About

Off the Block is a website that focuses on college men’s volleyball news and analysis. With its in-depth and year-round coverage of the sport, the website has become the nation’s leader in college men’s volleyball coverage. Off the Block in 2017 was presented with the AVCA Grant Burger Media Award — becoming one of the few media organizations to win the annual award for outstanding volleyball coverage.

Along with its coverage, Off the Block is responsible for coordinating and presenting numerous national and weekly awards in college men’s volleyball. It also coordinates and distributes the weekly National Media Poll and the weekly Division II National Coaches Poll.

Off the Block is an independent media organization that believes in providing all its content for free without a paywall in the effort to promote and grow the game. The website is able to sustain itself through the support of sponsors and donations from readers.

The Off the Block Team

Vinnie Lopes
Founder and Editor

Vinnie created Off the Block in January 2011 and continues to serve as the editor. He has been the first to report on countless men’s volleyball stories, including the NCAA Tournament expansion. Vinnie has emerged in recent years as the nation’s leading college men’s volleyball bracketologist. Through interrupting data, Vinnie has been able to help better inform the public about the selection process of the NCAA Tournament field.

Vinnie, a graduate of Ball State University, began covering men’s volleyball for The Ball State Daily News in the 2007 season. After graduating, Vinnie continued to cover men’s volleyball — this time reporting on Purdue Fort Wayne for The News-Sentinel in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He also was a broadcast analyst for Lipscomb women’s volleyball home matches from 2014-17.

Among his awards for sports coverage, USA Volleyball presented Vinnie with the E. Douglas Boyden Media Recognition Award in 2014. Vinnie was the first college sports reporter to win the AVCA Grant Burger Media Award for newspaper volleyball reporting. In addition, he was the inaugural winner of the AVCA Grant Burger Media Award social media category in 2013 for Off the Block’s social media coverage of college men’s volleyball.

Vinnie published his first volleyball history book “The Volleyball Debate,” which examines the controversial start of the men’s volleyball program at Ball State.He currently resides in Nashville with his wife Ali and their daughter Adler.

Jonathan Bates
Associate Editor

Jonathan joined Off the Block in 2014 and has become one of the most prominent college men’s volleyball reporters on the West Coast. Within the last five years, Jonathan has covered more than 100 matches for Off the Block and provided readers with video highlights of matches and insightful post-match interviews with players. He also coordinates and oversees the weekly Off the Block Division II National Media Poll.

Jonathan has established a strong social media presence with his Twitter handle @MPSF_bias where he provides live updates of matches and his random volleyball observations. His engaging social media personality also led to him coining the now popular volleyball term #CincoSets, which describes a match going to a decisive fifth game.

When not covering volleyball, Jonathan can be found shopping at Costco, working as a statistician for sports broadcasts and trolling other Off the Block staff members on the group text.

Brendan Yu
Senior reporter

Brendan got his start covering women’s volleyball at UC Irvine in 2014 and quickly fell in love with the sport. Brendan covered both men’s and women’s volleyball until he graduated in 2016, traveling to several away games on his own dime along the way. He first learned of Off the Block after seeing the website name the editor from The Daily Bruin the MPSF Reporter of the Year, and became hell-bent on taking that award from them the following year. In 2016, Brendan was a finalist for the AVCA Grant Burger Media Award, winning the category of Best College Reporter. Brendan graduated with a degree in Literary Journalism and is a former Dat Winning Fellow. His works have been published in Vice and NBC News.

Brandon Johnson
Senior contributor

Brandon joined the Off the Block team in attempt to help grow the game. As a volleyball nerd, and native of the Los Angeles area, he has been connected to the volleyball community for more than 10 years. Currently the boys varsity volleyball coach at West Ranch High School, Brandon is dedicated to helping grow the men’s game, starting at the high school level. Brandon joined Off the Block because he believes in the work of the website and its dedication to provide tireless, consistent and meaningful work for men’s volleyball.

Rae Loverde
Senior contributor

Rae officially joined the Off the Block team in 2019 and instantly brought a new level of social media sophistication to the website’s digital platforms. She is the person primarily behind Off the Block’s in-match Instagram coverage. She also conducts post-match interviews and works on long-term story projects for Off the Block.

Ted Wang
Special contributor

Ted started contributing to Off the Block in 2015 and remains a valuable member of the team. Located in Northern California, Ted has provided readers with video highlights and post-match interviews for some of the biggest Stanford men’s volleyball home matches in recent years. He also played a significant role in Off the Block’s coverage of the 2015 NCAA Tournament at Stanford.

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