Hawai’i setter Thelle wins 2023 Nicolas Szerszen Award

Photo courtesy of Hawai’i athletics

The NCAA resume of Jakob Thelle now includes an honor to recognize the Hawai’i setter’s achievements as an international student-athlete.

Off the Block announced Tuesday that a nationwide voting committee selected Thelle as the recipient of the 2023 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.


Thelle finished with a nation-best 10.67 assists per game average and guided the Hawai’i offense to the second-best attack percentage in the nation at .367. The Big West Player of the Year and Norwegian native also was among the national leaders with a 0.34 aces per game average as the Rainbow Warriors advanced to the NCAA Tournament finals.

The voting committee for the Nicolas Szerszen Award was comprised of more than 30 college coaches and media members from around the nation. The top three vote-getters were named finalists for this national honor.

Thelle finished with 55 votes to beat out the runner-up and fellow Hawai’i teammate Dimitrios Mouchlias by 11 votes. UC Irvine outside attacker Hilir Henno received 30 votes to come in third place.

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

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.

2023 Nicolas Szerszen Award voting results

1. Jakob Thelle, Hawai’i (Norway) – 55 votes
2. Dimitrios Mouchlias, Hawai’i (Greece) – 44 votes
3. Hilir Henno, UC Irvine (France) – 30 votes
4. Sotiris Siapanis, Long Beach State (Cyprus) – 12 votes
T-5. Ido David, UCLA (Israel) – 7 votes
T-5. Ras Jesse Delancy, Benedict (Bahamas) – 7 votes
7. Spyros Chakas, Hawai’i (Greece) – 6 votes
8. Victor Scherer, Central State (Brazil) – 5 votes
9. Tinaishe Ndavazocheva, Ball State (Zimbabwe) – 3 votes
T-10. Matteo Miselli, Belmont Abbey (Italy) – 2 votes
T-10. Simon Torwie, Long Beach State (Spain, Germany) – 2 votes
T-12. Raje Alleyne, Quincy (Barbados) – 1 vote
T-12. Luuk Hoge Bavel, Charleston (Netherlands) – 1 vote
T-12. Justin Lui, Stanford (Canada) – 1 vote