Off the Block releases watch list for 2017 Karch Kiraly Award

Thirty-three college men’s volleyball outside attacker attackers have been selected to the 2017 watch list for the annual Karch Kiraly Award.

Off the Block unveiled on Monday the preseason watch list for the national award that is presented to the best outside attacker attacker in NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball during the regular season.


Among those on this season’s watch list are seven Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Preseason All-Americans, including the 2016 Karch Kiraly Award recipient Ohio State outside attacker Nicolas Szerszen.

The watch list for the 2017 Karch Kiraly Award was determined by Off the Block using a variety of factors including player performances from previous seasons and projections on standout outside attacker to watch during the upcoming season.

The winner of the Karch Kiraly Award will be selected at the end of the regular season by a nationwide voting committee comprised of coaches and media members. The top-three vote-getters will be named finalists, while the player receiving the most votes will be winner of the Karch Kiraly Award presented by Off the Block.

The Karch Kiraly Award started in 2015 and was named after the former UCLA All-American and U.S. Olympian gold medalist. The naming of the award after a player was done in an effort to honor and incorporate the history of college volleyball into this award

Previous winners of the award are Szerszen and former Penn State outside attacker Aaron Russell.

This is one of five position-based awards presented in college men’s volleyball. Off the Block presents the Lloy Ball Award to the nation’s top setter, the Bryan Ivie Award to the nation’s top opposite, the Ryan Millar Award to the nation’s top middle attacker and the Erik Shoji Award to the nation’s top libero.

These are the only national position-based awards in college men’s volleyball. Several volleyball organizations give out national end-of-year awards such as All-American Teams, but no national award before last year was specific to a position.

Off the Block launched in 2011 and is among the nation’s leaders in college men’s volleyball coverage.

2017 KARCH KIRALY AWARD WATCH LIST
Jake Arnitz, UCLA
Stephen Braswell, St. Francis
Aleksa Brkovic, Barton
Artur Cabral, Coker
Jakub Ciesla, CSUN
Jacob Delson, UC Santa Barbara
TJ DeFalco, Long Beach State
Jake Duckworth, Lindenwood
Jordan Ewert, Stanford
Kupono Fey, Hawai’i
Jabarry Goodridge, NJIT
JT Hatch, UCLA
Andrew Hammer, Concordia-Irvine
Kian Hollevoet, Mount Olive
Dimitar Kalchev, CSUN
Jake Langlois, BYU
Christian Malias, George Mason
Julian Moses, Lewis
Chris Nugent, Penn State
Besongngem Obenda, Alderson Broaddus
Shalev Saada, Grand Canyon
Brenden Sander, BYU
Jeff Sprayberry, King
Brendan Surane, Ball State
John Sobel, Lees-McRae
Nicolas Szerszen, Ohio State
Roberto Perez Vargas, Erskine
Gabriel Vega, Stanford
Casey White, Harvard
David Wieczorek, Pepperdine
Jared Wilcox, McKendree
Jack Wilson, George Mason
Lucas Yoder, USC


KARCH KIRALY AWARD WATCH LIST PLAYER BIOS

Jake Arnitz, UCLA — Arnitz led UCLA and was among the national leaders last season with a 3.31 kills per game average on a .313 attack percentage. The Second-Team All-American also helped the Bruins reach the NCAA Tournament semifinals. In addition, Arnitz was selected as a 2017 Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Preseason All-American.

Stephen Braswell, St. Francis — Braswell was in the top 10 of the EIVA with a 3.15 kills per game average. The First-Team All-EIVA selection also added a 1.60 digs per game average as St. Francis advanced to the EIVA Tournament finals.

Aleksa Brkovic, Barton — Brkovic as a freshman led the nation with a 0.64 aces per game average last season. He also had a 2.49 kills per game average on a .311 attack percentage to help Barton advance to the 2016 Conference Carolinas Tournament finals.

Artur Cabral, Coker — Cabral, the 2015 Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Fan Choice National Player of the Year, finished last season in the nation’s top 50 with a 2.99 kills per game average. He also added 48 aces as Coker ended the season with the nation’s best record among independent teams.

