Long Beach State outside DeFalco wins 2019 National Player of Year

Outside attacker TJ DeFalco is now in even more elite company as he prepares to conclude his college career.

DeFalco was named the AVCA National Player of the Year on Thursday night to become the fourth player to win the top individual honor college men’s volleyball honor multiple times.

The Long Beach State senior is in the nation’s top 25 with both a 3.43 kills per game average and a .386 attack percentage. He also had double-digit kills in 19 matches, including 18 kills while hitting .500 in a five-game victory against then-No. 1/1 Hawai’i on April 12.

Along with his offensive performance, DeFalco is fourth in the nation averaging 0.54 aces per game and helped lead the defending NCAA champion 49ers to the No. 2 overall seed for the NCAA Tournament.

This is the third consecutive year that a 49er won the National Player of the Year. DeFalco first won the award as a sophomore in 2017, and setter Josh Tuaniga won the honor last year.

DeFalco joins UCLA’s Jeff Nygaard, Pepperdine’s George Roumain and Hawai’i’s Costas Theocharidis as the only players to twice win the National Player of the Year. In addition, DeFalco earlier this week became the third player in college men’s volleyball history to be a four-time First-Team All-American.

Long Beach State will continue its attempt to repeat as national champions as it plays host to Pepperdine in the NCAA Tournament semifinals on Thursday.