Field unveiled for 2019 Fan Choice National Player of Year tournament

Photo by Fabiana Huffaker

The bracket has been finalized for the annual Off the Block Fan Choice National Player of the Year tournament.

The Off the Block Fan Choice National Player of the Year recognizes the best individual performances from NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball players during the season and gives volleyball fans from around the world the chance to determine who was the best player.

This annual contest is a bracket-style, six-round tournament pairing the nation’s best players against each other. In addition, the winner for each match-up is determined through online voting on the Off the Block website at

The tournament begins play-in round starting Sunday through Monday and then continues with the first-round matches on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The voting for the first and second rounds will last one day with the online polls closing at 10 p.m. (CST). The voting period will be two days for the regional semifinals and regional finals.

The four players that win the regional championship will advance to the championship round with voting taking place on May 23-25.

An individual will be allowed to vote only one time per hour for each match during the tournament.

Several volleyball organizations give a National Player of the Year award at the end of each season. However, the Fan Choice Player of the Year is the only player of the year award solely determined by the fans.

Off the Block selected and seeded the tournament field using several factors, including a player’s performance during the season, all-conference and All-American honors, level of competition played throughout the season and how the player’s team fared.

Players selected to the tournament were placed into four regions.

Off the Block named each region after some of the top players from this decade in college men’s volleyball. The four regions are the Micah Christenson Region, the Taylor Sander Region, the Nicolas Szerszen Region and the Thomas Jaeschke Region.

This is ninth year of the Fan Choice Player of the Year. Previous winners are Loyola outside attacker Mike Bunting in 2011, Ball State middle attacker Matt Leske in 2012, Fort Wayne outside attacker Eddie Rivera in 2013, the BYU outside attacker Taylor Sander in 2014, Coker opposite Artur Cabral in 2015 and Pepperdine outside attacker David Wieczorek in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Below is a schedule of the tournament and the tournament field.

Tournament schedule

Sunday, May 26 to Monday, May 27: Play-in matches
Tuesday, May 28: First round for Micah Christenson Region and Taylor Sander Region
Wednesday, May 29: First round for Nicolas Szerszen Region and the Thomas Jaeschke Region
Thursday, May 30: Second round for Micah Christenson Region and Taylor Sander Region
Friday, May 31: Second round for Nicolas Szerszen Region and the Thomas Jaeschke Region
Saturday, June 1 to Sunday, June 2: Regional semifinals
Monday, June 3 to Tuesday, June 4: Regional finals
Wednesday, June 5 to Friday, June 7: Championship round
*Polls close at 10 p.m. (CST) for every round

Micah Christenson Region

No. 1 seed Micah Ma’a, UCLA
No. 2 seed Josh Tuaniga, Long Beach State
No. 3 seed Daenan Gyimah, UCLA
No. 4 seed Patrick Gasman, Hawai’i
No. 5 seed George Huhmann, Princeton
No. 6 seed Joel Schneidmiller, UC Irvine
No. 7 seed Jaylen Jasper, Stanford
No. 8 seed Paul Narup, Loyola
No. 9 seed Vasilis Mandilaris, Barton
No. 10 seed Jake Hanes, Ohio State
No. 11 seed Dimitar Kalchev, CSUN
No. 13 seed Matt Szews, Ball State
No. 14 seed Alvaro Gimeno, NJIT
No. 15 seed Oscar Fiorentino, Barton
No. 16 seed Jon Wheaton, King

No. 12 seed play-in match
Karl Apfelbach, UC Irvine
Avery Aylsworth, Loyola
Kyler Persho, Stanford

Taylor Sander region

No. 1 seed TJ DeFalco, Long Beach State
No. 2 seed Stijn van Tilburg, Hawai’i
No. 3 seed Matt Yoshimoto, Lewis
No. 4 seed Corey Chavers, UC Santa Barbara
No. 5 seed Angelos Mandilaris, Barton
No. 6 seed Evan Cory, Lincoln Memorial
No. 7 seed Hayden Wagner, George Mason
No. 8 seed Pedro Carvalho, Lincoln Memorial
No. 9 seed Ryan Moss, USC
No. 10 seed Michael Wexter, Pepperdine
No. 11 seed Ryan Wilcox, UC Santa Barbara
No. 12 seed Michael Simmons, Lewis
No. 14 seed Jason Donorovich, Penn State
No. 15 seed Michael Keegan, Purdue Fort Wayne
No. 16 seed Francisco Comas, McKendree

No. 13 seed play-in match
Kaleb Denmark, Pepperdine
Matt Ctvrtlik, Harvard
Ryan Serrano, McKendree

Nicolas Szerszen Region

No. 1 seed Joe Worsley, Hawai’i
No. 2 seed Kyle Ensing, Long Beach State
No. 3 seed Gage Worsley, Hawai’i
No. 4 seed Jack Wyett, USC
No. 5 seed Ryan Coenen, Lewis
No. 6 seed Hayden Boehle, UC Santa Barbara
No. 7 seed Pelegrin Vargas, Purdue Fort Wayne
No. 8 seed Liam Maxwell, Belmont Abbey
No. 9 seed Robert Mullahey, Pepperdine
No. 10 seed David Parker, UC Irvine
No. 11 seed Wyatt Dimke, McKendree
No. 13 seed Sean Kohlhase, King
No. 14 seed Tobi Azeez, Mount Olive
No. 15 seed Joao Victor Santos, Coker
No. 16 seed Don Thompson, Emmanuel

No. 12 seed play-in match
Kevin Vaz, Pepperdine
Blake Leeson, Ohio State
Jordan Hoppe, Concordia-Irvine

Thomas Jaeschke Region

No. 1 seed David Wieczorek, Pepperdine
No. 2 seed Rado Parapunov, Hawai’i
No. 3 seed Gabi Garcia Fernandez, BYU
No. 4 seed Tyler Mitchem, Lewis
No. 5 seed Collin Mahan, Loyola
No. 6 seed Nick Amado, Long Beach State
No. 7 seed Garrett Zolg, Loyola
No. 8 seed Michael Fisher, St. Francis
No. 9 seed Gianluca Grasso, USC
No. 10 seed Paul Bischoff, Stanford
No. 11 seed Jordan Ewert, Stanford
No. 12 seed Davide Gardini, BYU
No. 14 seed Parker Dixon, Princeton
No. 15 seed Jackson Gilbert, North Greenville
No. 16 seed Will Calaman, George Mason

No. 13 seed play-in match
Cole Udall, Grand Canyon
Connor Hipelius, Lindenwood
Luca Berger, NJIT