Off the Block unveils NCAA Tournament All-Decade Team

Photo by Fabiana Huffaker

The final men’s volleyball NCAA Tournament for the decade is complete and the best from the event during the last 10 years are earning national accolades.

Off the Block announced on Wednesday the 15 players and head coach selected to the Off the Block NCAA Tournament All-Decade Team.

This All-Decade Team recognizes the best performances in the Division I-II men’s volleyball NCAA Tournament since 2010. In addition, only the results since the 2010 season were considered for players whose careers included NCAA Tournament appearances in the previous decade.

Off the Block determined the recipients of the NCAA Tournament All-Decade 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.

Both Loyola and Long Beach State — two teams that won back-to-back NCAA championships during the decade — led all schools with three players selected to the team. Ohio State had two players make the team along with coach Pete Hanson who guided the Buckeyes to national titles in 2011, 2016 and 2017.

Along with these schools, UC Irvine and BYU had multiple representatives on the All-Decade Team. Lewis, Penn State and Stanford each also had one player garnering the honor.

This All-Decade Team is part of several decade honors that Off the Block will be unveiling throughout the rest of 2019. Off the Block is the only volleyball organization currently slated to present All-Decade honors for college men’s volleyball.

Off the Block NCAA Tournament All-Decade Team

Setter: Chris Austin, UC Irvine
Setter: Josh Tuaniga, Long Beach State
Opposite: Kyle Ensing, Long Beach State
Opposite: Geoff Powell, Lewis
Opposite: Shawn Sangrey, Ohio State
Outside attacker: Cody Caldwell, Loyola
Outside attacker: TJ DeFalco, Long Beach State
Outside attacker: Thomas Jaeschke, Loyola
Outside attacker: Brad Lawson, Stanford
Outside attacker: Brenden Sander, BYU
Outside attacker: Taylor Sander, BYU
Outside attacker: Nicolas Szerszen, Ohio State
Middle attacker: Scott Kevorken, UC Irvine
Middle attacker: Nicholas Olson, Loyola
Libero: Connor Curry, Penn State
Head coach: Pete Hanson, Ohio State

Chris Austin, UC Irvine
NCAA Tournament appearances:
2012, 2013
NCAA Tournament championships: 2012, 2013
NCAA Tournament honors: 2012 All-Tournament Team; 2013 All-Tournament Team
Austin set the NCAA Tournament 25-point rally scoring era with a 13.14 assists per game average in 2012 and then broke that record the following year averaging 13.67 assists per game. The setter also guided UC Irvine to a NCAA Tournament record .435 attack percentage in 2013 and a .355 attack percentage in the 2012 tournament as the school won back-to-back national titles. Along with his offensive performance, Austin still holds the NCAA Tournament record for digs in a three-game match. Austin had a match-high 15 digs in the team’s 2013 NCAA Tournament finals sweep against USC.

Cody Caldwell, Loyola
NCAA Tournament appearances:
2013, 2014, 2015
NCAA Tournament championships: 2014, 2015
NCAA Tournament honors: 2014 Most Outstanding Player; 2014 All-Tournament Team; 2015 All-Tournament Team
Caldwell had double-digit kills in four NCAA Tournament matches during his career, including a match-high 20 kills on a .562 attack percentage as Loyola beat Stanford to win the 2014 national championship. The outside attacker also had double-digit digs in three matches. In his final college match, Caldwell had 10 digs to help Loyola defeat Lewis and win back-to-back titles.

Connor Curry, Penn State
NCAA Tournament appearances:
2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
NCAA Tournament championships: None
NCAA Tournament honors: None
Curry had more than 10 digs in three NCAA Tournament matches during his career, including a match-high 14 digs in a victory against Lewis in the 2014 play-in match. The libero concluded that NCAA Tournament with a 3.11 digs per game average — the second-best average in a NCAA Tournament during the 25-point rally scoring era. Curry the following year also had a match-high nine digs in a four-game victory against Hawai’i in the play-in match.

