Jonathan Bates | Associate Editor
The best UCLA players at their positions during the decade are receiving a college men’s volleyball honor.
Off the Block announced on Wednesday the seven players selected to the UCLA All-Decade Starting Lineup presented by Off the Block.
The All-Decade Starting Lineup recognizes the best players to compete with a team since 2010. Similar to the starting lineup for a match, the All-Decade honor is comprised of a setter, opposite and libero* along with two outside attackers and middle attackers.
The Off the Block staff determined the All-Decade Starting Lineup using a variety of factors including career statistical performance and the team’s overall success when a player was a member of the program.
This is also part of a series from Off the Block to celebrate the end of the decade in college men’s volleyball. Off the Block throughout the rest of 2019 will release an All-Decade Starting Lineup for every NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball team.
UCLA, winners of 19 NCAA championships, made it to the NCAA tournament semifinals in 2016 and to the championship match in 2018.
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.
UCLA All-Decade Starting Lineup presented by Off the Block
Setter: Micah Ma’a
Opposite: Christian Hessenauer
Outside attacker: Gonzalo Quiroga
Outside attacker: Jake Arnitz
Middle attacker: Mitch Stahl
Middle attacker: Daenen Gyimah
Utility: JT Hatch*
Bench: Spencer Rowe
Bench: Robart Page
Bench: Thomas Amberg
*Utility position selected instead of Libero to fully recognize Hatch’s contributions to the program.
Micah Ma’a (2016-19)
Awards and honors: 2016 Off the Block Freshman All-American, 2016 First-Team All-MPSF, 2016 First-Team All-American, 2017 All-MPSF Honorable Mention, 2018 First-Team All-MPSF, 2018 First-Team All-American, 2019 First-Team All-MPSF, 2019 First-Team All-American
Ma’a ranks tops in program history with 208 career aces, second in program history (rally-scoring era) with 3,427 career assists, and fourth in program history (rally-scoring era) with 728 career aces. Ma’a might be ranked tops in program history for assists if he did not spend a significant part of his career in a 6-2 offense, and a good amount of 2019 as an outside hitter. Ma’a owns the top three single-season marks for most aces in a season, including an amazing 67 in 2019.
Opposite: Christian Hessenauer (2015-18)
Awards and honors: 2018 First Team All-MPSF, 2018 All-American Honorable Mention
Sometimes stats and awards don’t show your contributions are to a program. We thought long and hard about putting Rowe and Page who played at opposite for parts of their career, but Hessenauer spent all four years at the position. Hessenauer’s numbers would be higher on UCLA’s all-time records list if UCLA didn’t run a 6-2 offense for a significant part of his career. Hessenauer led the team in kills per game (3.43) during his senior season, while his total of 476.5 points were the eighth-most in school single-season history.
Outside attacker: Gonzalo Quiroga (2011-14)
Awards and honors: 2011 Second-Team All-MPSF, 2012 Second-Team All-MPSF, 2013 First Team All-MPSF, 2013 First-Team All-American, 2014 First-Team All-MPSF, 2014 First-Team All-American
The Argentine ranks third in program history (rally-scoring era) with 1,387 career kills. In fact, both his 2013 and 2014 season ranks in the top-ten in program history for most kills in a season. He also has the record for most aces in a single game with 5.
Outside attacker: Jake Arnitz (2015-18)
Awards and honors: 2015 All-MPSF Freshman Team, 2016 First-Team All-MPSF, 2016 Second-Team All-American, 2017 First-Team All-MPSF, 2017 Second-Team All-American, 2018 First-Team All-MPSF, 2018 All-American Honorable Mention
Arnitz ranks fourth in program history (rally-scoring era) with 1,048 career kills. In 2015, he tied a program record with four consecutive aces in a match versus USC. In 2016, Arnitz recorded double-digit kills in 22 matches, while leading the team in kills in 18 matches. He led the 2017 team with a 3.51 kills per game average.
Middle attacker: Mitch Stahl (2014-17)
Awards and honors: 2014 All-MPSF Honorable Mention, 2016 Second-Team All-MPSF, 2016 Second Team All-American, 2017 First-Team All-MPSF, 2017 All-American Honorable Mention
Stahl ranks third in program history (rally-scoring era) with 345 career blocks. Stahl’s 0.55 ace per game average in 2017 ranks as best in program history for a single season, while his .471 attack percentage in 2016 ranks as fourth-best in program history for a while single season.
Middle attacker: Daenan Gyimah (2017-)
Awards and honors: 2017 Off the Block Freshman All-American, 2017 All-MPSF Honorable Mention, 2018 First-Team All-MPSF, 2018 First-Team All-American, 2019 Ryan Millar Award, 2019 Off the Block Diversity Award, 2019 First-Team All-MPSF, 2019 First-Team All-American
Gyimah ranks eighth in program history (rally-scoring era) with 290 career total blocks, sixth in career block assists (259), and eighth in block solos (31). Gyimah’s 151 total blocks in 2018 ranks second-best in a single season, while his .528 attack percentage ranks as tops in a single season. He also set the program mark for highest attack percentage in a single match (.919) with a 11 kill/0 error/12 attack performance against McKendree in January 2019.
Utility: JT Hatch (2015-18)
Awards and honors: 2015 Second-Team All-MPSF, 2015 All-American Honorable Mention, 2015 Off the Block Freshman of the Year, 2016 All-MPSF Honorable Mention, 2018 Second-Team All-MPSF, 2018 All-American Honorable Mention
Hatch spent most of his career in Westwood as an outside attacker, but he spent a good chunk of his senior season as a libero; he had a season-best 11 digs in the 2018 NCAA championship match. Hatch ranks sixth in program history (rally-scoring era) with 634 career digs.