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The top 5 men’s volleyball stories of the week

April 17, 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.

Hawai’i alumni back to play golf, little volleyball
Cindy Luis | The Honolulu Star-Advertiser
With its regular season finished and the team preparing for the MPSF Tournament next week, Hawai’i played in an alumni match Saturday. Instead of this preview story focusing on the current team, it takes the more interesting angle of how the alumni enjoy traveling back to the islands to play in this match and the tight-knit bond between the former players.

Ball State’s Hartley realizing his potential
Andrew Mishler | The Ball State Daily News
Outside attacker Jamion Hartley has become one of Ball State’s most energetic and emotional players on the court. However, it has been a struggle for him the last two years to maintain a starting role because of his inconsistency. This article looks at how Hartley has taken advantage of an opportunity to become a starter late in the season.

Win over Ohio State furthers established momentum for Penn State
Joe McIntyre | The Daily Collegian
Following Penn State’s four-game victory against Ohio State, this article examined how the win gave the Nittany Lions momentum heading into the EIVA Tournament. It also looked at the long term affects the win could have on the NCAA Tournament seeding. Penn State lost to unranked Ball State after this article was written, but that doesn’t take away from the nice storytelling.

Penn State hitters maturing, still fighting for time
Steven Petrella | The Daily Collegian
Outside attacker Joe Sunder is still Penn State’s top offensive player. Throughout this season, though, outside attackers Tom Comfort, Jace Olsen and Scott Kegerreis have become consistent offensive options for the Nittany Lions. This article looks at how the three players have developed into fixtures in the starting lineup this season.

BYU home matches popular to attend
Kristian Ekenes | The Daily Universe
This article makes the top five list this week because of the story topic and use of statical information. The reporter did a nice job showing how the men’s volleyball team is the third most popular sport at BYU and then interviewed coaches, players and students to examine why the sport is popular on campus.

Bonus top five story of the week
Ball State vs. Penn State photo gallery
Jess Lanning and Corey Ohlerkamp | The Ball State Daily News
For the first time this season, a non-written story makes the top five list. This photo gallery is an excellent example of how to use non-traditional angles to tell a story as photographer Jess Lanning shot the entire match from a catwalk above the court.

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