Off the Block unveils watch list for 2018 Karch Kiraly Award

Twenty-seven college men’s volleyball outside attacker attackers have been selected to the 2018 watch list for the annual Karch Kiraly Award.

Off the Block unveiled on Wednesday 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 the players on this national watch list are the 2017 Karch Kiraly Award recipient Long Beach State outside attacker TJ DeFalco and the 2016 Karch Kiraly Award recipient Ohio State outside attacker Nicolas Szerszen.

The watch list for the 2018 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 the 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 former Penn State outside attacker Aaron Russell, Szerszen and DeFalco.

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 2014 was specific to a position.

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

2018 Karch Kiraly Award watch list

Aiden Albrecht, Penn State
Jake Arnitz, UCLA
Stephen Braswell, St. Francis
Aleksa Brkovic, Barton
Ryan Coenen, Lewis
TJ DeFalco, Long Beach State
Jordan Ewert, Stanford
Michael Fisher, St. Francis
Gianluca Grasso, USC
Maxime Hervoir, Ohio State
Dimitar Kalchev, CSUN
Aaron Koubi, UC Irvine
Collin Mahan, Loyola
Vasilis Mandilaris, Barton
Liam Maxwell, Belmont Abbey
Dylan Missry, UCLA
Cullen Mosher, Grand Canyon
Josh Riblett, Lincoln Memorial
Brett Rosenmeier, Hawai’i
Bret Rutledge, Mount Olive
Shalev Saada, Grand Canyon
Brenden Sander, BYU
Jeff Sprayberry, King
Nicolas Szerszen, Ohio State
Matt Szews, Ball State
Pelegrín Vargas, Fort Wayne
David Wieczorek, Pepperdine

2018 Karch Kirlay Award watch list player bios

Aiden Albrecht, Penn State
Albrecht ended last season among the EIVA leaders with a 2.68 kills per game average and contributed a 1.22 digs per game average. He also earned Second-Team All-EIVA honors as he helped Penn State win the EIVA championship and advance to the NCAA Tournament play-in match.

Jake Arnitz, UCLA
Arnitz led UCLA and was among the national leaders with a 3.51 kills per game average and had a career-best .386 attack percentage last season. The All-American also helped the Bruins overcome an injury-plagued season to finish in fifth place in the MPSF and reach the conference tournament quarterfinals.

Stephen Braswell, St. Francis
Braswell ended the 2017 season among the conference leaders averaging 2.52 kills per game. The Second-Team All-EIVA selection also had a career-high 36 aces and helped the Red Flash make the EIVA Tournament finals last season.

Aleksander Brkovic, Barton
Brkovic was in the nation’s top 20 with a .342 attack percentage and had a 2.31 kills per game average last season. The First-Team All-ConfCarolinas selection also had a career-high 162 digs as he helped Barton win a conference championship and reach the NCAA Tournament.

Ryan Coenen, Lewis
Coenen, the 2017 AVCA National Newcomer of the Year, ended last season leading Lewis and in the nation’s top 30 with a 3.20 kills per game average. He also earned All-American and Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Freshman All-American Team honors as Lewis finished the regular season in second place in the MIVA.

TJ DeFalco, Long Beach State
DeFalco finished last season in the nation’s top 10 with both a 3.99 kills per game average and a .389 attack percentage. The First-Team All-American also was 2017 recipient of the Karch Kiraly Award and was the 2017 AVCA National Player of the Year as he led Long Beach State to the NCAA Tournament semifinals.

Jordan Ewert, Stanford
Ewert missed the second half of the 2017 season with an injury but still led the Cardinal with both a 3.47 kills per game average and 19 aces. He also was able to recover from his injury in time to play for the United States at the World University Games in August.

Michael Fisher, St. Francis
Fisher led all freshmen and was in the nation’s top 15 with a 3.53 kills per game average, including having double-digit kills in all but one match he started during the regular season. The Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Freshman All-American Team selection also helped St. Francis reach the EIVA Tournament finals.

Gianluca Grasso, USC
Grasso as a junior college transfer joined the Trojans in the middle of the 2017 season and finished the season with a 3.32 kills per game average while hitting .268. He also contributed a 1.68 digs per game average and helped USC qualify for the MPSF Tournament.

Maxime Hervoir, Ohio State
Hervoir was in the nation’s top 30 with a .309 attack percentage and had a 2.44 kills per game average. He also was named to the 2017 NCAA All-Tournament Team as he helped Ohio State win back-to-back NCAA championships.

Dimitar Kalchev, CSUN
Kalchev was a finalist for the 2017 Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Server of the Year and ended the season second in the nation with a 0.63 aces per game average. He also was in the nation’s top 20 with both a 3.44 kills per game average and a .341 attack percentage.

