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The top 5 men’s volleyball stories of the week

April 10, 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.

Irreplaceable Del Valle not ready to leave to Penn State
Joe McIntyre | The Daily Collegian
Libero Dennis Del Valle in four years went from speaking little English and knowing not a lot about Penn State to becoming an All-American. In this personality profile, the reporter shows how Del Valle emerged as a vocal leader on the team and became one of best liberos in the Nittany Lions’ history.

Young Ball State players wait, prepare for future
Andrew Mishler | The Ball State Daily News
Middle attacker Kevin Owens and outside attacker Urim Demirovski have spent much of the year watching from Ball State’s bench and training for next season. This news-feature article examines the struggles for the two top high school recruits to sit on the bench the entire season, but how it has benefited both players.

Penn State facing sickness and injuries of a long season
Steven Petrella | The Daily Collegian
Similar to most men’s volleyball teams, Penn State has battled injuries and illnesses this entire season. Penn State coach Mark Pavlik discusses in this article how he is attempting to keep his players healthy as the conference tournaments begin in less than two weeks.

Mars’ leadership helping young Nittany Lions
Bill Landis | The Daily Collegian
For the second time this season, The Daily Collegian has picked up three of the five spots on a stories of the week list. Publishing multiple personality profile this week, this Daily Collegian article looks at how middle attacker Alan Mars’ took the responsibility of being a senior leader on the team this season.

Quinn develops thick skin and quick hands at IPFW
Staff reports | The Ventura County Star
Setter Adam Quinn in his first season at IPFW has quickly learned how demanding it is to play for Hall of Fame coach Arnie Ball. This article examines how the California native is adjusting to Ball’s intense coaching style and playing Division I volleyball.

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