Off the Block unveils Long Beach State All-Decade Starting Lineup

Photo by Fabiana Huffaker

Jonathan Bates and Brandon Johnson

The best Long Beach State 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 Long Beach State 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.

Long Beach State made the NCAA Tournament four times this decade, winning it all in 2018 and 2019.

Long Beach State All-Decade Starting Lineup presented by Off the Block

Setter: Josh Tuaniga
Opposite: Kyle Ensing
Outside Attacker: TJ DeFalco
Outside Attacker: Taylor Crabb
Middle Attacker: Nick Amado
Middle Attacker: Taylor Gregory
Libero: Andrew Sato
Off the Bench: Jordan Molina, Dalton Ammerman, Connor Olbright

Josh Tuaniga (2016-19)
Awards and honors: 2016 Off the Block Freshman Team, 2016 All-MPSF Freshman Team, 2016 All-MPSF Second Team, 2016 All-American Second Team, 2017 Lloy Ball Award Winner, 2017 All-MPSF First Team, 2017 All-American First Team, 2018 Off the Block Lloy Ball Award, 2018 All-Big West First Team, 2018 Big West Tournament MVP, 2018 All-NCAA Tournament Team, 2018 All-American First Team, 2018 NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player, 2018 AVCA Player of the Year, 2019 All-Big West First Team, 2019 All-American First Team, 2019 All-NCAA Tournament Team
The four-year starter finished his Beach career with 4,607 assists good for a 10.87 assists per game average. Those 4,607 are second most by a Beach setter during the rally-scoring era. Tuaniga ranked No. 3 in 2016 with 11.18 assists per game, while the Beach ranked No. 4 in the nation with a .327 attack percentage. In 2017, Tuaniga led the nation with a 11.08 assists per game average, while the Beach had the top attack percentage at .366. In 2018, Tuaniga ranked No. 6 with 10.43 assists per game, while the Beach again topped the nation with a .375 attack percentage. During his senior season, he ranked No. 3 nationally with a 10.71 assists per game average, while Beach ranked No. 2 with a .414 attack percentage. Tuaniga’s serving was overshadowed by his fellow starting outside attacker and opposite, but his 108 career aces ranks No. 8 in program history.  

Kyle Ensing (2016-19)
Awards and honors: 2016 All-MPSF Tournament Team, 2016 Off the Block All-American, 2016 All-MPSF Freshman Team, 2016 All-MPSF Second Team, 2017 All-MPSF First Team, 2017 All-American Second Team, 2018 Brian Ivie Award, 2018 All-Big West First Team, 2018 All-NCAA Tournament Team, 2018 All-American First Team, 2019 Big West Player of the Year, 2019 All-Big West First Team, 2019 All-American First Team, 2019 All-NCAA Tournament Team
Ensing, also a four-year starter, finished his Beach career with 1,421 kills (No. 9 in program history), good for a 3.37 kills per game average. He finished his career with a .328 attack percentage, and 140 aces (No. 3 in program history). Ensing was second on the 2018 and 2019 in aces per game, kills per game, and attack percentage. His .534 aces per game in 2019 helped lead the Beach to lead the nation with 1.96 aces per game.

TJ DeFalco (2016-19)
Awards and honors: 2016 Off the Block Freshman All-American, 2016 All-MPSF Freshman Team, 2016 MPSF Freshman of the Year, 2016 All-MPSF First Team, 2016 AVCA Newcomer of the Year, 2016 All-American First Team, 2017 Karch Kiraly Award, 2017 All-MPSF First Team, 2017 MPSF Player of the Year, 2017 All-American First Team, 2017 AVCA Player of the Year, 2018 Karch Kiraly Award, 2018 All-Big West First Team, 2018 Big West Player of the Year, 2018 All-NCAA Tournament Team, 2018 All-American First Team, 2019 Karch Kiraly Award, 2019 All-Big West First Team, 2019 All-NCAA Tournament Team, 2019 All-American First Team, 2019 AVCA Player of the Year, 2019 NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player
If you’ve read all of DeFalco’s accolades above, congratulations to you, but now you know he is a serious contender, if not the favorite for Off the Block’s Player of the Decade. DeFalco, another four-year starter, finished his decorated Long Beach State career with 1,661 kills, good for No. 5 in program history. His 183 career aces and 0.46 aces per game average are best in program history. He led the team in aces per game, kills per game, and attack percentage in all four seasons. As a freshman, he led the team with 2.02 digs per game, leading the Beach to rank second in the nation in digs per game. He ranked in top five in the nation in aces per game twice, top ten in attack percentage twice, and top ten in kills per game twice. Long Beach State never ranked outside of the top four nationally in kills per game in any of DeFalco’s four seasons. He holds two of the three best individual seasons in terms of aces, including 57 in 2019 which helped propel the Beach to lead the nation.

Taylor Crabb (2011-14)
Awards and honors: 2011 All-MPSF Freshman Team, 2011 All-MPSF Honorable Mention, 2012 All-MPSF Second Team, 2013 All-MPSF First Team, 2013 All-American First, 2013 National Player of the Year, 2014 All-MPSF First Team, 2014 All-American First
Before he became a star on the beach, he was a star at the Beach. His 802 career digs ranks second best in program history, while his 1,600 assists ranks No. 8 in program history. His 4.8 kills during his senior season led the nation. He led the team during his final two years in kills per game and attack percentage, while leading the team in digs per game during his sophomore year.

Nick Amado (2017-19)
Awards and honors: 2018 All-Big West Team, 2018 All-American Second Team, 2019 All-Big West First Team, 2019 All-American Second Team
The JuCo transfer only saw action in nine games during his redshirt sophomore year. He finished his career with 212 total blocks, good for a 1.07 blocks per game average. His stellar .497 attack percentage ranks as best in program history, regardless of era. His 1.185 blocks per game in 2018 was good for No. 5 nationally, and helped the Beach to rank in the top ten nationally.

Taylor Gregory (2013-16)
Awards and honors: 2013 All-MPSF Freshman Team, 2013 All-MPSF Honorable Mention, 2015 All-MPSF Honorable Mention, 2016 All-MPSF First Team, 2016 All-American Second Team
His 1.47 blocks per game during his freshman year led the nation. His 1.51 blocks per game ranked as second best in the nation in 2015 and helped lead the Beach to a No. 2 ranking in blocks per game as well. His 14 block assists and 15 total blocks in a regular season match versus UC Santa Barbara in 2015 is tied for most in program history.  His 10 block solos and 11 total blocks in a match versus UC Irvine in 2013 are both tied for most in program history in a single conference tournament match. His 467 career block assists rank as most by a Long Beach State player, while his 500 total blocks ranks No. 5. His .506 attack percentage during his senior season ranks as second best in program history.

Andrew Sato (2013-17)
Awards and honors: 2013 All-MPSF Freshman Team, 2014 All-MPSF Honorable Mention, 2016 All-MPSF Honorable Mention, 2016 All-American Honorable Mention, 2017 All-MPSF Second Team, 2017 All-American First-Team
Sato’s 979 digs is most ever in program history, while his career 2.22 digs per game ranks No. 2. His 441 sets played ranks for No. 4 in program history, while his 44 matches with 10+ digs is most in program history. His 291 digs and 2.80 digs per game in 2014 ranks as second and third  best respectively in program history