IRVINE, Calif. - The first Big West Conference men's volleyball postseason awards were announced by the league on Monday afternoon, with the University of California San Diego represented by standouts Tanner Syftestad and Wyatt Harrison.
Syftestad, a senior opposite, is a member of the 16-player All-Big West First Team, while Harrison, an outside hitter, is on the seven-player Big West All-Freshman Team.
The Big West Conference is sponsoring men's volleyball for the first time this season.
Syftestad, a Sacramento native, is second in the Big West and nationally in kills (4.51) and points (5.24) per set. He paces the conference with 10.04 attacks per set, and is No. 2 in the country in that category as well. Syftestad has also averaged 1.63 digs, 0.75 blocks and a team-best 0.32 service aces per set, while hitting .316 to lead all Tritons. He ranks in the top 15 in the Big West in all four. Syftestad has 22 starts among his 23 appearances in 2018, having been forced to miss four matches due to injury and illness. Of those 23 matches, he has reached double-figure kills in 21, including a season-high 27 on three occasions. Syftestad has four double-doubles.
Syftestad is a fourth-year Triton after spending his freshman year as a club volleyball player at Chico State, and is a three-time team captain. He will leave the UC San Diego program fifth in career kills, third in attacks and second in service aces.
Harrison is a true freshman out of Kilauea, Hawaii, on the island of Kaua'i. He is second on the team behind Syftestad, at 193 total kills and 2.27 kills per set, while adding 1.14 digs per set. Harrison is 11th in the league in attacks per set (5.82) and 13th in kills per set. He has appeared in all 27 contests, with 21 starts, and produced double-figure kills nine times, including a season-best 19 on March 16 against UC Irvine. Harrison was one of only five different rookies who earned Big West Freshman of the Week distinction over the course of this inaugural season, that on March 12.
Syftestad, incidentally, was the very first Big West Player of the Week back on Jan. 8.
Big West regular-season champion and No. 1-ranked Long Beach State's junior outside hitter and star, TJ DeFalco, is the Big West Player of the Year, while the Beach's 15th-year leader, Alan Knipe , is the Big West Coach of the Year. UC Irvine outside hitter Joel Schneidmiller is the Big West Freshman of the Year.
All six Big West teams have representation on both the All-Big West First Team, and Big West All-Freshman Team. The awards are voted on by the six head coaches.
Sixth-seeded UC San Diego will face off with third-ranked and third-seeded UC Irvine in the first match of the inaugural Big West Tournament this Thursday night, April 19. First serve inside host Long Beach State's Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, is set for 5 p.m. All five matches of the event will air live on ESPN3.