Recipients unveiled for Off the Block National Weekly Awards

Photo courtesy of Hawai’i athletics

Off the Block announced on Monday the recipients of the National Position Player of the Week Awards.

The National Position Player of the Week Awards recognize the libero, middle attacker, opposite, outside attacker and setter who had the best performances in NCAA men’s volleyball during the week.

The Off the Block staff determines each award recipient. The winners are announced every week during the regular season on the Off the Block website, offtheblockblog.com.

While there are other weekly national awards in college men’s volleyball, these are the only position-based weekly awards.

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Off the Block at the end of the season presents the Lloy Ball Award to the nation’s top setter, Bryan Ivie Award to the nation’s top opposite, the Karch Kiraly Award to the nation’s top outside attacker, the Ryan Millar Award to the nation’s top middle attacker and the Erik Shoji Award to the nation’s top libero.

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.

Off the Block Weekly National Award recipients

National Setter of the Week: Nicholas Slight, Grand Canyon
National Opposite of the Week: Geste Bianchi, UC Santa Barbara
National Outside Attacker of the Week: Spyros Chakas, Hawai’i
National Middle Attacker of the Week: Justin Howard, Ohio State
National Libero of the Week: Ryan Merk, Penn State

Nicholas Slight, Grand Canyon
Slight guided the offense to more than a .300 attack percentage in two of the Antelopes’ three victories at the Asics Invitational. The setter also had a combined 22 digs in the three matches, including a match-high 13 digs in a four-game victory against No. 15 UC Santa Barbara.

Geste Bianchi, UC Santa Barbara
Bianchi had a combined 60 kills in three matches at the Asics Invitational, including 21 kills on a .531 attack percentage in a season-opening win against NJIT. The opposite also came off the bench and had a career-high 30 kills on a .479 attack percentage in a comeback win against No. 20 George Mason.

Spyros Chakas, Hawai’i
Chakas finished with a match-high 16 kills and added three blocks in a season-opening sweep against Loyola. The outside attacker also led all players with 22 kills on a .500 attack percentage and added two aces in a five-game loss to the Ramblers in the series finale.

Justin Howard, Ohio State
Howard finished with 10 kills on a .529 attack percentage and a team-high four blocks in a four-game victory against Daemen. The middle attacker also had five blocks and five kills on a perfect 1.000 attack percentage in a sweep against North Greenville.

Ryan Merk, Penn State
Merk did not commit a reception error and was served a combined 39 times in victories against Central State and No. 16 Lewis during the weekend. The libero also had a combined 22 digs in the non-conference wins, including a match-high 14 digs against Lewis.