2019 Long Beach State named college men’s volleyball National Team of Decade

Photo courtesy of Fabiana Huffaker

The team that completed a NCAA championship repeat for Long Beach State is now officially the best college men’s volleyball team from the decade.

A nationwide voting committee selected 2019 Long Beach State as the NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball National Team of the Decade that was announced Friday on Off the Block.

Long Beach State a year removed from winning its first NCAA title in almost 30 years opened the 2019 season on a 19-match winning streak and dropped a single set during its first 17 matches. The Beach rebounded from its only regular season loss to win its final six regular season matches, including a two-match series sweep against No. 1 Hawai’i.

As the NCAA Tournament’s No. 2 overall seed and with the event taking place on its home court, Long Beach State defeated Pepperdine in the semifinals and Hawai’i in the finals to complete the championship repeat.

All-American setter Josh Tuaniga guided the offense to hit more than .400 in both its NCAA Tournament matches. In addition, Long Beach State concluded the season with a .414 attack percentage — the second highest single-season attack percentage during the NCAA men’s volleyball 25-point rally scoring era.

All-American outside attacker TJ DeFalco finished in the nation’s top 20 with both a 3.52 kills per game average and a .397 attack percentage en route to winning the National Player of the Year for the second time in his career. DeFalco also had a match-high 20 kills while hitting .516 and three aces in the team’s four-game NCAA Tournament finals victory against Hawai’i.

DeFalco and Tuaniga were among the four All-American Team selections in the Beach’s starting lineup.

All-American opposite Kyle Ensing was among the national leaders with a 3.51 kills per game average. All-American middle attacker Nick Amado was third in the Big West averaging 0.96 blocks per game.

The voting committee for the National Team of the Decade was comprised of volleyball coaches and volleyball media members from around the nation.

The top-three vote-getters were selected as finalists, while the team with the most votes was named the overall award winner. A tie in the voting resulted in four finalists for the award.

Long Beach State received 33 votes to edge out the runner-up 2017 Ohio State by 17 votes. Both the 2018 Long Beach State team and the 2014 Loyola team finished tied for third place with eight votes.

Off the Block coordinated the National All-Decade Awards. Along with the National Team of the Decade, Off the Block presented the National Player of the Decade, the National Coach of the Decade, National Program of the Decade and the National All-Decade Teams.

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

National Team of the Decade voting results

1. 2019 Long Beach State — 33 votes
2. 2017 Ohio State — 16 votes
T-3. 2018 Long Beach State — 8 votes
T-3. 2014 Loyola — 8 votes
5. 2012 UC Irvine — 3 votes
T-6. 2016 Ohio State — 2 votes
T-6. 2010 Stanford — 2 votes
8. 2015 Loyola — 1 vote

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