TJ DeFalco, Long Beach State
NCAA Tournament appearances:
2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
NCAA Tournament championships: 2018, 2019
NCAA Tournament honors: 2016 All-Tournament Team, 2018 All-Tournament Team, 2019 Most Outstanding Player, 2019 All-Tournament Team
DeFalco finished his college career with 120 kills in seven NCAA Tournament matches as he helped lead Long Beach State to back-to-back championships. The four-time All-American had double-digit kills in each of his NCAA Tournament matches and hit more than .400 in four of those matches, including a match-high 20 kills on a .516 attack percentage in the 2019 finals. He also had 18 kills while hitting .419 and added 12 digs in a five-game victory versus UCLA to win the 2018 NCAA championship.

Kyle Ensing, Long Beach State
NCAA Tournament appearances:
2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
NCAA Tournament championships: 2018, 2019
NCAA Tournament honors: 2018 All-Tournament Team, 2019 All-Tournament Team
Ensing had double-digit kills in six of seven NCAA Tournament matches during his career. The All-American had back-to-back 20-kill performances in the 2018 semifinals and finals and hit more than .350 in both of those matches as he helped lead Long Beach State to the NCAA championship. In the finals a year later, Ensing had 13 kills on a .333 attack percentage as Long Beach State defeated Hawai’i. He also set a NCAA Tournament 25-point rally scoring era record in a four-game match with six aces against Pepperdine in the 2019 semifinals.

Pete Hanson, Ohio State
NCAA Tournament appearances:
2010, 2011, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
NCAA Tournament championships: 2011, 2016, 2017
Hasnon guided the Buckeyes to three NCAA championships — the most titles for any school this decade. Ohio State topped off this run by sweeping on its home court both Hawai’i and BYU to win the 2017 title and repeat as national champions. Ohio State under Hanson also became the first non-West Coast program to win three NCAA championships.

Thomas Jaeschke, Loyola
NCAA Tournament appearances:
2013, 2014, 2015
NCAA Tournament championships: 2014, 2015
NCAA Tournament honors: 2014 All-Tournament Team, 2015 All-Tournament Team
Jaeschke finished with at least 20 kills in two NCAA Tournament matches, including a match-high 24 kills on a .474 attack percentage in the 2014 semifinals victory versus Penn State. The former National Player of the Year hit more than .300 in four of his six career NCAA Tournament matches. He also had at least one ace in all his NCAA Tournament matches and capped off his college career with three aces along with 20 kills as Loyola beat Lewis in the 2015 finals to repeat as NCAA champions.

Scott Kevorken, UC Irvine
NCAA Tournament appearances:
2012, 2013
NCAA Tournament championships: 2012, 2013
NCAA Tournament honors: None
Kevorken set the NCAA Tournament single-match during the 25-point rally scoring era with 12 blocks to help UC Irvine sweep BYU in the 2013 finals and repeat the national championship. The middle attacker also finished the 2013 NCAA Tournament with a combined 12 kills on a .500 attack percentage — the sixth-best attack percentage in a NCAA Tournament during the 25-point rally scoring era. Along with his 2013 performance, Kevorken had a team-high three blocks in a four-game victory against Penn State in the 2012 semifinals.

Brad Lawson, Stanford
NCAA Tournament appearances:
2010
NCAA Tournament championships: 2010
NCAA Tournament honors: 2010 Most Outstanding Player, 2010 All-Tournament Team
Lawson finished with a combined 38 kills on a .559 attack percentage en route to being named the 2010 NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player and helping lead the Cardinal to the national championship. The outside attacker had a match-high 24 kills while hitting .821 and added four aces in a sweep against Penn State in the finals.

Nicolas Olson, Loyola
NCAA Tournament appearances:
2013, 2014, 2015
NCAA Tournament championships: 2014, 2015
NCAA Tournament honors: None
Olson in six career NCAA Tournament matches had a combined 43 kills on a .500 attack percentage. Among his top offense performances included 10 kills while hitting .571 as Lewis beat Loyola in the 2015 finals to repeat as NCAA champions. He also hit .533 in the 2014 NCAA Tournament — the fourth-best attack percentage in the tournament during the 25-point rally scoring era. Along with his defensive performance, Olson set the NCAA Tournament record in 2015 with 20 blocks, including having eight of those blocks coming in the finals.

