Long Beach outside Nikolov wins 2022 Nicolas Szerszen Award

Photo courtesy of Long Beach State athletics

Alex Nikolov continued the legacy of great international players competing in college men’s volleyball.

Off the Block announced Monday that a nationwide voting committee selected Long Beach State freshman outside attacker as the recipient of the 2022 Nicolas Szerszen Award.

The Nicolas Szerszen Award is presented to the best non-U.S. born player in NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball during the regular season. The annual award is named after the former Ohio State All-American outside attacker who led the Buckeyes to back-to-back NCAA championships.

This is the only national award in college men’s volleyball recognizing the outstanding individual performances of international players who are pursuing their volleyball career and higher education in the United States.


Nikolov was second in the nation with a 0.58 aces per game average and is third in the country averaging 4.57 kills per game on a .386 attack percentage. The Bulgarian native also had at least 20 kills in nine matches and helped the Beach reach the NCAA Tournament finals.

The voting committee for the Nicolas Szerszen Award was comprised of about 20 college men’s volleyball head coaches and volleyball reporters from around the nation. The top three vote-getters were named finalists for this national honor.

Nikolov received 44 votes to edge out the runner-up Hawai’i setter Jakob Thelle. In addition, Ball State opposite Angelos Mandilaris finished in third place with 11 votes.

This is the sixth year that Off the Block has presented the Nicolas Szerszen Award.

Nicolas Szerszen 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 Karch Kiraly Award to the nations top outside attacker, the Bryan Ivie Award to the nation’s top opposite, the Erik Shoji Award to the nation’s top libero and the Ryan Millar Award to the nation’s top middle attacker.

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

2022 Nicolas Szerszen Award voting results

1. Alex Nikolov, Long Beach State – 44 votes
2. Jakob Thelle, Hawai’i – 20 votes
3. Angelos Mandilaris, Ball State – 11 votes
4. Guilherme Voss, Hawai’i – 3 votes
T-5. Hilir Henno, UC Irvine – 2 votes
T-5. Davide Gardini, BYU – 2 votes
T-5. Simon Gallas, USC – 2 votes
T-5. Bartosz Slawinski, BYU – 2 votes
T-9. Evens Edouard, Edward Waters – 1 vote
T-9. Nicola Iannelli, St. Francis Brooklyn – 1 vote
T-9. Guy Genis, UCLA – 1 vote