Off the Block announces winners of National Position Player of Week Awards

Photo by Jay Sowers

Six college men’s volleyball players have earned national awards for being the best at their position.

BYU’s Felipe de Brito Ferreira, Long Beach State’s Kyle Ensing, Belmont Abbey’s Liam Maxwell, Grand Canyon’s Alex Shmelev, Lewis’ Michael Simmons and Hawai’i’s Joe Worsley were selected on Monday for the Off the Block National Position Player of the Week Awards.

The National Position Player of the Week Awards recognize the libero, middle attacker, opposite, outside attacker and setter who had the best performances in NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball during the week.

The Off the Block staff determines each award recipient. In addition, the winners are announced every Monday during the regular season on the Off the Block website, offtheblockblog.com.

While there are other weekly national awards in college men’s volleyball, these are the only position-based weekly awards. Off the Block at the end of the season also presents the Lloy Ball Award to the nation’s top setter, Bryan Ivie Award to the nation’s top opposite, the Karch Kiraly Award to the nation’s top outside attacker, the Ryan Millar Award to the nation’s top middle attacker and the Erik Shoji Award to the nation’s top libero.

Off the Block is a national award winning website that launched in 2011 and is the nation’s leader in college men’s volleyball coverage.

National Position Player of the Week Awards

Off the Block National Setter of the Week: Joe Worsley, Hawai’i
Off the Block National Opposite of the Week: Kyle Ensing, Long Beach State
Off the Block National Outside Attacker of the Week: Liam Maxwell, Belmont Abbey
Off the Block Co-National Middle Attacker of the Week: Felipe de Brito Ferreira, BYU
Off the Block Co-National Middle Attacker of the Week: Alex Shmelev, Grand Canyon
Off the Block National Libero of the Week: Michael Simmons, Lewis

Joe Worsley, Hawai’i
Worsley guided No. 2/2 Hawai’i to a .609 attack percentage while adding both a team-high two aces and five digs in a sweep against No. 12 CSUN on Friday. The setter also led the Rainbow Warriors to a .500 attack percentage in a three-game victory versus the Matadors on Saturday to complete the two-match series sweep.

Kyle Ensing, Long Beach State
Ensing finished with a season-high 27 kills on a .471 attack percentage and contributed three aces to help No. 1/1 Long Beach State rally from a one-game deficit to beat No. 3/3 UC Santa Barbara in five games on Thursday. He also had 13 kills to go along with four blocks in the 49ers’ four-game road win against Gauchos on Friday that completed the sweep of the home-and-home series.

Liam Maxwell, Belmont Abbey
Maxwell led all players with both a season-high 22 kills on a .333 attack percentage and 16 digs as Belmont Abbey beat its in-state rival Queens in four games on Wednesday. He also had a match-high 19 kills in a three-game conference loss to King on Friday.

Felipe de Brito Ferreira, BYU
de Brito Ferreira led all players with a career-high 13 blocks as No. 9/9 BYU upset No. 6/6 Pepperdine in four games on Saturday. He also had nine kills on a .533 attack percentage and three blocks while helping BYU rally from a two-game deficit to upset No. 4/4 UCLA in five games on Thursday.

Alex Shmelev, Grand Canyon
Shmelev finished with nine kills on a .438 attack percentage and added three blocks to help Grand Canyon upset No. 10/10 USC in four games on Thursday. The middle attacker also had both a combined 10 blocks and 17 kills while hitting more than .500 as Grand Canyon split a two-match series against No. 14 George Mason during the weekend.

Michael Simmons, Lewis
Simmons had a match-high 13 digs as No. 7/7 Lewis beat No. 11/10 Loyola in four games on Friday. The libero also did not commit an error on 24 service receptions in the victory that extended the Flyers’ first-place led in the MIVA to two matches.