WOODLAND, Calif. - Junior opposite and tri-captain Tanner Syftestad of the University of California San Diego men's volleyball program has been chosen to the 2017 All-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) Second Team, as announced by the league on Thursday afternoon.
Syftestad completed a remarkable third campaign as a Triton with 366 kills, the most by a UCSD player since Frank Fritsch's 412 in 2010, before having to miss the final two matches due to an injury suffered late in an April 7 home loss to No. 8 Pepperdine. He will head into his senior season with 823 career kills, 10th on the program's all-time list.
The Sacramento native is the first Triton to earn any type of postseason athletic recognition from the MPSF since Carl Eberts and Chase Frishman picked up All-MPSF honorable mention in 2012. Syftestad is the first UCSD player to gain selection to the first, second or third team since standout setter and career assists leader Phil Bannan also made the second team in 2011. He is only the third Triton to be voted by league head coaches to an All-MPSF team, with libero and all-time digs leader Eric Leserman himself a second-teamer in 2007.
After a slow start over his first four contests, Syftestad caught absolute fire, putting down 20-plus kills on .357 hitting or better in each of the next five matches, four of them UCSD wins, and producing at least a share of the team high in kills over the next 19. His 31 kills in a five-set home victory over Hope International on Jan. 28 was a new rally-scoring era (since 2011) program record, and the third-best single-match total in the country in 2017. Syftestad added 29 in another home win on March 14 over California Baptist, that effort tying for the national lead for a four-set affair. He provided the kill on match point in six of the Tritons' seven wins this year.
Heading into the college men's volleyball postseason, Syftestad ranks second in the MPSF and third nationally in both points per set (4.92) and attacks per set (9.33). He is fourth in the MPSF and fifth in the country at 4.21 kills per set, and also seventh in the league and 25th nationally in aces per set (0.32). Syftestad totaled 17 performances with double-figure kills, out of 25 matches, and seven of 20 or more
UCSD, a charter member of the MPSF from its inaugural season back in 1993, has left the league to join the newly-formed Big West Conference as an associate member beginning in January, meaning Syftestad is the program's final All-MPSF honoree.
Syftestad was one of 12 players on the second team, with 12 more on the first team and another dozen gaining honorable mentions. Long Beach State sophomore outside hitter TJ DeFalco is the 2017 MPSF Player of the Year, with UC Irvine middle blocker Scott Stadick the MPSF Freshman of the Year.
The Tritons wound up 7-20 overall in 2017 and 3-15 in their last MPSF go-around, placing 11th out of 12 teams.
Syftestad transferred to UC San Diego ahead of the 2014-15 academic year after spending his first year out of Sacramento's El Camino Fundamental High School at Chico State. With men's volleyball not a sponsored intercollegiate sport there, the 6-foot-8 standout was a member of the club team in Chico, before arriving in La Jolla.