing, Long Beach State — Ensing ended the month among the Big West and national leaders with a 3.36 kills per game average. He also had double-digit kills and at least a .300 attack percentage in five matches as the 49ers remain one of the three undefeated teams left in the nation.

Jeff Jendryk, Loyola — Jendryk concluded the month with a nation-best .508 attack percentage and had double-digit kills in four matches. The 2017 finalist for the Ryan Millar Award also led the Ramblers with 27 blocks.

Puna Kaniho, Grand Canyon — Kaniho guided Grand Canyon to the fifth-best attack percentage in the nation at .329 and is among the national leaders with a 10.07 assists per game average. He also helped Grand Canyon move into the top 10 of the national rankings for the first time in program history.

Micah Ma’a, UCLA — With UCLA this season switching to a traditional 5-1 offensive system, Ma’a is seventh in the nation with a 10.24 assists per game average and led the Bruins to the nation’s sixth-best attack percentage at .326. He also ended the month among the nation’s leaders with a 0.47 aces per game average.

Florian Ruhm, Limestone — Ruhm leads the nation with a 3.10 digs per game average. He also had at least 15 digs in three matches and double-digit digs in five matches during the month.

Stijn van Tilburg, Hawai’i — van Tilburg is among the national leaders with a 4.00 kills per game average on a .355 attack percentage. He also had double-digit kills in a four matches against nationally ranked teams in January, highlighted with a season-high 14 kills on a .684 attack percentage in a sweep against USC on Jan. 6.