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Alan Knipe Named Coach of the Year, Six Named All-Americans

May 16, 2017 Release

LONG BEACH, Calif. –
On the heels of one of the best seasons in program history, the Long Beach State men’s volleyball team had six 49ers named All-Americans and head coach Alan Knipe was selected as Coach of the Year. The publication made the announcement on Tuesday.

TJ DeFalco, Andrew Sato and Josh Tuaniga collected First Team honors, while Kyle Ensing and Amir Lugo-Rodriguez were named to the Second Team, and Bryce Yould was an Honorable Mention Selection.

Knipe earned the honors after leading the Beach to a 27-4 overall record, their first-ever MPSF Conference Championship and their second-straight NCAA Semifinal appearance.

In his 14th year at the helm of the Long Beach State men’s volleyball program, Knipe guided his squad to a perfect 16-0 record when playing at the Walter Pyramid and 20 three-set sweeps, which set a new program record. Knipe was also named MSPF and AVCA Coach of the Year for the success the Beach had during the 2017 season.

“I always have said any individual award like this I would be more comfortable having it called ‘Staff of the Year,’” Knipe told “We have a great staff here right down to our director of ops, strength and conditioning coach, and our academic advisor.



“So many things go into having a good college program. We have so many pieces and so many people did a lot of things so well. They tried to do the extra things and thought outside of the box to help us get better. This staff had a really good year. They did a good job of seeing that we could have a fun ride with the guys.”

The support the team received from Knipe and the staff produced six All-Americans with three First Team selections, two Second Team honorees and one Honorable Mention selection.

DeFalco was one of three 49ers named First Team All-American after turning in a sensation sophomore season in which he was named AVCA First Team All-American, MPSF First Team All-Conference, MPSF and AVCA Player of the Year, as well as MPSF Tournament MVP.

The Huntington Beach, Calif., native finished the season with a .389 attack percentage to rank eighth in the nation, while averaging 3.99 kills per set which was good for sixth in the country.

Also named First Team All-American was Sato, a senior libero. In his final collegiate season, Sato became Long Beach State’s all-time digs leader as he accumulated 979. He is the only Beach men’s volleyball player to eclipse the 900-dig plateau and just the 15th MPSF player to reach that feat.

Rounding out the Beach’s First Team All-Americans is Tuaniga who finished his sophomore season as the nation’s leader in assists per set (11.06). He was the only player in the country to average more than 11 assists per set. Tuaniga’s stout passing helped Long Beach State to a nation-leading .366 attack percentage which was the highest output in MPSF rally-scoring history.

Ensing was named to the Second Team after hitting .335 on the year with 3.37 kills per set. Both marks rank in the Top 25 in the nation as does his points per sets average of 4.04.

Joining Ensing on the Second Team was Lugo-Rodriguez who finished his collegiate career as the nation’s leader in blocks per set with 1.28. He led the Beach with an attack percentage of .488 (151-24-260) and added 1.45 kills per set.

Lastly, Yould earned an Honorable Mention selection after a solid senior season in which the middle blocker hit .483 (168-30-286) and posted 0.92 blocks per set. All-Americans

First Team
Christy Blough – Ohio State
TJ DeFalco – Long Beach State
Jennings Franciskovic – Hawaii
Tamir Hershko – UC Irvine
Jake Langlois – BYU
Jeff Jendryk – Loyola
Miles Johnson – Ohio State
Brenden Sander – BYU
Andrew Sato – Long Beach State
Nicolas Szerszen – Ohio State
Josh Tuaniga – Long Beach State
Stijn van Tilburg – Hawaii

Second Team
Jake Arnitz – UCLA
Ryan Coenen – Lewis
Kyle Ensing – Long Beach State
Jabarry Goodridge – NJIT
Price Jarman – BYU
Amir Lugo-Rodriguez – Long Beach State
Michael Saeta – UC Irvine
Scott Stadick – UC Irvine
Mitch Stahl – UCLA
Chris Nugent – Penn State
Larry Tuileta – Hawaii
Lucas Yoder – USC

Honorable Mention
Josh Ayzenberg – Sacred Heart
Andy Benesh – USC
Christopher DeLucie – Sacred Heart
Gabriel Domecus – Ohio State
Daniel Ford – Saint Francis (Pa.)
Arvis Greene – CSUN
Driss Guessous – Ohio State
Jeff Hogan – Saint Francis (Pa.)
George Huhmann – Princeton
Thomas Hodges – UC Irvine
Calvin Mende – Penn State
Henrik Mol – Hawaii
Junior Oboh – Princeton
Mitch Perinar – Lewis
Kevin Rakestraw – Stanford
Michael Simmons – Lewis
Jeff Sprayberry – King
Tanner Syftestad – UC San Diego
Matt Szews – Ball State
Matt Walsh – Ball State
Jack Wilson – George Mason
David Mieczorek – Pepperdine
Matt Yoshimoto – Lewis
Bryce Yould – Long Beach State

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