Four finalists named for annual Karch Kiraly Award

A nationwide voting committee selected four finalists for the nation’s top award presented to an outside attacker.

Off the Block announced Tuesday that Belmont Abbey’s Nolan Albrecht, Long Beach State’s TJ DeFalco, BYU’s Brenden Sander and Ohio State’s Nicholas Szerszen were named finalists for the 2016 Karch Kiraly Award.

The Karch Kiraly Award, which is named after the former UCLA All-American and Volleyball Hall of Famer, is given to the nation’s best outside attacker in NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball during the regular season.

Albrecht led the nation with a 5.04 kills per game average — the only player to end the regular season averaging more than 4.50 kills per game. The senior also had a nation-best 12 regular season matches with at least 20 kills, including a season-high 33 kills against King in March, and had a .355 attack percentage to help Belmont Abbey finish in fourth place in the Conference Carolinas.

DeFalco, the 2016 MPSF Freshman of the Year, was seventh in the nation with a 4.28 kills per game average and had eight matches with at least 20 kills. He also hit .304 and added 38 aces in the regular season as he helped Long Beach State earn the No. 3 seed for the MPSF Tournament.


Sander was among the conference and national leaders with a 3.12 kills per game average, while being in the nation’s top 15 with a .379 attack percentage. In addition, Sander had 71 blocks and double-digit kills in 16 regular season matches to help BYU win the MPSF regular season championship.

Szerszen, the 2016 MIVA Player of the Year, finished the regular season in the nation’s top 10 with both 4.34 kills per game average and and a .409 attack percentage. He also led the MIVA with a 46 aces and had more than 150 digs as the Buckeyes won the conference regular season championship.

The voting committee for the Karch Kiraly Award was comprised of about 25 college men’s volleyball head coaches and volleyball media members.

The overall winner of the Karch Kiraly Award will be announced Wednesday, April 27.

This is the second year of the Karch Kiraly Award. Former Penn State All-American outside attacker Aaron Russell was the inaugural winner of the award last season.

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 Ryan Millar Award to the nation’s top middle attacker, the Erik Shoji Award to the nation’s top libero, the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Blocker of the Year and the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Server of the Year.

Off the Block launched its website in 2011 and is among the nation’s leaders in college men’s volleyball coverage.

(listed alphabetically)
Nolan Albrecht, Belmont Abbey
TJ DeFalco, Long Beach State
Brenden Sander, BYU
Nicholas Szerszen, Ohio State

Others receiving votes:
5. Jabarry Goodridge, NJIT
6. Jake Langlois, BYU
7. Sinisa Zarkovic, Hawai’i
T-8. Stephen Braswell, St. Francis
T-8. Artur Cabral, Coker
T-8. Mike Michelau, Erskine
11. Jake Arnitz, UCLA
T-12. Obenda Besongngem, Alderson Broaddus
T-12. Aleska Brkovic, Barton
T-12. Madison Hayden, Stanford
T-12. Chris Nugent, Penn State

2 Replies to “Four finalists named for annual Karch Kiraly Award”

  1. Interesting. Very interesting – hope these are not the All American selections as well. No problems with Szerszen BIG problems with Sander. Not sure that T J DeFalco is the real deal yet. Do not know Albrecht – but I have heard he is good.

    Brendan Sander would have to be the most over-rated player in the DIv I NCAA Men’s Volleyball. I think either Zarkovic or Hayden should replace him…… Both those players are all court contributors – they are the type of team mates you need to play good volleyball.

    In America it seems a known name – not even a brand – will take one a long way in sport.

    But in the end this is a totally meaningless award. It goes to an outside attacker – I call the position a pass hitter. If the award was for a pass hitter then none of these guys really make sense – except for Szerszen. I guess you should really call this award what it is – it is for players who can really hammer a ball – thus it is for the players who get set a lot.

    Richard Lipscombe.
    20th April 2016.

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