Hawai’i, Long Beach, Pepperdine outsides named finalists for 2019 Karch Kiraly Award

Photo courtesy of Pepperdine athletics and Martin A. Folb

A nationwide voting committee selected Long Beach State outside attacker TJ DeFalco, Hawai’i outside attacker Stijn van Tilburg and Pepperdine outside attacker David Wieczorek as finalists for the annual Karch Kiraly Award.

The Karch Kiraly Award, which is named after the former UCLA All-American and U.S. Olympian, is presented to the nation’s best outside attacker in NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball during the regular season.

Off the Block announced the finalists on Sunday and will unveil the award winner on Friday as part of its College Men’s Volleyball National Awards Presentation.

DeFalco, a two-time winner of the Karch Kiraly Award, is in the nation’s top 25 with both a 3.43 kills per game average and a .386 attack percentage. The U.S. Men’s National Team member had double-digit kills in 19 matches, including 18 kills while hitting .500 in a five-game victory against Hawai’i on April 12. He also is fourth in the nation averaging 0.54 aces per game as he helped lead the defending NCAA champion 49ers to the No. 2 overall seed for the NCAA Tournament.

van Tilburg is in the nation’s the top 10 averaging 3.92 kills per game and has the second-best attack percentage in the country at .473. In addition, van Tilburg had at least a .500 attack percentage in 16 matches. Among his top performances included a season-high 25 kills and zero errors on a .543 attack percentage as Hawai’i beat Long Beach State to win the Big West championship and earn the No. 1 overall seed to the NCAA Tournament.

Wieczorek, the MPSF Player of the Year, is in the nation’s top 15 with both a 3.95 kills per game average and a .383 attack percentage. He also had double-digit kills in all but three matches this season, including a match-high 18 kills on a .571 attack percentage as Pepperdine swept USC in the MPSF Tournament finals. Along with his offensive performance, Wieczorek contributed a career-high 42 aces and 125 digs.

The voting committee for the Karch Kiraly Award was comprised of about 25 college men’s volleyball head coaches and volleyball reporters from around the nation.

The top three vote-getters were named finalists for the Karch Kiraly Award.

This is the fifth year that Off the Block has presented the Karch Kiraly Award. Previous winners of the award include former Penn State All-American outside attacker Aaron Russell in 2015, former Ohio State All-American outside attacker Nicolas Szerszen in 2016 and DeFalco the last two years.

The Karch Kiraly is one of several end of season awards presented by Off the Block. Among the other national awards includes the Lloy Ball Award to the nation’s top setter, the Bryan Ivie Award to the nation’s top opposite, the Erik Shoji Award to the nation’s top libero and the Ryan Millar Award to the nation’s top middle attacker.

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