The top 5 college 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.

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.

Anteaters falter in five to Cougars
Barry Faulker | The Daily Pilot
No. 7 UC Irvine’s losing streak to open conference play extended to three matches as it lost to No. 8 BYU in five games on Friday. Despite the loss, this game story focuses on how UC Irvine coach David Kniffin wasn’t panicking about the losing streak and felt the Anteaters were on the verge of having a big season.

Ball State’s Wrather changes playing style after injury
David Polaski | The Ball State Daily News
Ball State all-conference outside attacker Larry Wrather returned to the court earlier this month for his first match since redshirting last season because of a shoulder injury. This feature story examines how the injury forced Wrather to change the way he approaches the game and even change his position from outside attacker to libero.

Page leads UCLA in height and digs
Leonardo Villalobos | Daily Bruin
UCLA outside attacker Robart Page is the among the conference leaders in kills per game average to open the season but offense isn’t his favorite aspect of the sport. This news-feature story looks at how Page, the the tallest player in the conference at 7-foot, has become among Bruins’ team leaders in digs.

Off-season transitions come together for Penn State
Lindsey Smith | The Daily Collegian
Penn State coach Mark Pavlik after losing five seniors from last year’s team spent the off-season working on having his returning starters grow into leadership roles. This news-feature examines how players are accepting these new leadership responsibilities — including sophomore middle attacker Matt Seifert who was named a team captain.

Belmont Abbey looks to improve upon inaugural season
Richard Walker | Gaston Gazette
Belmont Abbey finished its program’s inaugural season last year winning 11 matches and earning a berth to the six-team Conference Carolinas Tournament. This season preview article looks at how the Crusaders are optimistic about the 2014 season despite an off-season when they lost one of their top players to a season-ending injury.