LA JOLLA, Calif. - University of California San Diego men's volleyball senior opposite hitter Tanner Syftestad was named Tuesday as the repeat Off the Block Division II National Player of the Year.
Syftestad, a third-year team captain out of Sacramento (Chico State/El Camino Fundamental HS), is second nationally with 4.48 kills, 5.18 points and 10.02 attacks per set. He finished with a single-season career high of 390 kills. Syftestad reached double-figure kills in 22 of the 24 matches in which he appeared, and had at least a share of the team high in kills in 23 of them. The only exception was a Jan. 11 home sweep over UC Merced, in which he only played part of the opening set. Syftestad had eight performances of 20-plus kills, including three with a season-high 27, and notched four double-doubles.
Syftestad previously earned All-Big West Conference First Team distinction for his incredible senior campaign. He was the first-ever Big West Player of the Week on Jan. 8, and also the Sports Imports/American Volleyball Coaches Association Player of the Week for that same week.
During the season, Syftestad became just the sixth Triton to reach 1000 career kills, and leaves the program in the all-time top 10 in four categories. He is fifth with 1213 kills, third with 2965 total attacks, tied for second with 85 service aces, and seventh with 244 total blocks.
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 second year of its Division II honor, the only one of its kind. Both have gone to Syftestad.
A voting committee of about 25 men's volleyball coaches and volleyball media members from around the nation determined the winner of the Division II National Player of the Year. The top three vote-getters were named finalists. Syftestad received 45 votes to beat the runner-up, Lewis outside hitter Ryan Coenen, by 19 votes. Barton opposite Angelos Mandilaris was third with seven votes.
Also on Tuesday, Syftestad finished as runner-up for Off the Block's Bryan Ivie Award, presented to the nation's best opposite. That distinction went to No. 1 Long Beach State's junior star Kyle Ensing, who garnered 53 votes to Syftestad's 23.
Division II National Player of the Year (voting results)
1. Tanner Syftestad, UC San Diego - 45 votes
2. Ryan Coenen, Lewis - 26 votes
3. Angelos Mandilaris, Barton - 7 votes
4. Evan Cory, Lincoln Memorial - 6 votes
5. Tyler Mitchem, Lewis 5 votes
T-6. Nick Drooker, King - 3 votes
T-6. Chandler Gibb, Concordia-Irvine - 3 votes
T-6. TJ Murray, Lewis - 3 votes
T-6. Robert Poole, Mount Olive - 3 votes
T-6. Jeff Sprayberry, King - 3 votes
T-6. Anthony Rivera, Charleston - 3 votes
T-6. Brendan Schmidt, McKendree - 3 votes
13. Michael Simmons, Lewis - 2 votes
T-14. Raymond Barsemian, Concordia-Irvine - 1 vote
T-14. Hunter Howell, Concordia-Irvine - 1 vote
T-14. Mitch Perinar, Lewis - 1 vote
T-14. Jacob Wieser, Concordia-Irvine - 1 vote
T-14. Matt Yoshimoto, Lewis - 1 vote
Bryan Ivie Award (voting results)
1. Kyle Ensing, Long Beach State - 53 votes
2. Tanner Syftestad, UC San Diego - 23 votes
3. Arvis Greene, Jr., CSUN - 16 votes
4. Christian Hessenauer, UCLA - 8 votes
5. Karl Apfelbach, UC Irvine - 7 votes
6. Gabi Garcia Fernandez, BYU - 6 votes
7. Calvin Mende, Penn State - 4 votes
T-8 Ricky Gevis, Loyola - 3 votes
T-8. Evan Cory, Lincoln Memorial - 3 votes
10. Angelos Mandilaris, Barton - 2 votes