DeFalco wins Player of Year as Long Beach dominates Big West awards

Photo courtesy of Long Beach State athletics.

Make it back-to-back years and in two different conference that Long Beach State outside attacker TJ DeFalco has won the top individual award.

DeFalco on Monday was named the inaugural recipient of the Big West Player of the Year.

The All-American finished the regular season in the conference’s top five with both a 3.66 kills per game average and a .383 attack percentage. In addition, DeFalco had a conference-best 0.50 aces per game average as he helped Long Beach State win the Big West regular season championship and go undefeated until its regular season finale.

DeFalco returned to the 49ers for his junior season after spending the offseason playing with the United States in the FIVB World League. He also was the 2017 MPSF Player of the Year in Long Beach State’s final season in that conference before departing to join the newly formed Big West men’s volleyball conference.

DeFalco was one of four 49ers to earn First-Team All-Big West honors in the conference’s inaugural season. Hawai’i tied Long Beach State for the most First-Team All-Big West selections, while UC Irvine and CSUN each had three players earn the honor.

Along with the 49ers winning the Big West Player of the Year, Long Beach State coach Alan Knipe was named the Big West Coach of the Year.

UC Irvine outside attacker Joel Schneidmiller also was selected as the Big West Freshman of the Year after helping the Anteaters end the regular season in third place in the conference.

2018 Big West individual awards

Big West Player of the Year: TJ DeFalco, Long Beach State
Big West Freshman of the Year: Joel Schneidmiller, UC Irvine
Big West Coach of the Year: Alan Knipe, Long Beach State

First-Team All-Big West

Setter: Josh Tuaniga, Long Beach State
Setter: Joe Worsley, Hawai’i
Opposite: Karl Apfelbach, UC Irvine
Opposite: Kyle Ensing, Long Beach State
Opposite: Arvis Greene, CSUN
Opposite: Tanner Syftestad, UC San Diego
Outside attacker: Corey Chavers, UC Santa Barbara
Outside attacker: TJ DeFalco, Long Beach State
Outside attacker: Dimitar Kalchev, CSUN
Outside attacker: Aaron Koubi, UC Irvine
Outside attacker: Stijn van Tilburg, Hawai’i
Middle attacker: Nick Amado, Long Beach State
Middle attacker: Eric Chance, CSUN
Middle attacker: Patrick Gasman, Hawai’i
Middle attacker: Scott Stadick, UC Irvine
Libero: Larry Tuileta, Hawai’i

All-Big West Honorable Mention

Setter: Dante Chakravorti, UC Irvine
Opposite: Rado Parapunov, Hawai’i
Opposite: Keenan Sanders, UC Santa Barbara
Outside attacker: Bjarne Huus, Long Beach State
Middle attacker: Simon Anderson, Long Beach State
Middle attacker: Josiah Byers, CSUN
Middle attacker: Connor Drake, UC Santa Barbara
Libero: David Parker, UC Irvine

Big West All-Freshman Team

Outside attacker: Wyatt Harrison, UC Santa Barbara
Outside attacker: Maciej Ptaszynski, CSUN
Outside attacker: Joel Schneidmiller, UC Irvine
Middle attacker: Simon Anderson, Long Beach State
Middle attacker: Jack Truman, UC Santa Barbara
Middle attacker: Austin Wilmot, UC Irvine
Defensive/serving specialist: Gage Worsley, Hawai’i