Jakub Ciesla, CSUN — Ciesla ended last season seventh in the MPSF with a 3.24 kills per game average, including have back-to-back matches with at least 25 kills. He also added 19 aces and 112 digs as CSUN narrowly missed the final berth to the MPSF Tournament.

Jacob Delson, UC Santa Barbara — Delson was among the MPSF leaders with a 3.17 kills per game average last season, including having double-digit kills in 15 matches. He also added 100 digs and 46 blocks to help UC Santa Barbara advance to the MPSF Tournament semifinals.

TJ DeFalco, Long Beach State — DeFalco led all freshmen and was in the nation’s top five with a 4.32 kills per game average last season. Along with being an Off the Block/Springbak Freshman All-American and First-Team All-American selection, DeFalco was named the 2016 AVCA Newcomer of the Year as he helped lead Long Beach State to the NCAA Tournament semifinals. In addition, DeFalco was named a 2017 Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Preseason First-Team All-American.

Jake Duckworth, Lindenwood — Duckworth was fifth in the MIVA last season with a 3.34 kills per game average, including having double-digit kills in 14 matches. He also had a 1.50 digs per game average as Lindenwood ended 2016 in ninth place in the MIVA.

Jordan Ewert, Stanford — Ewert had a match-high 18 kills as the U.S. Men’s Junior National Team swept Cuba to win the NORCECA Continental Championship during the summer. As a freshman with the Cardinal last season, he also averaged 1.48 kills per game and 1.16 digs per game to help Stanford finish in fourth place in the MPSF.

Kupono Fey, Hawai’i — Fey had 50 blocks and a 1.38 digs per game average last season. He also was among the team leaders with a 2.61 kills per game average as Hawai’i finished in seventh place in the MPSF.

Jabarry Goodridge, NJIT — Goodridge led the EIVA and was third in the nation last season with a 4.38 kills per game average as the Highlanders finished in fifth place in the EIVA. The 2016 Co-EIVA Player of the Year earlier this month became first NJIT player to earn Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Preseason All-American honors.

JT Hatch, UCLA — Hatch had a 2.76 kills per game average last season, including having double-digit kills in 14 matches. The All-MPSF honorable mention selection also was fourth in the MPSF averaging 0.39 aces per game average as he helped UCLA reach the NCAA Tournament semifinals.

Andrew Hammer, Concordia-Irvine — Hammer ended last season with a team-high 2.62 kills per game average, including double-digit kills against future conference opponents Grand Canyon and Cal Baptist. He also had a 1.28 digs per game average as Concordia-Irvine ended 2016 with the second-best record among independent teams.

Kian Hollevoet, Mount Olive — Hollevoet had a 1.94 kills per game average last season, including having eight matches with double-digit kills. He also helped Mount Olive earn a berth to the 2016 Conference Carolinas Tournament.

Dimitar Kalchev, CSUN — Kalchev was eighth in the nation with a 0.45 aces per game average and in the nation’s top 50 averaging 3.04 kills per game during the 2016 regular season. The outside attacker also was named an Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Freshman All-American and helped CSUN almost earn a berth in the MPSF Tournament.

Jake Langlois, BYU — Langlois last season had a .311 attack percentage and added a 2.99 kills per game average. The Second-Team All-American also helped the Cougars win the MPSF championship and advance to the NCAA Tournament finals. In addition, Langlois was selected as a 2017 Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Preseason Second-Team All-American.

Christian Malias, George Mason — Malias was fourth in the EIVA with 31 aces, while averaging 2.86 kills per game. The all-conference outside attacker also had a 1.74 dig per gamer average as he helped George Mason win its first EIVA championship in almost 30 years.

Julian Moses, Lewis — Moses as a freshman last season was among the MIVA leaders with a 3.00 kills per game average and added a 1.24 digs per game average. He also had double-digit kills in 14 matches, including at least 10 kills in the last seven matches of the season, to help Lewis reach the MIVA Tournament semifinals.

Chris Nugent, Penn State — Nugent finished last season int he nation’s top 15 with a 3.84 kills per game average and had a .309 attack percentage. The 2016 Co-EIVA Player of the Year also helped the Nittany Lions win the conference regular season championship. In addition, Nugent was named a 2017 Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Preseason All-American.

