Penn State libero Merk wins 2023 Steve Shondell Award

Photo courtesy of Penn State athletics

Penn State libero Ryan Merk is ending their freshman season with a national award.

Off the Block announced Tuesday that a nationwide voting committee selected Merk as the 2023 recipient of the Steve Shondell Award.

The Steve Shondell Award is presented to the nation’s best passer in NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball during the regular season. The award is named after the Hall of Fame coach and former Ball State setter Steve Shondell.


Merk had a team-high 571 service receptions and a 95.8 percent successful passing rating to help Penn State reach the NCAA Tournament semifinals. The libero did not commit an reception error in 17 matches, including having no errors against Hawai’i in the semifinals.

The voting committee for the Steve Shondell Award was comprised of more than college men’s volleyball head coaches and volleyball media members from around the nation. The top three vote-getters were named finalists for the Steve Shondell Award.

Merk received 36 votes to beat out the runner-up UCLA libero Troy Gooch by nine votes. The 2022 Steve Shondell Award winner Long Beach State libero Mason Briggs finished in third place with 25 votes.

This is the fourth year that Off the Block has presented the Steve Shondell Award.

Off the Block is a national award winning website that launched in 2011 and is the nation’s leader in college men’s volleyball coverage.

2023 Steve Shondell Award voting results

1. Ryan Merk, Penn State – 36 votes
2. Troy Gooch, UCLA – 27 votes
3. Mason Briggs, Long Beach State – 25 votes
4. Brett Sheward, Hawai’i – 9 votes
5. Sotiris Siapanis, Long Beach State – 8 votes
6. Justin Lui, Stanford – 6 votes
7. Kyle Deutschmann, Lindenwood – 5 votes
T-8. Chaz Galloway, Hawai’i – 3 votes
T-8. Cole Gillis, UC Irvine – 3 votes
T-8. Victor Scherer, Central State – 3 votes
T-11. Evan Boyle, UC San Diego – 2 votes
T-11. Jason Gibbs, Lewis – 2 votes
T-11. Nico Posivak, Princeton – 2 votes
T-11. Miks Ramanis, BYU – 2 votes
T-11. Paul Wyszynski, George Mason – 2 votes
T-16. Cole Campisano, Lincoln Memorial – 1 vote
T-16. Spyros Chakas, Hawai’i – 1 vote
T-16. Tate Colebaugh, Lincoln Memorial – 1 vote
T-16. Cole Udall, Grand Canyon – 1 vote
T-16. Ryan Wilcox, UC Santa Barbara – 1 vote