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The top 5 men’s volleyball stories of the week

January 30, 2011

It’s your top five men’s volleyball story list, but with a twist.

Every Sunday during the men’s volleyball season I 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.

I will be primarily looking at a college newspapers — they provide the majority of coverage to the sport — but occasionally I will include some well written men’s volleyball articles from professional newspapers.

Spending four years as a men’s volleyball beat reporter for The Ball State Daily News I am well aware of the challenges facing most of these reporters.

In many communities volleyball is a non-mainstream sport that has a niche following. One of the reasons I always loved covering volleyball, though, was because with every story I wrote I knew I needed to find an angle that could appeal to volleyball and non-volleyball fans.

Going beyond the boxscore 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.

Lions down No. 14 Loyola Chicago at Rec Hall

Bill Landis | The Daily Collegian

This story looks at Nittany Lions outside hitter Joe Sunder’s near career night in Penn State’s victory against Loyola and how it compared to last season when Sunder struggled in a road loss to the Ramblers. I also absolutely love the lead on this story.

BYU leaves UC Irvine’s Anteaters tongue-tied
Martin Renzhofer | The Salt Lake Tribune

Any time there is a night match it means the reporter is working on a tight deadline to get the story into the editor. This deadline article takes a nice look at how UC Irvine’s serving struggles in the elevated altitude of Provo, Utah led to its loss against BYU.

UCLA holds off Waves in first win over Pepperdine since 2008
Vidur Malik | The Daily Bruin

This gamer story focuses on how Bruins outside attacker Kyle Caldwell overcame a left hand injury to have a team-high 14 kills in the victory against the Waves.

Net play, blocks key to success for Lions
Joe McIntyre | The Daily Collegian

Once again, The Daily Collegian — one of the best newspapers, college or professional, at covering men’s volleyball — makes the list. This mid-week news-features story looks at how Penn State coach Mark Pavlik made lineup changes to better improve the team’s blocking.

Ball State faces two-game road trip this weekend
Andrew Mishler | The Ball State Daily News

This preview story focuses on how Ball State’s almost two-week layoff between matches could affect the team in its weekend matches against George Mason and Sacred Heart. The reporter also gets some nice insight at how the Cardinals have used the team to practice serving.

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