LA JOLLA, Calif. - University of California San Diego men's volleyball junior opposite Tanner Syftestad was named Wednesday as the very first Off the Block Division II National Player of the Year.
Syftestad, a second-year team captain out of Sacramento (Chico State/El Camino Fundamental HS), was fifth in the country in averaging 4.21 kills per set during a tremendous third go-around in a UC San Diego uniform. Heading toward the NCAA Championship, he is one of just five players at better than 4.00 kills per game.
Among Syftestad's top performances in 2017 was a match-high 26 kills in a four-set upset victory at USC on Feb. 4. It was one of seven efforts this season of more than 20 kills, with a career-high 31 against Hope International on Jan. 28. Syftestad is also third nationally in points (4.92) and attacks (9.33) per set, and 28th in aces (0.32).
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. This is the first year of its Division II Player of the Year honor, named the Flyer Award after the traditional Division II power Lewis University Flyers. It is one of two new national awards that Off the Block is presenting this season, debuting alongside the International Player of the Year for the top non-U.S.-born player in Division I-II men's volleyball.
The voting committee for the award was comprised of about 25 college men's volleyball head coaches and reporters from around the country. The top three vote-getters were dubbed finalists last week. Joining Syftestad were Lewis standouts Mitch Perinar, a fellow opposite, and outside hitter Ryan Coenen. In the final tally, Syftestad garnered 33 votes, more than Perinar (15) and Coenen (11) combined.
Earlier this month, Syftestad was honored by Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) head coaches with selection to the All-MPSF Second Team. American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-America distinction will be unveiled on May 3, ahead of the 2017 NCAA Championship in Columbus, Ohio.