Ten Big West Players Selected To Off The Block Preseason All-American Teams
The Big West placed a conference-high 10 men’s volleyball players on the 2019 Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Preseason All-American Teams.
Defending NCAA champion Long Beach State led all schools with five preseason All-Americans – a record number of selections by any school since Off the Block introduced the national award in 2012.
UC Irvine had three players receive All-American recognition, followed by Hawai‘i with two.
Of the 21 players named either first or second team All-American, the Big West led all other conferences by a wide margin with its 10 representatives. The MPSF (6), MIVA (4) and EIVA (1) made up the remainder of the honorees.
Long Beach State’s senior trio of outside hitter TJ DeFALCO, opposite KYLE ENSING and setter JOSH TUANIGA made Off The Block’s first team. DeFalco, the 2017 AVCA National Player of the Year, and Tuaniga, the 2018 AVCA National Player of the Year, were instrumental in leading the Beach to a five-set victory over UCLA in the NCAA Tournament finals for the program’s first national championship in 27 years.
Ensing also played a key role as he contributed 20 kills in both the championship match and the national semifinal against Ohio State.
Hawai‘i senior STIJN van TILBURG and UC Irvine junior SCOTT STADICK also represented the Big West on the first team. van Tilburg earned AVCA First Team All-American honors as a junior after averaging 3.93 kills per set last season. Stadick captured AVCA Second Team All-American accolades in 2018 as the middle blocker set the Anteater single-season record with 30 solo blocks.
Five more Big West players filled out the Off the Block Second Team All-American list. Two additional LBSU seniors were honored in middle blocker NICK AMADO and libero JORDAN MOLINA.
UCI senior opposite KARL APFELBACH and sophomore outside hitter JOEL SCHNEIDMILLER claimed second team distinction, along with Hawai‘i senior setter JOE WORSLEY.
The placement of three Big West schools in the top four of the preseason AVCA poll is reflective of the conference’s prominence in Off the Block’s voting, which featured a 19-member committee comprised of men’s volleyball head coaches and volleyball reporters from around the nation.
LBSU is ranked No. 1, followed by UH at No. 3 and UCI at No. 4 in the preseason poll.
Off the Block/Springbak Preseason First-Team All-Americans
Setter: Josh Tuaniga, Long Beach State
Setter: Micah Ma'a, UCLA
Outside Hitter: TJ DeFalco, Long Beach State
Opposite: Kyle Ensing, Long Beach State
Opposite: Gabi Garcia Fernandez, BYU
Outside Hitter: Ryan Coenen, Lewis
Outside Hitter: Stijn van Tilburg, Hawai‘i
Outside Hitter: David Wieczorek, Pepperdine
Middle Blocker: Daemen Gyimah, UCLA
Middle Blocker: Scott Stadick, UC Irvine
Libero: Michael Simmons, Lewis
Off the Block/Springbak Preseason Second-Team All-Americans
Setter: Joe Worsley, Hawai‘i
Setter: Garrett Zolg, Loyola-Chicago
Opposite: Karl Apfelbach, UC Irvine
Opposite: Jake Hanes, Ohio State
Opposite: George Huhmann, Princeton
Opposite: Jaylen Jasper, Stanford
Outside Hitter: Joel Schneidmiller, UC Irvine
Middle Blocker: Nick Amado, Long Beach State
Middle Blocker: Sam Lewis, USC
Libero: Jordan Molina, Long Beach State