Besongngem Obenda, Alderson Broaddus — Obenda ended last season in the nation’s top 25 with a 3.59 kills per game average and had double-digit kills in 12 matches. He also added 19 aces as Alderson Broaddus finished with the third-best record among independent teams.

Shalev Saada, Grand Canyon — Saada finished last season eighth in the MIVA with a 3.19 kills per game average and was named to the First-Team All-MIVA. The 2017 Preseason All-MIVA selection also was in the conference’s top 10 with 33 aces and added 100 digs as Grand Canyon ended 2016 in fifth place in the MIVA.

Brenden Sander, BYU — Sander was in the nation’s top 10 last season with a .395 attack percentage and was among the national leaders with a 3.19 kills per game average. He also earned First-Team All-American honors as he helped the Cougars win the MPSF and advance to the NCAA Tournament finals. In addition, Sander earned 2017 Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Preseason First-Team All-American honors.

Jeff Sprayberry, King — Sprayberry was in the nation’s top 20 with a 3.65 kills per game average and was eighth in the Conference Carolinas with 201 digs. The all-conference outside attacker also had 53 blocks as he helped King reach the Conference Carolinas Tournament quarterfinals.

Brendan Surane, Ball State — Surane was among the MIVA leaders in 2016 with a 3.09 kills per game average. The 2017 Preseason All-MIVA selection also had 100 digs and 65 blocks to help Ball State finish last season tied for second place.

John Sobel, Lees-McRae — Sobel was in the nation’s top 25 and in the Conference Carolinas top 10 with a 3.51 kills per game average last season. He also added 26 aces as Lees-McRae finished in 10th place in the Conference Carolinas.

Nicolas Szerszen, Ohio State — Szerszen ended last season in the nation’s top 15 with both a 4.31 kills per game average and a .390 attack percentage, while also being second in the nation with 63 aces. In addition, Szerszen won the AVCA National Player of the Year, the Karch Kiraly Award for the nation’s top outside attacker and the MIVA Player of the Year as he led Ohio State to its second national championship in program history. He also was a 2017 Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Preseason First-Team All-American.

Roberto Perez Vargas, Erskine — Despite missing the first month of the 2016 season, Vargas finished third in the Conference Carolinas with a 4.06 kills per game average and had double-digit kills in 20 matches. The all-conference outside attacker also had a .319 attack percentage as he helped Erskine win the Conference Carolinas championship.

Gabriel Vega, Stanford — Vega was second on Stanford with a 2.87 kills per game average. He also added 64 blocks and a 1.52 digs per game average as the Cardinal finished in fourth place in the MPSF.

Casey White, Harvard — White was in the EIVA’s top 20 with both a 2.13 digs per game average and a 2.36 kills per game average. The all-conference outside attacker also hit .296 as he helped Harvard qualify for the four-team EIVA Tournament.

David Wieczorek, Pepperdine — Wieczorek, the 2016 Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Fan Choice National Player of the Year, ended the regular season in the nation’s top 20 with a .337 attack percentage and had a 2.86 kills per game average. The All-MPSF selection also was among the conference leaders with a 0.36 aces per game average and helped the Waves earn a berth to the MPSF Tournament.

Jared Wilcox, McKendree — Wilcox was among the MIVA leaders last season averaging 2.60 kills per game, including having 12 matches with double-digit kills. He also had a 1.21 digs per game average to help McKendree advance to the MIVA Tournament semifinals.

Jack Wilson, George Mason — Wilson ended last season fifth in the EIVA with a 3.66 kills per game average, including 22 kills on a .417 attack percentage in George Mason’s victory versus St. Francis in the EIVA Tournament finals. He also had at least 20 kills in seven matches and a team-high 18 kills as the team lost to Ohio State in the 2016 NCAA Tournament play-in match.

Lucas Yoder, USC — Yoder was in the top 10 of the MPSF with a 3.31 kills per game average last season. He also was named an All-MPSF honorable mention as USC ended the season in 11th place in the MPSF.