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.

Libero takes unusual road to Ball State
David Polaski | The Ball State Daily News
Ball State libero David Ryan Vander Meer was named the MIVA Defensive Player of the Week on Tuesday after having a career-high 22 digs in a conference victory against IPFW last week. This feature story examines the recruiting process of Vander Meer and how the homeschool student ended up playing in Ball State’s starting lineup.

Penn State balances academics and mid-week matches
Garrett Ross | The Daily Collegian
Outside attacker Nick Goodell had a match-high 20 kills in a non-conference victory against Ohio State on Wednesday, but the all-conference player had an even bigger challenge later that night of getting ready for a test the next day. This news-feature story focuses on how the Penn State players have worked to balance academics and volleyball during the regular season, especially when they are playing in mid-week matches.

UCLA zoned in for matchup with Pepperdine
Claire Fahy | Daily Bruin
No. 1 UCLA had its nation-best nine-match winning streak snapped as it lost on the road to No. 3 Pepperdine in three games on Wednesday. This preview story to that conference match, though, looks at how the UCLA players were putting additional stock into its match against Pepperdine because of the chances both teams could reach the NCAA Tournament.

Penn State draws large crowd from “Nittany Ninvitational”
Lindsey Smith | The Daily Collegian
Penn State had more than 3,000 people in attendance for its two home matches last weekend in part because the school opted to play host to a youth volleyball tournament at the same time. This news-feature story examines how having the youth tournament on a home weekend for Penn State helped improve the team’s game-day and in-match atmosphere.

Long Beach State coming home soon
Mike Guardabascio | Press-Telegram
Coach Alan Knipe isn’t one for making excuses, but it’s not hard for the coach to point-out Long Beach State’s early season conference schedule has made it increasingly difficult for the 49ers. This column looks at how Long Beach State’s significant amount of road match in the first few weeks of the season has hurt the 49ers’ in the polls and from gaining momentum.