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The top 5 men’s volleyball stories of the week

March 27, 2011

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

Every Sunday during the men’s volleyball season Off the Block 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.

UC Irvine coach Speraw appalled at Pauley
Barry Faulkner | The Daily Pilot
Nothing like a postgame tirade from a coach, especially one who has won multiple championships. Following his team losing to UCLA in three games, UC Irvine coach Speraw said it was some of the worst volleyball he had seen in years and that the Anteaters “didn’t even of competing” in the match. The reporter did a nice job using these quotes throughout the story and making it the focus of the game story.

Hendries’ injury leading to more time for Mars
Bill Landis | The Daily Collegian
This news-feature story discusses the difficulty Penn State middle attacker Ian Hendries had watching from the sidelines because of an ankle injury. It also looks at how the absence of the team’s leader in blocks could affect the Nittany Lions. The reporter does a great job using a delayed lead bring the readers into the story.

Nearing 500th win, Arnie Ball maintains intensity
Reggie Hayes | The News-Sentinel
With IPFW coach Arnie Ball at 499 career wins, this personality profile story looks at the Hall of Famer’s coaching style that has not changed in 30 years and what he has meant to volleyball in Fort Wayne, Ind. IPFW swept Carthage on Saturday to give Ball his 500th career victory as a head coach.

Penn State’s Goas keeping team loose on court
Steve Petrella | The Daily Collegian
The only thing bigger than Penn State setter Edgardo Goas’ game is his personality. This feature story discusses the All-American setter becoming a vocal leader for the Nittany Lions and how his upbeat personality during matches has benefited the team.

Penn State volleyball tight on and off the court
Joe McIntyre | The Daily Collegian
For the first time this season, a newspaper has claimed three spots on the top five list. This news-feature story looks at how the Penn State players are close on and off the court. Unlike other stories about teams being close, though, this article also discusses some of the potential negatives about players on a team being too close.

Best of the rest
Coach Ball of fire after home defeat
Steve Warden | The Journal Gazette
IPFW coach Arnie Ball after a four-game home loss to Loyola on Friday gave what might be the quote of the year. Ball said he personally hates Loyola and then also dropped an expletive on how he does not care about getting his 500th career win as a coach.

Ball State freshman setter learning the ropes
Andrew Mishler | The Ball State Daily News
This feature story looks at how freshman Graham McIlvaine has developed into Ball State’s starting setter this season and how he is continuing to improve each match.

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