For the third consecutive season, Ohio State's Nicolas Szerszen has been bestowed an organization's National Player of the Year recognition. The run began in 2016 when the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) named Szerszen as the NCAA's top player. The most recent award, presented by VolleyMob for 2018, followed Volleyball Magazine's 2017 accolade given to Szerszen.
A few handful of athletes emerged as legitimate National Player of the Year candidates over the course of this season, but only one can hold the crown in 2018. That man is Nicolas Szerszen, who collects the award in his senior season after pushing the Ohio State Buckeyes to the Volley Four.
The 6’4″ senior outside hitter from Conflans Ste Hne, France capped off his remarkable career with the Buckeyes with another batch of incredible numbers. After logging similar totals as a sophomore in 2016 and a junior in 2017, Szerszen notched 406 kills (3.76 per set) on a .388 hitting percentage, 236 digs (2.19 per set), 60 aces (0.56 per set), 41 blocks (0.38 per set) and 19 assists (0.18 per set).
Those categories put Szerszen in highly sought after company, as in the entire NCAA he was eighth in points per set, 12th in kills per set, eighth in hitting percentage (first among non-middle blockers) and 24th in digs per set (second among outside hitters).
In addition to helping Ohio State reach the National Semifinals and a fifth-place spot in the final VolleyMob Top 20 Power Rankings, Szerszen was the leader on a team that won the regular and post-season MIVA championships. They went 25-6 with Szerszen leading the way, and fought Long Beach State hard in the Volley Four before their bid for a third consecutive National Championship was thwarted.
Szerszen had plenty of competition for the award too, as UCLA setter Micah Ma’a was right there along with another outside hitter in TJ DeFalco. In total, nine players earned at least a point for National Player of the Year voting.
The vote was made by three staff members from VolleyMob, who each listed their top five candidates before the total was aggregated together for the overall results.