Aaron Koubi, UC Irvine
Koubi after missing the first half of the 2017 season returned to the court and finished second on the Anteaters averaging both 3.05 kills per game and 1.31 digs per game. He also had double-digit kills in nine matches as he helped UC Irvine advance to the MPSF Tournament semifinals.

Collin Mahan, Loyola
Mahan finished last season averaging 2.30 kills per game, including having double-digit kills in five of the Ramblers’ last seven matches. The All-MIVA selection also had a career-high 153 digs and helped Loyola advance to the MIVA Tournament quarterfinals.

Vasilis Mandilaris, Barton
Mandilaris was among the ConfCarolinas leaders and in the nation’s top 30 with both a 3.27 kills per game average and a .327 attack percentage. The All-ConfCarolinas outside attacker also had a career-high 137 digs as he helped Barton win the ConfCarolinas championship and reach the NCAA Tournament play-in match.

Liam Maxwell, Belmont Abbey
Maxwell as a freshman last season was among the ConfCarolinas leaders with a 2.64 kills per game average, including having double-digit kills in 11 matches. He also led Belmont Abbey and was in the conference’s top 10 with 31 aces.

Dylan Missry, UCLA
Missry was among the UCLA leaders with a career-best 2.45 kills per game average on a .293 attack percentage last season. He also was in the nation’s top 20 with a 0.38 aces per game average last season and then spent the offseason playing for the United States in the FIVB U21 World Championship.

Cullen Mosher, Grand Canyon
Mosher ended last season among the Grand Canyon leaders with a 2.33 kills per game average, including having a career-high 27 kills in a conference victory against Fort Wayne in March. The Second-Team All-MIVA selection also added 101 digs and was second on the team with 27 aces.

Josh Riblett, Lincoln Memorial
Riblett in Lincoln Memorial’s inaugural season led the team and was in the nation’s top 50 with a 2.92 kills per game average. The All-IVA selection also finished the season with at least 15 kills in nine matches.

Brett Rosenmeier, Hawai’i
Rosenmeier was third on the Hawai’i with a 2.10 kills per game average last season as he helped the Rainbow Warriors advance to the NCAA Tournament semifinals. In addition, Rosenmeier spent the offseason playing for the United States in the 2017 FIVB U21 World Championship.

Bret Rutledge, Mount Olive
Rutledge finished among the ConfCarolinas leaders and in the nation’s top 50 with a 2.73 kills per game average. The All-ConfCarolinas selection also had a career-high 34 aces as he helped Mount Olive reach the ConfCarolinas Tournament finals.

Shalev Saada, Grand Canyon
Saada was among leaders for Grand Canyon last season with a 2.39 kills per game average and had a career-high 113 digs last season. The former All-MIVA selection during the offseason also played with the Israeli Men’s National Team.

Brenden Sander, BYU
Sander was among the nation’s leaders with a 2.95 kills per game last season, including having double-digit kills and at least a .300 attack percentage in three straight postseason matches. He also helped BYU win a share of the MPSF regular season title and reach its second consecutive NCAA Tournament finals.

Jeff Sprayberry, King
King led the ConfCarolinas and was among the national leaders with a 3.48 kills per game average on a career-best .259 attack percentage last season. The 2017 ConfCarolinas Player of the Year also had a career-high 31 aces and added 149 digs as King won a share of the conference regular season title.

Nicolas Szerszen, Ohio State
Szerszen returns for his senior season after leading Ohio State to back-to-back NCAA championships. The 2016 AVCA National Player of the Year ended last season with a nation-best 75 aces, while also being in the nation’s top 10 with both a .421 attack percentage and a 3.73 kills per game average. Along with winning the national championship, Szerszen was named the 2017 International Player of the Year in college men’s volleyball.

Matt Szews, Ball State
Szews was in the nation’s top 25 last season with a 3.37 kills per game average and had double-digit kills in all but five regular season matches. He also earned Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Freshman All-American Team honors and spent the offseason playing for the United States in the FIVB U21 World Championship.

Pelegrín Vargas, Fort Wayne
Despite missing part of his freshman season with an injury, Vargas ended the 2017 season among the MIVA and national leaders averaging 3.18 kills per game. The Freshman All-MIVA selection also spent his offseason playing with the Puerto Rican Men’s National Team.

David Wieczorek, Pepperdine
Wieczorek finished last season eighth in the nation with a 3.86 kills per game average on a .354 attack percentage. He also repeated as the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Fan Choice National Player of the Year and helped Pepperdine advance to the conference tournament quarterfinals in 2017.