Geoff Powell, Lewis
NCAA Tournament appearances:
2012, 2014, 2015
NCAA Tournament championships: None
NCAA Tournament honors: 2012 All-Tournament Team, 2015 All-Tournament Team
Powell had double-digit kills in all four NCAA Tournament matches during his college career. Among his top performances included 20 kills along with two aces in a five-game loss to Loyola in the 2015 NCAA Tournament finals. As a freshman, he also led Lewis with both 17 kills on a .355 attack percentage and nine digs in the team’s 2012 NCAA Tournament semifinals.

Brenden Sander, BYU
NCAA Tournament appearances:
2016, 2017, 2018
NCAA Tournament championships: None
NCAA Tournament honors: 2016 All-Tournament Team, 2017 All-Tournament Team
Sander had double-digit kills and at least a .400 attack percentage in each of his first four NCAA Tournament matches as led the Cougars to back-to-back finals appearances. Among his top NCAA Tournament performances included a match-high 15 kills while hitting .619 in an upset victory against Long Beach State in the 2017 semifinals. In addition, Sander’s .542 attack percentage in the 2016 NCAA Tournament remains the best attack percentage for a pin-hitter and the third-best among all players during the 25-point rally scoring era.

Taylor Sander, BYU
NCAA Tournament appearances:
2013, 2014
NCAA Tournament championships: None
NCAA Tournament honors: 2013 All-Tournament Team, 2014 All-Tournament Team
Sander in his final college match finished with 28 kills, the second-most kills in a NCAA Tournament match during the 25-point rally scoring era, as BYU lost to Stanford in the 2014 semifinals. The former National Player of the Year had at least a .300 attack percentage in all three NCAA Tournament matches during his career and had at least 20 kills in two of those matches. He also continues to hold the NCAA Tournament record in the 25-point rally scoring era with a 6.17 kills per game average from the 2013 tournament.

Shawn Sangrey, Ohio State
NCAA Tournament appearances from this decade:
2010, 2011
NCAA Tournament championships: 2011
NCAA Tournament honors: 2011 All-Tournament Team
Sangrey set the NCAA Tournament single-match record during the 25-point rally scoring era with 30 kills as Ohio State defeated UC Santa Barbara in five games to win the 2011 national championship. The opposite had double-digit kills in all three of his NCAA Tournament matches during the decade. He also had at least five blocks in both matches at the 2011 NCAA Tournament.

Nicolas Szerszen, Ohio State
NCAA Tournament appearances:
2016, 2017, 2018
NCAA Tournament championships: 2016, 2017
NCAA Tournament honors: 2016 All-Tournament Team, 2017 Most Outstanding Player, 2017 All-Tournament Team, 2018 All-Tournament Team
Szerszen had double-digit kills in all eight of the NCAA Tournament matches during his career and led the Buckeyes to back-to-back national championships. He also hit at least .400 in his final five NCAA Tournament matches, including 16 kills on a .480 attack percentage in a sweep against BYU in the 2017 finals. In addition, Szerszen the previous year set the all-time NCAA Tournament record with 12 aces en route to the Buckeyes winning the national title. Along with his offensive and serving performances, Szerszen had double-digit digs in three career NCAA Tournament matches. He also set the 25-point rally scoring era record in a four-game match with 16 digs as Ohio State beat George Mason in the 2016 play-in match.

Josh Tuaniga, Long Beach State
NCAA Tournament appearances:
2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
NCAA Tournament championships: 2018, 2019
NCAA Tournament honors: 2018 Most Outstanding Player, 2018 All-Tournament Team, 2019 All-Tournament Team
Tuaniga helped Long Beach State reach four consecutive NCAA Tournaments and guided the offense to more than a .300 attack percentage in five NCAA Tournament matches during that four-year span. In his senior season, Long Beach State hit more than .400 in both of its NCAA Tournament matches and it repeated as national championships. Tuaniga also in the 2018 tournament led the offense to a .332 attack percentage as he was named the Most Outstanding Player and helped the Beach win its first national title in almost 30 years.