Grand Canyon outside attacker named MPSF Freshman of Year for second straight year

Photo courtesy of Grand Canyon athletics

Jonathan Bates | Associate Editor

A feat that might not happen ever again just occurred in the MPSF on Thursday afternoon. The conference named Grand Canyon outside attacker Camden Gianni Freshman of the Year for the second straight year on Thursday afternoon.

After redshirting in 2019 to recover from suffering cardiac arrest and subsequent open heart surgery, the third-year freshman was able to take advantage of an extra of eligibility afforded NCAA men’s volleyball players due to the 2020 season being cut short due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Gianni leads the conference and ranks No. 3 nationally with 0.652 aces per game, while his 3.76 kills per game ranks No. 4 and No. 20 respectively.

Gianni was the only MPSF All-Freshman Team selection also named to the All-MPSF First-Team. Pepperdine setter Bryce Dvorak and UCLA middle attacker Merrick McHenry were both named to the MPSF All-Freshman Team and All-MPSF Second-Team.

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Grand Canyon finished the regular season ranked No. 9 in the national coaches poll, and will play No. 5 seed USC on Thursday afternoon in the MPSF Tournament Quarterfinals.

BYU senior Gabi Garcia Fernandez was named the MPSF Player of the Year after he led the Cougars to the top seed in the MPSF tournament and a No. 2 ranking in both national polls. The BYU opposite led all MPSF players with 254 kills and 33 aces.

Garcia Fernandez is the fifth MPSF player all-time to win this honor in consecutive years, and is also the third four-time All-MPSF First-Team selection.

BYU led all schools with with six players named to various all-conference teams, while UCLA and Pepperdine had five players each. Grand Canyon and Stanford had three players each, while USC and Concordia-Irvine had two players each.

No liberos were named to the All-MPSF First-Team nor the All-MPSF Second-Team, while no middle attackers were named to the All-MPSF First-Team.

All-MPSF First-Team

Opposite: Gabi Garcia Fernandez, BYU
Outside attacker: Davide Gardini, BYU
Opposite: Cole Ketrzynski, UCLA
Outside attacker: Spencer Wickens, Pepperdine
Outside attacker: Camden Gianni, Grand Canyon
Setter: Sam Kobrine, Setter
Setter: Wil Stanley, BYU

All-MPSF Second-Team

Middle attacker: Austin Wilmot, Pepperdine
Middle attacker: Felipe de Brito Ferreira, BYU
Opposite: Raymond Barsemian, Concordia-Irvine
Middle attacker: Merrick McHenry, UCLA
Outside attacker: Zach Eschenberg, BYU
Setter: Bryce Dvorak, Pepperdine
Opposite: Billy Fauntleroy, USC

All-MPSF Honorable Mention

Outside attacker: Austin Matautia, UCLA
Outside attacker: Christian Janke, Grand Canyon
Opposite: Jacob Steele, Pepperdine
Middle attacker: Miki Jauhiainen, BYU
Outside attacker: Jordan Hoppe, Concordia-Irvine
Libero: Cole Paxson, USC
Opposite: Hugo Fischer, Grand Canyon
Middle attacker: Kyler Presho, Stanford

MPSF All-Freshman Team

Outside attacker: Camden Gianni, Grand Canyon
Middle attacker: Merrick McHenry, UCLA
Setter: Bryce Dvorak, Pepperdine
Outside attacker: Ethan Champlin, UCLA
Setter: Nathan Lietzke, Stanford
Outside attacker: Will Rottman, Stanford
Libero: Trey Cole, Pepperdine