Long Beach State Earns a Program-Record Six AVCA All-Americans
The Beach have four First-Team All-Americans, one Second-Team and one Honorable Mention selection
AVCA Press Release
LONG BEACH, Calif. – For the first time in program history, Long Beach State has half a dozen 49ers named American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-Americans as the Beach garnered four first-team, one second team, and one honorable mention selection. The announcement was made by the AVCA Monday morning.
Long Beach State leads all programs in this year’s class and the awards will be presented at the NCAA Men’s Volleyball Championship Banquet on Wednesday, May 3 on the campus of Ohio State University.
Leading the way for the Beach on the AVCA First Team are TJ DeFalco, Amir Lugo-Rodriguez, Andrew Sato and Josh Tuaniga. While Kyle Ensing earned All-Second Team honors and Bryce Yould was an Honorable Mention selection.
DeFalco is a two-time First-Team All-American selection after taking home the honors a year ago. This year, the sophomore outside hitter made his way onto the First Team after leading Long Beach State with a superb season in which he was named MPSF Player of the Year.
He completed the regular season as the only player in the conference to rank in the Top 10 in both hitting percentage (.400) and kills per set (4.10). His attack percentage and kills per set average were good for ninth and sixth in the nation, respectively.
In addition to his recent All-American nod, DeFalco was also the recipient of the 2017 Off the Block Karch Kiraly Award which is presented to the nation’s best outside attacker.
DeFalco has been an integral part of the Beach men’s volleyball program registering double-figure kills in all but two regular season matches as he led Long Beach State in kills (407), points (476.0) and service aces (30).
The Huntington Beach, Calif., native led the Beach in the MPSF Tournament with 34 kills and 18 digs as he was named Tournament MVP en route to helping Long Beach State capture its first-ever MPSF Championship.
Lugo-Rodriguez collected his first-ever AVCA All-American selection as the middle blocker took home First Team honors. He earns the honors one week after garnering Off the Block National Blocker of the Year and the Ryan Millar Award which is presented to the nation’s top middle attacker.
The product out of South Pasadena, Calif., has been a huge presence at the net for Long Beach State this season as he averages 1.30 blocks per set to lead the nation. He has accumulated 131 total blocks (12 solo, 119 assists), while also leading the Beach in hitting with an attack percentage of .494 (149-23-255) in his senior season en route to being named to the MPSF All-Second Team.
Sato, a senior libero, collected his first-ever First Team All-American selection after leading the MPSF in digs per set with 2.46 which ranks him seventh in the country. The Calabasas, Calif., native paced the backrow for the Beach all season as he became Long Beach State’s all-time digs leader as he has totaled 973. He is the first-ever 49er men’s volleyball player to reach the 900-dig mark and the 15th MPSF player to reach that feat.
In addition to being named to the AVCA All-America First Team, Sato has also earned the 2017 Off the Block Erik Shoji Award for the nation’s top libero and was named to the MPSF All-Second Team.
Rounding out the First-Team selections is sophomore setter Tuaniga who garnered his second AVCA All-American honor in as many years after being named to the Second Team in his rookie campaign.
Tuaniga was named to the AVCA First Team after averaging 11.13 assists per set to lead the nation, while helping Long Beach State to a nation-leading attack percentage of .371, which is the highest hitting percentage in MPSF rally-scoring history.
The product out of Long Beach, Calif., was named to the MPSF All-First Team and took home the 2017 Off the Block Lloy Ball Award which is presented to the nation’s best setter.
While leading the Beach as a setter, Tuaniga has also been instrumental with an attack percentage of .474 (69-14-116), while adding 1.41 digs per set and 0.61 blocks per set. He also leads the Beach with 0.30 service aces per set.
Ensing, a sophomore opposite out of Valencia, Calif., was named to the AVCA All-Second Team after averaging 3.35 kills per set to rank second on the team. He also averages 1.73 digs per set and 0.72 blocks per set.
Lastly, senior middle blocker Yould garnered AVCA Honorable Mention selection after posting a total of 89 blocks (1 solo, 88 assists) for an average of 0.94 per set which ranks second on the team and 10th in the conference. The Laguna Niguel, Calif., native is currently hitting .489 (166-29-280) to rank second at LBSU.
Long Beach State now totaled 31 AVCA All-Americans in program history which marks the most selections in AVCA Men’s Division I-II history.
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