UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Senior Aaron Russell has been voted as the recipient of the 2015 Karch Kiraly Award, presented by Off the Block blog. The inaugural award is presented to the best outside attacker in NCAA DI-II men's volleyball at the conclusion of the regular season.
Russell received a total of 65 votes, including 16 first-place votes to earn the award. The voting committee is comprised of more than 30 collegiate men's volleyball head coaches as well as volleyball reporters from around the nation.
Russell recently earned his third consecutive Uvaldo Acosta Memorial EIVA Player of the Year award. With the honor, he became one of only two in PSU program history to repeat as EIVA Player of the Year in three consecutive seasons.
Having led the team offensively with double figure kills in all but two matches this season, Russell also earned his fourth consecutive First Team All-EIVA selection this year. In addition to EIVA Offensive Player of the Week honors three times this season, he also earned his first career AVCA/Sports Imports DI-II National Player of the Week award following a trio of standout performances during the spring break trip. With a team-high 4.70 kills per set, his average ranks second nationally and leads the conference. On the NCAA DI active all-time leaders list, his 1,484 kills ranks first in DI and is the second-most among all divisions.
Earlier this week, Russell helped the Nittany Lions to an EIVA semifinal victory against fourth-seeded Princeton, tallying a match-high 19 kills and five aces.
The Karch Kiraly Award was named after former U.S. Olympian and UCLA All-American Karch Kiraly, who currently coaches the women's volleyball indoor national team. The Karch Kiraly Award is one of several end of season awards presented by Off the Block. Russell was also a finalist for the Off the Block/Springbak Inc. National Server of the Year honor.
Russell and the rest of the Penn State men's volleyball team (19-9) will look to capture their 17th consecutive EIVA Championship title as they host third-seeded George Mason in the EIVA finals Friday, May 1 at 7 p.m. in Rec Hall. The winner of the matchup will earn the conference's automatic bid to the six-team NCAA national championship field.
Tickets are priced at $8 for adults and $5 for youth ages 12 and younger. Group tickets are available at a discounted rate of $4 for groups of 15 or more with an advance sale. Admission is free of charge to any student from all four participating institutions with a valid student ID. Tickets can be purchased by calling 1-800-NITTANY or at the door on gameday.