Long Beach State may not be in the NCAA Tournament, but that didn’t stop 49ers outside attacker Taylor Crabb from winning the nation’s top individual honor.
The AVCA announced Wednesday night at its end-of-season awards banquet in Los Angeles that Crabb was selected as the 2013 Men’s Division I-II National Player of the Year.
Crabb finished his junior season third in the nation with a 4.18 kills per game average and was in the nation’s top 10 with a .353 attack percentage. In addition, the First-Team All-American had at least 20 kills in eight matches as he helped led Long Beach State to a second-place finish in the MPSF and the conference championship match.
“I feel so blessed to be a part of this program and University,” Crabb said to longbeachstate.com on Wednesday. “Without my teammates and coaches, and everyone else who supports our team, it wouldn’t be possible for me to win this award. It is a very humbling award and I’m glad that I can share it with Long Beach State.”
Long Beach State, which was projected in the conference’s preseason coaches poll to finish outside of the top five, was narrowly edged out by UC Irvine for the lone at-large bid to the four-team NCAA Tournament.
Crabb is the third 49er to be named the National Player of the Year. Outside attacker Paul Lotman earned the honor in 2008, while Brent Hilliard was Long Beach State’s first recipient in 1992.
This is the first time since 2003 that a player whose team did not reach the NCAA Tournament was still selected as National Player of the Year.
Along with Crabb, Nazareth setter EJ Wells-Spicer was named the Division III National Player of the Year, while Concordia outside attacker Naseri Tumanuvao was selected as the NAIA National Player of the Year.