Off the Block releases watch list for 2019 Karch Kiraly Award

Photo courtesy of Long Beach State athletics.

Twenty-six college men’s volleyball outside attackers have been selected to the 2019 watch list for the annual Karch Kiraly Award.

Off the Block announced on Saturday 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.

TJ DeFalco, the two-time defending recipient of the Karch Kiraly Award highlights the players receiving this preseason honor. The All-American outside attacker in 2018 led Long Beach State to the national championship and then in the offseason helped the United States win a bronze medal at the FIVB Volleyball Nations League.

Along with DeFalco, the preseason watch list features four more Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Preseason All-Americans — UC Irvine’s Joel Schneidmiller, Lewis’ Ryan Coenen, Hawai’i’s Stijn van Tilburg and Pepperdine’s David Wieczorek

The Karch Kiraly Award watch list 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, former Ohio State outside attacker Szerszen and DeFalco.

DeFalco already is the only two-time winner of this award and has a chance this season to extend his record by becoming the first three-time winner.

The Karch Kiraly 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 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 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 Karch Kiraly Award watch list

Kyle Barnes, George Mason
Raymond Barsemian, Concordia-Irvine
Robert Bowling, Lees-McRae
Corey Chavers, UC Santa Barbara
Ryan Coenen, Lewis
TJ DeFalco, Long Beach State
Parker Dixon, Princeton
Jordan Ewert, Stanford
Michael Fisher, St. Francis
Jackson Gilbert, North Greenville
Dimitar Kalchev, CSUN
Aaron Koubi, UC Irvine
Hendrik Falck Lauten, Penn State
Collin Mahan, Loyola
Vasilis Mandilaris, Barton
Liam Maxwell, Belmont Abbey
Matthew McLaren, Penn State
Dylan Missry, UCLA
Brad Monaghan, Mount Olive
Joel Schneidmiller, UC Irvine
Max Senica, Charleston
Matt Szews, Ball State
Stijn van Tilburg, Hawai’i
Pelegrin Vargas, Purdue Fort Wayne
David Wiezcorek, Pepperdine
Jack Wyett, USC

Watch list player bios

Compiled by Off the Block editor Vinnie Lopes and Off the Block special contributor Brendan Yu

Kyle Barnes, George Mason
Barnes earned First-Team All-EIVA honors last season as he finished among the conference leaders averaging 2.40 kills per game. He also helped the Patriots win the EIVA regular season championship for the first time during the rally scoring era.

Raymond Barsemian, Concordia-Irvine
Barsemian led the Eagles with 362 kills and 33 aces while also adding 80 blocks and 134 digs. The Second-Team All-MPSF selection last season led the Eagles to a five-game upset against No. 2 BYU with 18 kills on a .432 clip, seven digs and two aces.

Robert Bowling, Lees-McRae
Bowling as a freshman last season had a team-high 24 aces. He also had double-digit kills in four matches, including 14 kills in a near upset of Mount Olive.

Corey Chavers, UC Santa Barbara
A First-Team All-Big West selection, Chavers recorded a career-high 3.41 kills per game average and had a .225 hitting percentage with the Gauchos last season.

Ryan Coenen, Lewis
Coenen led the Flyers with 349 kills and recorded a 3.79 kills per game average. The Second-Team All-American and First-Team All-MIVA selection also averaged 4.05 kills per game against ranked teams.

TJ DeFalco, Long Beach State
The winner of the 018 Karch Kiraly Award, DeFalco earned First-Team All-American honors for the third year in a row, becoming just the second player in program history to do. The 2018 Big West Player of the Year also led the 49ers with 366 kills while hitting for .377, good for 12th-best in the nation. DeFalco led the Big West with 53 aces while averaging 0.53 aces per game, which put him among the top five in the nation.

Parker Dixon, Princeton
Dixon was among the EIVA leaders with a 2.46 kills per game average last season. He also had two matches with at least 20 kills and helped the Tigers advance to the 2018 EIVA Tournament finals.

Jordan Ewert, Stanford
Ewert saw limited action in 2018, appearing in only 31 sets for the Cardinal and averaging 2.77 kills per game. An All-MPSF Honorable Mention selection back in 2017, the potential for Ewert to make an impact is there should he remain healthy.

Michael Fisher, St. Francis
Fisher, a 2017 Freshman All-American, returns to the court after missing the 2018 season. In his freshman season, Fisher was second in the EIVA with a 3.53 kills per game average and added a 1.18 digs per game average.

Jackson Gilbert, North Greenville
Gilbert in his first season at North Greenville after transferring from Coker ended 2018 leading the Crusaders with a 2.56 kills per game average. The Third-Team All-ConfCarolinas selection also a team-high 30 aces.

