It’s all about the numbers — particularly the number on the jersey.
Off the Block is unveiling the best player to wear each jersey number in NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball during the 25-point rally scoring era.
The latest installment in this summer series examines the best to don the No. 9 jersey. Check out Off the Block throughout June as it continues to reveal the best in the sport to wear each number.
Best player to wear No. 9
Nicolas Szerszen, Ohio State (2014-17)
Awards and honors: First-Team All-Decade, MIVA Player of the Decade, MIVA First-Team All-Decade, 2015 Freshman All-American, 2015 All-American Honorable Mention, 2015 MIVA Freshman of the Year, 2015 All-MIVA First Team, 2016 National Player of the Year, 2016 Karch Kiraly Award, 2016 All-American First Team, 2016 MIVA Player of the Year, 2016 All-MIVA First Team, 2016 All-MIVA Tournament, 2016 MIVA Tournament Most Outstanding Player, 2016 All-NCAA Tournament, 2017 All-American First Team, 2017 International Player of the Year, 2017 National Server of the Year, 2017 Karch Kiraly Award finalist, 2017 MIVA Player of the Year, 2017 All-MIVA First Team, 2017 All-MIVA Tournament, 2017 All-NCAA Tournament, 2017 NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player, 2018 International Player of the Year, 2018 Karch Kiraly Award finalist, 2018 National Server of the Year, 2018 All-American First Team, 2018 MIVA Player of the Year, 2018 All-MIVA First Team, 2018 All-MIVA Tournament, 2018 MIVA Tournament Most Outstanding Player, 2018 All-NCAA Tournament
Player bio: Szerszen set the Ohio State record with both 1,678 career kills and 238 aces. The French outside attacker also was third in school history with 783 career digs, the most for any non-libero, and was in the program’s top 15 with a .373 career attack percentage.Szerszen as a junior finished in the nation’s top 10 with both a 3.73 kills per game and a .389 attack percentage and averaged a nation-best 0.64 aces per game. In addition, Szerszen had a match-high 16 kills while hitting .480 as Ohio State swept BYU in the 2017 NCAA Tournament finals to repeat as national champions. The three-time All-American ended his sophomore season in the nation’s top 10 averaging 4.31 kills per game and 0.53 aces per game, including having a combined 45 kills in the Buckeyes’ three NCAA Tournament matches.
Best players to wear No. 9 by conference
Big West: Dimitar Kalchev, CSUN
ConfCarolinas: Angel Dache, Mount Olive
EIVA: Hayden Wagner, George Mason
MIVA: Nicolas Szerszen, Ohio State
MPSF: Carson Clark, UC Irvine
Independents: Pedro Carvalho, Lincoln Memorial
Honorable mentions: Tobi Azeez, Mount Olive; Ryan Coenen, Lewis; JT Hatch, UCLA; Brad Lawson, Stanford; Greg Petty, Lewis