Long Beach State, Pepperdine players make initial U.S. roster for Nations League

Photo courtesy of John Fajardo and Long Beach State athletics

Three current college men’s volleyball All-Americans will be on the U.S. preliminary roster for the biggest international tournament of the year.

USA Volleyball announced Monday that Long Beach State outside attacker TJ DeFalco, Long Beach State opposite Kyle Ensing and Pepperdine outside attacker David Wieczorek were selected to the 26-player U.S. roster for the upcoming FIVB Volleyball Nations League.

Both DeFalco and Ensing join the U.S. squad days after leading Long Beach State to its NCAA championship in 27 years.

DeFalco finished his junior season in the nation’s top 20 with a 3.62 kills per game average and was second among all pin hitters in the country with a .377 attack percentage. The All-American and Big West Player of the Year also was fifth in the nation averaging 0.53 aces per game.

This is the second consecutive year DeFalco will represent the United States in this event, which in previous seasons was called the FIVB World League. DeFalco last summer had 47 kills as he helped the United States reach the FIVB World League Finals.

Ensing was in the nation’s top 20 with both a 3.55 kills per game average and a .355 attack percentage. The 2018 Bryan Ivie Award recipient as the top opposite in college men’s volleyball also had at least 20 kills in back-to-back NCAA Tournament matches.

Wieczorek, the 2018 MPSF Player of the Year, led the conference and was fourth in the country averaging 4.00 kills per game. He also was third in the nation with a 0.57 aces per game average and was named a finalist for the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Server of the Year.

DeFalco and Wieczorek were both named finalists for the Kirch Kiraly Award with DeFalco beating out Wieczorek to win the award presented to the nation’s top outside attacker.

The premilinary roster will be reduced by five to 21 players next week. In addition, the United States can have up to 14 players on its active roster each week of the Nations League.

The six-week tournament will begin May 25 and concluded with the finals in July.

The United States enters the Nations League at No. 2 in the FIVB world rankings.

U.S. preliminary roster for Nations League

Setter: Micah Christenson, USC
Setter: James Shaw, Stanford
Setter: Jonah Seif, UC Santa Barbara
Setter: Kawika Shoji, Stanford
Opposite: Matt Anderson, Penn State
Opposite: Carson Clark, UC Irvine
Opposite: Kyle Ensing, Long Beach State
Opposite: Miles Johnson, Ohio State
Opposite: Ben Patch, BYU
Opposite: David Wieczorek, Pepperdine
Outside attacker: TJ DeFalco, Long Beach State
Outside attacker: Jayson Jablonsky, UC Irvine
Outside attacker: Thomas Jaeschke, Loyola
Outside attacker: Jake Langlois, BYU
Outside attacker: Aaron Russell, Penn State
Outside attacker: Brenden Sander, BYU
Outside attacker: Taylor Sander, BYU
Middle attacker: Taylor Averill, Hawaii
Middle attacker: Max Holt, Penn State
Middle attacker: Jeff Jendryk, Loyola
Middle attacker: Dan McDonnell, UC Irvine
Middle attacker: David Smith, UC Irvine
Middle attacker: Mitch Stahl, UCLA
Libero: Michael Brinkley, UC Irvine
Libero: Erik Shojii, Stanford
Libero: Dustin Watten, Long Beach State