Off the Block releases watch list for 2019 Bryan Ivie Award

Photo courtesy of Long Beach State athletics.

Eighteen college men’s volleyball opposites have been selected to the 2019 preseason watch list for the annual Bryan Ivie Award.

Off the Block unveiled on Friday the watch list for the national award that is presented to the best opposite in NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball during the regular season.

The defending Bryan Ivie Award winner Kyle Ensing highlights the players receiving this preseason honor. The Long Beach State opposite also is one of six Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Preseason All-Americans to make the watch list.

The Bryan Ivie Award watch list was determined by Off the Block using a variety of factors including player performances from previous seasons and projections on standout opposites to watch during the upcoming season.

The winner of the Bryan Ivie 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 Bryan Ivie Award presented by Off the Block.

The Bryan Ivie Award started in 2015 and was named after the former USC All-American and former member of the U.S. Men’s National Team. 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

The previous winner of the Bryan Ivie Award is former Pepperdine opposite Parker Kalmbach; former BYU opposite Ben Patch; current Hawai’i outside attacker Stijn van Tilburg, who switch positions after winning the award in 2017; and Ensing.

Ensing also has a chance this season to become the first repeat winner of the Bryan Ivie Award.

The Bryan Ivie Award 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 Karch Kiraly Award to the nation’s top outside attacker, 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 with the start of the Lloy Ball Award was specific to a position.

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

2019 Bryan Ivie Award watch list

Karl Apfelbach, UC Irvine
Francisco Salinger Cenzual, Limestone
Evan Cory, Lincoln Memorial
Kyle Ensing, Long Beach State
Gabi Garcia Fernandez, BYU
Alvaro Gimeno, NJIT
Jake Hanes, Ohio State
George Huhmann, Princeton
Jaylen Jasper, Stanford
Angelos Mandalaris, Barton
Calvin Mende, Penn State
Ryan Moss, USC
Rado Parapunov, Hawai’i
Mitch Perinar, Lewis
Keenan Sanders, UC Santa Barbara
Joao Victor Santos, Coker
Hayden Wagner, George Mason
Michael Wexter, Pepperdine

Watch list player bios

Compiled by Off the Block special contributor Brandon Johnson

Karl Apfelbach, UC Irvine
Apfelbach, a 2019 Preseason All-American, finished the 2018 season with a 3.80 kills per game average while hitting a solid .309. He also collected a 1.23 digs per game average as he earned Second-Team All-American and First-Team All-Big West honors as well as finishing fifth in the voting for the Bryan Ivie Award.

Evan Cory, Lincoln Memorial
Cory, runner-up to the 2018 Independent Teams Player of the year, ended last season in the nation’s top 25 with a 3.51 kills per game average. The All-Independent Team selection had career-high 26 kills as Lincoln Memorial defeated Coker in the IVA Tournament finals.

Kyle Ensing, Long Beach State
Ensing took home the Bryan Ivie Award in 2018 after collecting a 3.46 kills per game average with a .357 hitting efficiency and a 1.48 digs per game average. Along with winning the Bryan Ivie Award, he was a First-Team All-American as well as First-Team All-Big West and NCAA All-Tournament selection. He also was named a Preseason First-Team All-American earlier this month.

Gabi Garcia Fernandez, BYU
Fernandez took home the 2018 MPSF Freshman of the Year as he put together a strong first season of collegiate play. The Puerto Rican opposite averaged 3.44 kills per game, 1.32 digs per game and 0.83 blocks per game. The 2019 Preseason All-American was also one of the country’s top servers in 2018, collecting 51 total aces. In addition, Fernandez was named to the Second-Team All-American, Freshman All-American Team and First-Team All-MPSF.

