Long Beach outside DeFalco named 2017 National Player of Year

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The collection of national honors for Long Beach State outside attacker TJ DeFalco has now culminated with the top award in college men’s volleyball.

The AVCA announced Wednesday at the NCAA Tournament banquet that DeFalco was selected as the 2017 AVCA National Player of the Year.

DeFalco is in the nation’s top 10 with both a 3.99 kills per game and a .394 attack percentage. The sophomore also had double-digit kills in all but two matches as he led the MPSF champion 49ers reach the NCAA Tournament semifinals for the second straight year.

Along with National Player of the Year, DeFalco was the recipient of the 2017 Karch Kiraly Award as the nation’s top outside attacker, the 2017 MPSF Player of the Year and a First-Team All-American selection.

This is the second consecutive year that a sophomore has been named the National Player of the Year. Ohio State All-American outside attacker Nicolas Szerszen was the recipient of the nation’s top honor last season.

DeFalco is the fourth Long Beach State player to win the National Player of the Year and the third to accomplish the feat in the last 10 years. Outside attacker Paul Lotman was the Co-National Player of the Year in 2008, while outside attacker Taylor Crabb was the 2013 recipient.

The No. 2 seed Long Beach State will play the No. 3 seed BYU in the NCAA Tournament semifinals on Thursday.