April 22, 2013
CHICAGO - On the heels of a record-setting season at the service line, Loyola University Chicago junior right-side hitter Joe Smalzer (Palos Heights, Ill./Marist) has been named the inaugural Off The Block/Springbak, Inc. National Server of the Year. This is the first year for the award and the voting committee was comprised of more than 20 men's volleyball head coaches and volleyball reporters from around the country. Smalzer earned 10 of the 20 first-place votes, outdistancing Micah Christenson of USC and Gonzalo Quiroga of UCLA, who finished second and third, respectively.
Smalzer, who was selected as the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA) Player of the Year last week, has put together, arguably, the best serving season in Loyola history. His 69 aces are a Loyola single-season record and his 164 career aces already have him atop the Ramblers' career list with another full season of eligibility remaining. Smalzer has recorded seven aces on two different occasions, most recently in a three-set sweep of Ohio State earlier this month, and he reeled off nine straight points in the first set of Loyola's sweep of Quincy in last weekend's MIVA quarterfinal.
Off the Block is a website that launched in January, 2011 and has become among the nation's leading media outlets for college men's volleyball news and analysis. Springbak, Inc. is the official sponsor of the 2013 National Server of the Year and 2013 National Blocker of the Year and produces high performance footwear used by professional athletes from the NFL, NBA, MLB and U.S. Olympic teams and the top college teams in the nation.
Loyola (20-9) hosts Ball State in a MIVA semifinal on Wednesday night at Gentile Arena. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m.