Four finalists announced for inaugural Karch Kiraly Award

A nationwide voting committee selected UC Irvine outside attacker Tamir Hershko, Loyola outside attacker Thomas Jaeschke, Penn State outside attacker Aaron Russell and Pepperdine outside attacker Josh Taylor as finalists for the inaugural Karch Kiraly Award.

The Karch Kiraly Award is given to the nation’s best outside attacker in NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball during the regular season.

Hershko was fifth in the MPSF and among the national leaders with a 3.58 kills per game average. The junior also was second on the Anteaters with a 1.32 digs per game average as UC Irvine won the MPSF regular season championship and earned the No. 1 seed for the upcoming MPSF Tournament.

Jaeschke led the MIVA averaging 0.57 aces per game and was fifth in the nation with a 4.20 kills per game average. In addition, the All-American junior had double-digit kills in all but three matches he played in this season as he helped Loyola earn the No. 2 seed for the upcoming MIVA Tournament.


Russell finished the regular season leading the EIVA and second in the nation with a 4.63 kills per game averaging, including having at least 20 kills in seven matches. The All-American senior also had a nation-best 51 aces as Penn State won the EIVA regular season championship.

Taylor was fourth in MPSF and in the nation’s top 20 averaging 3.64 kills per game average. In addition, the All-American senior was among the Pepperdine leaders with a 1.49 digs per game average and 55 blocks as the Waves earned a top-three seed for the upcoming MPSF Tournament.

The voting committee for the Karch Kiraly Award was comprised of more than 30 college men’s volleyball head coaches and volleyball reporters from around the nation. The new college men’s volleyball award is named after the former U.S. Olympian and UCLA All-American outside attacker Karch Kiraly.

The overall winner of the inaugural Karch Kiraly Award will be announced Tuesday, April 28.

The Karch Kiraly Award is one of several end of season awards presented by Off the Block. Among the other national awards includes the Lloy Ball Award to the nation’s top setter, the Bryan Ivie Award to the nation’s top opposite, the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Server of the Year and the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Blocker of the Year.

Off the Block is a national award winning college men’s volleyball website that launched in January 2011.

Finalists (listed alphabetically)

Tamir Hershko, UC Irvine
Thomas Jaeschke, Loyola
Aaron Russell, Penn State
Josh Taylor, Pepperdine

Others receiving votes
5. Geoff Powell, Lewis
6. Brady Markle, Lees-McRae
7. Siki Zarkovic, Hawai’i
8. Enzo Mackenzie, Sacred Heart
9. Alex Harthaller, IPFW
T-10. Sam Holt, CSUN
T-10. Greg Petty, Lewis
T-12. Kevin Donohue, UC Santa Barbara
T-12. Jake Langlois, BYU
T-12. Nicolas Szerszen, Ohio State