Dimitar Kalchev, CSUN
Kalchev finished second on the team with 270 kills while hitting at a .269 clip. The 2018 First-Team All-Big West selection finished ninth best in the nation with an average of .49 aces per game.

Aaron Koubi, UC Irvine
Koubi, an All-American Honorable Mention honoree and First-Team All-Big West selection, averaged 2.7 kills per game, finishing on the Anteaters only behind Karl Apfelbach’s 3.76 average. Koubie also was seventh amongst all Big West players with a .322 hitting percentage.

Hendrik Falck Lauten, Penn State
Lauten redshirted last season after transfer to Penn State from Warner, where he earned NAIA All-American Honorable Mention honors. He also has been a member of the Norwegian Men’s National Team for the last three years.

Collin Mahan, Loyola
Mahan finished in the nation’s top 30 in with 3.40 kills per game average and a .308 hitting percentage. The First-Team All-MIVA section and the 2019 Preseason MIVA Player of the Year recorded double digit kills in 26 of 30 matches played. He also was named to the MIVA All-Tournament Team.

Vasilis Mandilaris, Barton
Mandilaris finished last season among the ConfCarolinas leaders averaging both 2.54 kills per game and 1.7.0 digs per game. The Second-Team All-ConfCarolinas selection also had a combined 29 kills in the conference tournament as Barton advanced to the finals.

Liam Maxwell, Belmont Abbey
Maxwell led the ConfCarolinas and was third in the nation with a 4.32 kills per game average last season. He also had career highs with 169 digs and 42 aces as he earned First-Team All-ConfCarolinas honors.

Matthew McLaren, Penn State
McLaren in his first season in the starting lineup was among the conference leaders with a 2.59 kills per game average and a 1.36 digs per game average. He also earned First-Team All-EIVA honors in 2018 as he helped Penn State qualify for the EIVA tournament.

Dylan Missry, UCLA
Missry tallied a career-high 261 kills in his junior year on a .294 hitting percentage for the Bruins last season. The Second-Team All-MPSF selection recorded a career-high six aces in the NCAA Tournament finals against Long Beach State.

Brad Monaghan, Mount Olive
Monaghan ended last season with 2.31 kills per game — the highest average for Mount Olive returning starter. He also had a 1.11 digs per game average as he helped the Trojans advance to the 2018 ConfCarolinas Tournament semifinals.

Joel Schneidmiller, UC Irvine
Schneidmiller, the Big West Freshman of the Year, led all freshmen in the conference with a 2.61 kills per game average. The Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Freshman All-American also finished top 20 in the nation with a .338 hitting percentage.

Max Senica, Charleston
Senica was in the top 15 of the EIVA with a 2.45 kills per game average and 1.70 digs per game average. He also spent the offseason as the captain of the Australian Men’s Junior National Team and led the country to the quarterfinals of the U20 Asian Championship.

Matt Szews, Ball State
A former Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Freshman All-American, Szews averaged 2.78 kills per game and 278 kills for the Cardinals in his sophomore campaign.

Stijn van Tilburg, Hawai’i
Despite moving from opposite to outside, the First-Team All-Big West selection has continued to be a dominant force for the Rainbow Warriors as he tallied a 3.93 kills per game average, sixth best in the nation, on a .328 hitting percentage. Tilburg garnered First-Team All-American honors for the second consecutive year and also ranked 15th nationally by averaging 4.36 points per game.

Pelegrin Vargas, Purdue Fort Wayne
Vargas led the MIVA with a 3.75 kills per game average, which ranked him among the nation’s top 15. An All America Honorable Mention and First-team All-MIVA selection, Vargas recorded 24 kills against No. 6 Loyola and No. 11 Ball State last season.

David Wiezcorek, Pepperdine
Wiezcorek led the Waves with a 4.00 kills per game average and 42 aces en route to MPSF Player of the Year honors — becoming the seventh player in program history to do so. The Second-Team All-American selection and Off the Block/Sprinbak, Inc. Fan Choice National Player of the Year landed finished among the nation’s top 20 with a .349 hitting percentage.

Jack Wyett, USC
After a two-year absence, Wyett wasted no time in making his presence felt on the team. The redshirt junior led the Trojans offensive and defensive efforts with 403 kills and 151 digs. Wyett earned First-Team All-MPSF honors and finished in nation’s top 10 with a .377 hitting percentage. In the MPSF Tournament quarterfinals, Wyett led the Trojans to an upset against No. 5 Pepperdine with a match-high 20 kills while hitting .459.