The top 5 men’s volleyball stories of the week

It’s your top five men’s volleyball story list, but with a twist.

Every Sunday during the men’s volleyball regular season, Off the Block will post the top five best men’s volleyball stories of the week from around the nation. The list, though, is based more on how well the reporter wrote and covered the story rather than just what happened on the court.

Off the Block will be primarily looking at a college newspapers — they provide the majority of coverage to the sport — but occasionally it will include some well written men’s volleyball articles from professional newspapers.

In many communities volleyball is a non-mainstream sport that has a niche following. One of the exciting things for reporters covering volleyball, though, is finding that interesting angle that could appeal to volleyball and non-volleyball fans.


Going beyond the box score and game notes to provide readers with insight on the team that they can’t got anywhere else is one of the most important skills for a sports reporter.

This list is to honor those efforts.

Small schools use Penn State to gauge themselves
Jon Wheel | The Daily Collegian
Mount Olive and Pfeiffer played non-conference matches against Penn State last week — a rarity as few nationally ranked programs want to schedule Conference Carolinas school. This news-feature story examines the struggle Conference Carolinas teams have scheduling non-conference matches and how they try to take advantage of their opportunities when they get the chance to a school like Penn State.

Ball State still awaiting national recognition
Evan Barnum-Steggerda | The Ball State Daily News
Despite being the only undefeated team left in the nation, Ball State (8-0, 3-0 MIVA) remains outside of the national coaches poll. This news-feature story examines why Ball State’s low strength of schedule has resulted on the Cardinals still being left of the national rankings.

Despite laid-back style off court, Penn State remains focused
Darian Somers | The Daily Collegian
Penn State players have become even more noticeable than usual this season with teammates now competing against each other to grow as much facial hair as possible. This news-feature story discusses how the team’s relaxed style off the court differs from most teams but how it works to the Nittany Lions’ advantage.

Penn state works through January volleyball
Jon Wheel | The Daily Collegian
Penn State coach Mark Pavlik doesn’t expect his team to be perfect at the start of the season and he even has a phrase to describe his team’s first matches. This feature story discusses the value of Pavlik’s “January volleyball” and how it benefits the team towards the end of the season.

BYU wins back-to-back matches
Trent Christiansen | The Universe
One of the things that can take an average game story and make it more powerful is a good quote and using that quote towards the top of the story. This game story on BYU’s victories this week uses two good quotes from setter Ryan Boyce to help bring the reader into the story.