Finalists unveiled, voting opens for 2019 National Player of Offseason

There still remains one question following all the international tournaments in recent months — what college men’s volleyball player was the best.

Off the Block on Wednesday announced the 13 finalists for the annual Off the Block National Player of the Offseason, and it is now up to the fans to determine the winner.

The National Player of the Offseason recognizes the best individual performance from current NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball player during the offseason at international tournaments and beach volleyball events. The winner of the award is determined through online voting on the Off the Block website with fans casting their votes from the pool of finalists that were selected by Off the Block..

The online poll is now open and closes at 10 p.m. (CST) Saturday.

The two teams from the 2019 NCAA Tournament finals, Long Beach State and Hawai’i, led all schools with two finalists. BYU, Charleston, Lewis, Loyola, Penn State, Princeton, Purdue Fort Wayne, Stanford and UCLA each have one finalist.

This is the only offseason award presented in college men’s volleyball.

It also is one of three college men’s volleyball awards solely determined by the fans. Off the Block also presents the annual Fan Choice National Player of the Year and the National Player of the Month that are both decided via fan voting.

Check out the finalists below for the 2019 National Player of the Offseason. Individuals can vote using the poll below or by visiting offtheblockblog.com/PlayerOfOffseason.

National Player of the Offseason finalists

Simon Andersen, Long Beach State
Tournaments played in this offseason:
CEV European Silver League
Andersen was eighth in the CEV European Silver League with a 0.73 blocks per game average as Denmark finished league play in third place. The middle attacker also was among the Danish leaders with a 1.73 kills per game average.

Mason Briggs, Long Beach State
Tournaments played in this offseason:
FIVB U19 World Championship
Briggs finished second among all players with a 1.64 digs per game average at the FIVB U19 World Championship. The libero also was in the tournament’s top 25 with a 23.68 percent excellent serve reception efficiency as he helped the U.S. Boys’ Youth National Team finish in 15th place.

Colton Cowell, Hawai’i
Tournaments played in this offseason:
Pan American Cup, Pan American Games
Cowell led the United States with 47 kills and was among the tournament’s top 15 best scorers at the Pan American Cup. He also was fourth among all players with a 0.44 aces per game average as the United States concluded the tournament in fifth place. Along with his performance at this event, Cowell led the United States with 16 kills in a tournament-opening loss to Chile at the Pan American Games.

Gabriel Garcia Fernandez, BYU
Tournaments played in this offseason:
NORCECA Champions Cup, Pan American Games
Fernandez was second at the NORCECA Champions Cup with 41 kills, including having a match-high 17 kills as Puerto Rico upset Canada. The opposite also finished in the tournament’s top five with a 43.62 percent offensive efficiency. Fernandez was on the Puerto Rican roster for the Pan American Games and came off the bench to contribute five kills and a team-high two blocks in a loss to Cuba.

George Huhmann, Princeton
Tournaments played in this offseason:
FIVB Volleyball Nations League, FIVB Volleyball Nations League Finals, NORCECA Continetnal Championship, Pan American Cup
Huhmann was the only current college player on the U.S. roster during the team’s silver-medal run at the FIVB Volleyball Nations League Finals and came off the bench to have two kills in pool-play sweep against Russia. In the final three matches of the Volleyball Nations League round-robin stage, Huhmann had a combined 18 kills highlighted by nine kills on 64.29 percent offensive efficiency and two aces in a victory against Serbia. Huhmann also contributed a combined 22 kills and six blocks as the United States finished in fifth place at the Pan American Cup.

Jaylen Jasper, Stanford
Tournaments played in this offseason:
World University Games
Jasper led the United States in kills in three of its four opening-round matches at the World University Games. The All-American opposite had a match-high 17 kills on a 41.38 percent offensive efficiency in a tournament-opening victory against South Korea. He also led all players with 20 kills in a loss to Portugal that eliminated the United States from medal contention.

Alex Knight, UCLA
Tournaments played in this offseason:
FIVB U19 World Championship
Knight led the U.S. Boys’ Youth National Team and was in the top 25 of the FIVB U19 World Championship with both 78 kills and a 45.88 percent offensive efficiency. Among his top performances during the team’s 15th-place finish at the tournament included a match-high 17 kills on 50.00 percent offensive efficiency in a loss to Germany.

Antonio Elias Rodriguez, Lewis
Tournaments played in this offseason:
FIVB U21 World Championship
Rodriguez finished with 10 kills on a 71.43 percent offensive efficiency as the Puerto Rican Men’s Junior National Team lost to Morocco in five games in the 15th-place finals at the FIVB U21 World Championship. This was a rematch of an opening-round match that featured Rodriguez having four blocks in a four-game victory.

Max Senica, Charleston
Tournaments played in this offseason:
Asian Men’s U23 Volleyball Championship
Senica helped Australia make to the Asian Men’s U23 Volleyball Championship quarterfinals for the first time in the nation’s history. The outside attacker finished with a match-high 19 kills in Australia’s season-opening sweep against Sri Lanka. He also followed up that match leading all players with 15 kills in a pool-play victory versus Hong Kong.

Pelegrin Vargas, Purdue Fort Wayne
Tournaments played in this offseason:
Olympic Qualification Tournament, NORCECA Continental Championship, NORCECA Challenge Cup NORCECA Champions Cup, Pan American Games, Pan American Cup
Vargas was a fixture in the starting lineup for the Puerto Rico Men’s National Team in every major international tournament that it competed in this year. The outside attacker was second among all players at the NORECA Challenger Cup with 29 kills, including having 18 kills in a victory against Mexico. In Puerto Rico’s three Olympic Qualification Tournament losses, Vargas had a combined 14 kills on a 46.88 percent offensive efficiency. He also concluded his offseason finishing in the top 15 of the NORCECA Continental Championship with both 41 kills and a 45.05 percent offensive efficiency. Puerto Rico with a fifth-place finish at that tournament clinched a spot to the NORCECA Olympic qualifier in January.

Guilherme Voss, Hawai’i
Tournaments played in this offseason:
FIVB U21 World Championship
Voss concluded the FIVB U21 World Championship with a tournament-best 0.88 blocks per game average and contributed 28 kills on a 65.12 percent offensive efficiency. The middle attacker in the bronze-medal match also had match-high seven blocks along with five kills as Brazil swept Russia.

Brett Wildman, Penn State
Tournaments played in this offseason:
U21 Pan American Cup, World University Games
Brett Wildman led all players at the U21 Pan American Cup with 76 kills and earned the tournament’s Best Scorer award. The outside attacker had both match-high 20 kills and four aces as the U.S. Men’s Junior National Team lost to Chile in the quarterfinals. Wildman also competed with the United States at the World University Games and had a team-high 12 kills in an opening-round victory against China.

Garrett Zolg, Loyola
Tournaments played in this offseason:
NORCECA Champions Cup, World University Games
Zolg was second at the NORCECA Champions Cup with a 3.73 excellent assists per game average and guided the U.S. offense to a .325 attack percentage as the team won the silver medal. He also was second at the tournament averaging 0.45 aces per game. Along with his performance in NORCECA play, Zolg helped the United States at the World University Games earn a third-place finish in its open-round pool and a 16th-place overall finish at the tournament.

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