Off the Block announces 2019 All-European Team

Photo by Fabiana Huffaker

Ten players from European countries have been selected for an annual college men’s volleyball national accolade.

Off the Block announced Friday that players on Barton, BYU, CSUN, Grand Canyon, Hawai’i and Pepperdine were selected to the 2019 Off the Block All-European Team.

The All-European Team recognizes the best NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball players during the season from Europe. The team is comprised of the top 10 players, regardless of position, and is selected by Off the Block.

The All-European Team was created in an effort to celebrate the contributions of European players to college men’s volleyball. Numerous student-athletes from Europe in NCAA men’s volleyball history have earned All-American honors and helped their teams win championships.

This is the second consecutive year that Off the Block has presented the All-European Team.

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

2019 Off the Block All-European Team

Opposite: Angelos Mandilaris, Barton. (Greece)
Opposite: Rado Parapunov, Hawai’i (Bulgaria)
Outside attacker: Davide Gardini, BYU (Italy)
Outside attacker: Dimitar Kalchev, CSUN (Bulgaria)
Outside attacker: Vasilis Mandilaris, Barton (Greece)
Outside attacker: Stijn van Tilburg, Hawai’i (Netherlands)
Middle attacker: Miki Jauhiainen, BYU (Finland)
Middle attacker: Alex Shmelev, Grand Canyon (Russia)
Middle attacker: Kevin Vaz, Pepperdine (France)
Libero: Aleksa Brkovic, Barton, (Serbia)

Aleksa Brkovic, Barton
Brkovic was second in the nation with a 2.65 digs per game average and had double-digit digs in 15 matches, including a season-high 21 digs in a victory against Mount Olive in March. The ConfCarolinas Defensive Player of the Year also helped Barton win the ConfCarolinas championship and reach the NCAA Tournament.

Davide Gardini, BYU
Gardini in his freshman season was among the national leaders with a 3.47 kills per game average and had a .320 attack percentage. The Off the Block Freshman All-American had at least 20 kills in seven matches, including a team-high 23 kills in a road victory versus Stanford in the MPSF Tournament quarterfinals.

Miki Jauhiainen, BYU
Jauhiainen was among the MPSF and national leaders with a 1.00 blocks per game average, including having a season-high nine blocks in an upset victory against UC Irvine in March. He also had a .376 attack percentage and a career-high 18 aces as he helped BYU advance to the MPSF Tournament semifinals.

Dimitar Kalchev, CSUN
Kalchev was among the Big West and national leaders averaging 3.37 kills per game. The finalist for the Off the Block National Server of the Year also was in the nation’s top 10 with a 0.46 aces per game average and had five aces in four of the Matadors’ non-conference matches.

Angelos Mandilaris, Barton
Mandilaris finished second in the nation with a 4.40 kills per game average and was in the nation’s top 20 with a .355 attack percentage. The ConfCarolinas Offensive Player of the Year also had more than 20 kills in five matches, including a season-high 32 kills on a .674 attack percentage in a four-game victory against Belmont Abbey in March.

Vasilis Mandilaris, Barton
Mandilaris was in the nation’s top 30 with both a 3.40 kills per game average and a .341 attack percentage. The all-conference senior also led the ConfCarolians and was seventh in the nation averaging 0.49 aces per game as he helped the Bulldogs win the ConfCarolinas championship and reach the NCAA Tournament.

Rado Parapunov, Hawai’i
Parapunov was in the nation’s top 10 with both a 4.07 kills per game average and a .420 attack percentage, including have three consecutive Big West regular season matches with at least 20 kills. The Bryan Ivie Award winner as the nation’s top opposite also had both a career-high 89 blocks and 43 aces as he helped the Rainbow Warriors reach the NCAA Tournament finals.

Alex Shmelev, Grand Canyon
Shmelev ended his senior season in the nation’s top 20 with a 1.02 blocks per game average highlighted by a season-high eight blocks in an upset victory against Loyola in March. He also had a career-high .324 attack percentage and three matches with double-digit kills.

Stijn van Tilburg, Hawai’i
van Tilburg led all pin-hitters and was second in the nation with a .457 attack percentage, along with being in the nation’s top 15 averaging 3.82 kills per game. He also had double-digit kills in both of the team’s NCAA Tournament matches and a season-high 25 kills and zero errors on a .543 attack percentage in a victory against Long Beach State in the Big West Tournament finals.

Kevin Vaz, Pepperdine
Vaz, who transferred to Pepperdine for his final season of eligibility, was in the nation’s top 15 averaging 1.04 block per game. The middle attacker also had a career-high .352 attack percentage, including hitting .571 and having nine kills in a victory against Princeton in the NCAA Tournament opening round.