Men's Volleyball Set For Season Two
2019 Men's Volleyball Release No. 1
Year one of Big West men’s volleyball could not have been more successful. Long Beach State completed its terrific 2018 run with a second national championship – the program’s first in 27 years – and became the Big West’s 18th team champion in any sport. The Beach finished the campaign 28-1, won the inaugural Big West regular season and tournament titles, and was a perfect 12-0 at home. ALAN KNIPE became just the fourth individual in men’s volleyball history to win a national title as both a player and a coach. He was a starting middle blocker on LBSU’s 1991 championship squad.
Long Beach State Predicted To Win League Title
The six Big West head coaches unanimously selected Long Beach State to repeat as conference regular season champion according to their preseason poll. The Beach earned all six first-place votes and 36 points. Hawai‘i collected 28 points for second place and UC Irvine finished third with 26 points. UC Santa Barbara (16 points), CSUN (11) and UC San Diego (9) rounded out the poll.
Five Big West Squads In AVCA Preseason Top 11
Five Big West schools comprised the top 11 spots in the American Volleyball Coaches Association preseason poll, led by reigning national champion Long Beach State at No. 1. Hawai‘i, the Big West Tournament runner-up in 2018, came in at No. 3 in the poll and UC Irvine followed at No. 4. UC Santa Barbara (No. 10) and CSUN (No. 11) also were represented.
Big West Floods Preseason All-American Team
The Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Preseason All-American Teams were announced, and the Big West dominated the 21-player list. A conference-best 10 players represented the Big West, including five on the First Team. Long Beach State had five of those selection, including 2018 AVCA National Player of the Year JOSH TUANIGA and 2017 AVCA National Player of the Year TJ DeFALCO.
Setter: Josh Tuaniga, Long Beach State
Outside Hitter: TJ DeFalco, Long Beach State
Opposite: Kyle Ensing, Long Beach State
Outside Hitter: Stijn van Tilburg, Hawai‘i
Middle Blocker: Scott Stadick, UC Irvine
Setter: Joe Worsley, Hawai‘i
Opposite: Karl Apfelbach, UC Irvine
Outside Hitter: Joel Schneidmiller, UC Irvine
Middle Blocker: Nick Amado, Long Beach State
Libero: Jordan Molina, Long Beach State
Long Beach State To Host Final Four
Long Beach State’s quest to repeat as national champion in 2019 will run straight through the Walter Pyramid, the home court of the Beach. The program has won 29 straight contests in the ‘Mid dating back to April 16, 2016. The school record is 37.
Off The Block Releases Award Watch Lists
Off the Block released its preseason watch lists for a number of awards it bestows based on top regular season performances. In 2018, the Big West was well represented on the OTB honor roll as Long Beach State’s TJ DeFALCO (Karch Kiraly Award – Nation’s Top Outside Attacker), JOSH TUANIGA (Lloy Ball Award – Nation’s Top Setter) and KYLE ENSING (Bryan Ivie Award – Nation’s Top Opposite) were rewarded. In addition, UC Irvine’s SCOTT STADICK (OTB/Springbak National Blocker of the Year) was the recipient of a prestigious honor.
The Big West list of candidates for the 2019 OTB awards is extensive.
LLOY BALL AWARD WATCH LIST – BEST SETTER
Dante Chakravorti, UC Irvine
Josh Tuaniga, Long Beach State
Joe Worsley, Hawai‘i
BRYAN IVIE AWARD WATCH LIST – BEST OPPOSITE
Karl Apfelbach, UC Irvine
Kyle Ensing, Long Beach State
Rado Parapunov, Hawai‘i
Keenan Sanders, UC Santa Barbara
KARCH KIRALY AWARD WATCH LIST – BEST OUTSIDE
Corey Chavers, UC Santa Barbara
TJ DeFalco, Long Beach State
Dimitar Kalchev, CSUN
Aaron Koubi, UC Irvine
Joel Schneidmiller, UC Irvine
Stijn van Tilburg, Hawai‘i
RYAN MILLER AWARD WATCH LIST – BEST MIDDLE
Nick Amado, Long Beach State
Simon Andersen, Long Beach State
Connor Drake, UC Santa Barbara
Patrick Gasman, Hawai‘i
Dalton Solbrig, Hawai‘i
Scott Stadick, UC Irvine
Austin Wilmot, UC Irvine
ERIK SHOJI AWARD WATCH LIST – BEST LIBERO
Emmett Enriques, CSUN
Ryan Lew, UC San Diego
Jordan Molina, Long Beach State
David Parker, UC Irvine
Gage Worsley, Hawai‘i
Grady Yould, UC Santa Barbara
UC Irvine Preps For Another NCAA Run
UC Irvine topped off a 21-10 season with the program’s seventh NCAA Tournament appearance – third in the last six years – ending in a disappointing five-set defeat to Ohio State in the opening round. The Anteaters recorded their third 20 win season in four years and earned an NCAA at-large bid after winning 12 matches against opponents ranked in the AVCA top 15. The ‘Eaters return four AVCA All-Americans in SCOTT STADICK, KARL APFELBACH, AARON KOUBI and JOEL SCHNEIDMILLER.
Hawaii’s Mission: Complete Unfinished Business
Hawai‘i missed out on one of the two highly coveted NCAA Tournament at-large bids last year despite finishing second in a loaded Big West and 19-8 overall. The ‘Bows also were the nation’s only team to post wins over both No. 1 Long Beach State and No. 2 UCLA. UH reached the finals of the Big West Tournament before falling to LBSU at Walter Pyramid. UH is the host of this year’s Big West Tournament, and hope to earn the conference’s automatic berth by winning the three-day event in Honolulu. The team returns four All-Americans – STIJN van TILBURG, JOE WORSLEY, PATRICK GASMAN and RADO PARAPUNOV.