Alvaro Gimeno, NJIT
Gimeno, the 2018 EIVA Newcomer of the Year, ended last season second-best in the conference with a 0.47 aces per game average and sixth in the EIVA averaging 3.29 kills per game. The First-Team All-EIVA selection also spent the offseason playing for the Spanish Men’s Junior National Teams and led all player during the third round of the CEV U20 European Championship with a 4.45 kills per game average.

Jake Hanes, Ohio State
Hanes, a 2019 Preseason All-American, put together a strong redshirt freshman season as he was second in the MIVA with 400 kills and had 49 aces, good for 0.45 aces per set. Among the honors he received last season included making the Freshman All-American Team, Second-Team All-MIVA and NCAA All-Tournament Team.

George Huhmann, Princeton
Huhmann, a 2019 Preseason All-American, was among the EIVA leaders in several offensive categories in 2018, playing a hybrid opposite/middle attacker position. He collected 406 kills (3.69 per game), fired 33 aces and racked up a 1.00 blocks per game average. He picked up AVCA All-American Honorable Mention honors as well as First-Team All-EIVA accolades.

Jaylen Jasper, Stanford
Jasper lived up to high expectations in his rookie campaign, firing 365 kills (4.32 per game) and 24 aces. He also collected 1.34 digs per set as he earned AVCA All-American Honorable Mention acclaim as well as making the Freshman All-American Team and First-Team All-MPSF. In addition, Jasper was named a 2019 Preseason All-American.

Angelos Mandalaris, Barton
Mandalaris carried a heavy workload for the Bulldogs in 2018, leading the team in total kills (393) and kills per game average at 3.97. In addition, he hit .298 for the season and averaged 1.26 digs per set. For his efforts, he was named to the First-Team All-ConfCarolinas and was the ConfCarolinas Offensive Player of the Year.

Calvin Mende, Penn State
Mende put together a strong redshirt sophomore season averaging 3.33 kills per game while hitting for a .314 efficiency. He also collected 48 total blocks as he racked up First-Team All-EIVA honors.

Ryan Moss, USC
Moss had a strong junior year in 2018 as he averaged 2.64 kills per game on a .282 hitting efficiency. He also tallied 1.38 digs per game while collecting 45 total blocks and earned a spot on the All-MPSF Second Team.

Rado Parapunov, Hawai’i
In his first year as a starter, Parapunov finished second on the team in total points with 344. He also fired 23 aces while hitting for solid percentage at .272. He earned an All-American Honorable Mention while being named to the Second-Team All-Big West.

Mitch Perinar, Lewis
Perinar followed up his sophomore season where he was a 2017 All-American Honorable Mention with another strong showing in 2018. He hit .322 for the season while averaging 2.54 kills per game. He also earned a spot on the All-MIVA Second Team.

Keenan Sanders, UC Santa Barbara
Sanders broke through in 2018, averaging 3.52 kills per game and 1.66 digs per game. He finished second on the Gauchos’ roster with 282 total points and was named to the Second-Team All-Big West.

Joao Victor Santos, Coker
Santos, the 2018 Independent Teams Player of the Year, ended last season in the nation’s top 10 averaging both a 3.91 kills per game average and a 0.52 aces per game average. The All-Independent Team opposite also led Coker to the IVA Tournament finals.

Francisco Salinger Cenzual, Limestone
Salinger Cenzual was named ConfCarolinas Freshman of the Year after he accumulated 240 kills (2.82 per game) and 38 aces (0.45 per game). He also contributed 55 total blocks and was named to the Third-Team All-ConfCarolinas.

Hayden Wagner, George Mason
Wagner put together an impressive Sophomore season, averaging 3.48 kills and 4.21 points per game. He also racked up 53 total blocks as he was an All-American Honorable Mention and made the First-Team All-EIVA.

Michael Wexter, Pepperdine
Wexter spent most of 2018 playing as a middle blocker and hit .415 for the season. He is expected to move back to opposite this upcoming season where he excelled in 2017. That year, he averaged 2.53 kills per game and 1.63 digs per game and led the waves in aces with 21.