Long Beach outside Nikolov leads Bulgaria to sweep at Volleyball Nations League

Photo courtesy of the FIVB

Alex Nikolov one month after leading Long Beach State to the brink of a NCAA title has now led Bulgaria to its first win at a major international tournament.

The outside attacker finished with a match-high 20 kills on a .516 attack percentage as Bulgaria swept Iran 25-19, 25-23, 26-24 on Tuesday in Sofia, Bulgaria at the FIVB Volleyball Nations League.

This home victory ended Bulgaria’s four-match losing streak to open the Volleyball Nations League and was the second tournament match Nikolov had at least 20 kills. Nikolov also moved to second among all players at the tournament with 73 combined kills.


Nikolov joined the Bulgarian Men’s National Team following a freshman season at Long Beach State that culminated with earning the National Player of the Year. The freshman finished in the nation’s top three averaging both 4.63 kills per game and 0.58 aces per game as the Beach reached the NCAA Tournament finals.

Nikolov was one of two Bulgrian players with double-digit kills in the sweep. Outside attacker Martin Atanasov had 10 kills on a .471 attack percentage along with a match-high four aces.

Former Hawai’i opposite Rado Parapunov added four kills and an ace against Iran.