Middle attacker JP Payne just achieved a program first for Queens.
A nationwide voting committee selected Payne as the Off the Block Independent Teams Player of the Year that was unveiled Thursday evening on Off the Block.
The Independent Teams Player of the Year recognizes the best player during the regular season from NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball teams that are competing without a conference affiliation. The eight independent teams this season were Alderson Broaddus, Daemen, D’Youville, Limestone Lincoln Memorial, Queens and St. Francis Brooklyn.
Payne led Queens with a .457 attack percentage and had double-digit kills in eight matches, including 11 kills while hitting .643 in a victory against Lincoln Memorial in March. The senior also had a team-high 62 blocks to help the Royals earn the No. 2 seed for the IVA Tournament and end the regular season at No. 8 in the Off the Block Division II National Coaches Poll.
This is the first time in its four-year program history that Queens had a player win the Independent Teams Player of the Year. In addition, Payne is the first middle attacker to win the award since Alderson Broaddus middle attacker Myles Miller won the award in 2017.
Head coaches from the independent NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball teams and volleyball media members comprised the voting committee for the Independent Teams Player of the Year.
Payne edged out both runner-ups Daemen outside attacker Zach Schneider and Limestone libero Michal Podgorzak by four points to win the award.
Along with the Independent Teams Player of the Year, Off the Block presents the All-Independent Team, the Independent Teams Freshman of the Year and the Independent Teams Coach of the Year. The college men’s volleyball website also presents the Independent Teams Player of the Week throughout the regular season.
Off the Block is a national award winning website that started in 2011 and is the nation’s leader in college men’s volleyball coverage.
2021 Independent Teams Player of the Year voting results
1. JP Payne, Queens — 10 points
T-2. Michal Podgorzak, Limestone — 6 points
T-2. Zach Schneider, Daemen — 6 points
T-4. Geraldo Rivera, Limestone — 5 points
T-4. Tristan Santoyo, Queens — 5 points
T-4. Justin Sharfenaker, Lincoln Memorial — 5 points
7. AJ Risavy, Lincoln Memorial — 3 points
T-8. Nic Cavallaro, Queens — 1 point
T-8. Michael Krueger, Daemen — 1 point