UCSD opposite Syftestad named Division II National Player of Year

UC San Diego opposite Tanner Syftestad is ending the season with one of the top national awards in college men’s volleyball.

Off the Block announced Wednesday that a nationwide voting committee selected Syftestad as the inaugural recipient of the Flyer Award for the nation’s top NCAA Division II player.

The Flyer Award, which is named in honor of the NCAA Division II powerhouse Lewis University Flyers, is presented to the best player in NCAA Division II men’s volleyball during the regular season. While Division I and Division II schools compete for the same national championship and individual awards, this new honor is the only national player of the year award solely for Division II players.

Syftestad was fifth in the nation with a 4.21 kills per game average — one of six players in the nation, and the only one from a Division II program, to end the regular season averaging more than 4.00 kills per game average. The senior also was in the nation’s top 25 averaging 0.32 aces per game and helped the Tritons climb to No. 2 in the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Division II National Coaches Poll.

Among Syftestad’s top performances of the season included a match-high 26 kills in an upset victory against USC in February to end UC San Diego’s 49-match conference losing streak. Syftestad had seven regular season matches with at least 20 kills.

The voting committee for the Flyer Award was comprised of about 25 college men’s volleyball head coaches and volleyball reporters from around the nation.

The top three vote-getters were named finalists for the Flyer Award.

Syftestad received 33 votes — more votes than the other two finalists combined. Lewis opposite Mitch Perinar was the runner-up with 15 votes, while the other finalist Lewis outside arracker Ryan Coenen earned 11 votes.

The Flyer Award is one of two new national awards that Off the Block will present this season. Off the Block also will debut the International Player of the Year for the top non-U.S. born player in Division I-II men’s volleyball.

Off the Block is a national award winning website that launched in 2011 and is the nation’s leaders in college men’s volleyball coverage.

FLYER AWARD (voting results)
1. Tanner Syftestad, UC San Diego — 33 votes
2. Mitch Perinar, Lewis — 15 votes
3. Ryan Coenen, Lewis — 11 votes
4. Matt Yoshimoto, Lewis — 8 votes
5. Angelos Mandilaris, Barton — 7 votes
T-6. Ryan Anselmo, Concordia-Irvine — 6 votes
T-6. Maalik Walker, McKendree — 6 votes
T-8. Aleksa Brkovic, Barton — 4 votes
T-8. Robert Poole, Mount Olive — 4 votes
T-8. Jeff Sprayberry, King — 4 votes
T-11. Myles Miller, Alderson Broaddus — 3 votes
T-11. Wyatt Patterson, McKendree — 3 votes
T-11. Sam Schindler, Lindenwood — 3 votes
14. Keenan Freitas, Lees-McRae — 2 votes
T-15. Evan Blair, Pfeiffer — 1 vote
T-15. Matthew McManaway, North Greenville — 1 vote
T-15. Joao Victor Santos, Coker — 1 vote
T-15. Jon Wheaton, King — 1 vote