NCAA Men’s All-Americans

Ed Chan
Coach, Player, and Freshman of the Year.

You might notice that our All-American list looks a bit different than it has in years past. Instead of 10 players on each team there are seven, and we calculated our panel’s votes based on position so each “all-star” team includes two middles, two outsides, and an opposite, a setter, a libero, and a coach.

First Team

Year | Pos. | School

Taylor Averill
R-Jr. | MB | Hawaii

Averill’s .477 hitting percentage led the nation this season and his 1.22 blocks/set ranked him eighth. Four times this season he played an error-less match for Hawaii. The San Jose native’s performance earned him both AVCA All-American and all-MSPF first team honors.

Scott Kevorken
Sr. | MB | UC Irvine

A two-time national champion middle blocker for the Anteaters, the Westlake Village, California, native led his team in solo blocks with 16 and ranked second with 88 total blocks. Eight times in the 2014 season, the 6'9" senior hit over .600. He ranks fifth in career solo blocks at UCI.

*Player of the Year*
Taylor Sander

Sr. | OH | BYU

Sander has made the VBM All-American list each of his four years at BYU, including being named Freshman of the Year in 2011 and earning Player of the Year for the second consecutive year. The 6'4" outside led the nation in points per set with 5.48 and ranked second in kills per set with 4.60.

Brian Cook
Sr. | OH | Stanford

Cook led his national runner-up team in kills with 461, hitting .355, and added 204 digs and 74 blocks to the Cardinal’s defensive efforts. In the national semifinal match versus BYU, he notched 19 kills to help his team prevail over the Cougars.

Joe Smalzer
Sr. | Opp. | Loyola

Leading the national champion Loyola Ramblers in aces and points, Smalzer clocked .64 aces per set, which ranked him second in the nation, and has racked up 234 aces in his career to earn him the Loyola ace record by a significant margin.

Micah Christenson
Jr. | S | USC

Christenson, who has already collected significant experience setting for the U.S. Men’s National Team, topped the setting charts this season with 11.62 assists per set. At 6'6" Christenson also puts up an intimidating block, collecting 51 over his junior season.

Michael Brinkley
Jr. | L | UC Irvine

Brinkley commanded the UCI defense for the third year in a row and now ranks second in program history in career digs. The 5'10" Huntington Beach native collected 2.52 digs per set this season, good for eighth in the nation.

*Coach of the Year*
Shane Davis

11th season | Head Coach | Loyola

With a career record of 237-86, Davis has led his alma mater into an era of unprecedented volleyball success. The Ramblers were ranked No. 1 for the majority of the season and dropped only a single match (to USC on Jan. 4), finishing the year with the highest hitting percentage in the country (.366) and, of course, with the program’s first national championship.

Second Team

Year | Pos. | School

Nick Olson So. | MB | Loyola
Conrad Kaminski So. | MB | Stanford
Taylor Crabb Sr. | OH | Long Beach State
Thomas Jaeschke So. | OH | Loyola
Brook Sedore Jr. | OH | Hawaii
James Shaw So. | S | Stanford
Henry Cassiday Sr. | L | USC

John Kosty 8th season | Head Coach | Stanford

Third Team

Year | Pos. | School

Matt Leske Sr. | MB | Ball State
Driss Guessous R-Fr. | MB | Ohio State
Aaron Russell Jr. | OH | Penn State
Gonzalo Quiroga Sr. | OH | UCLA
Eric Mochalski Sr. | Opp. | Stanford
Matt West Jr. | S | Pepperdine
Grant Delgado R-Jr. | L | Stanford
Chris McGown 4th season | Head Coach | BYU

Player of the Year

Taylor Sander

For the second year in a row, Taylor Sander topped our pollsters’ ballots. Sander, no stranger to being honored within the pages of Volleyball, was a 2009 Underclassman to Watch, a 2010 Fab 50 selection, a four-time NCAA All-American, and for the past two seasons, the VBM Player of the Year. The 6'4" outside hitter played at Norco High School before bringing his cannon of an arm and 40-plus inch vertical to BYU. Unfortunately, Sander leaves behind a legacy at BYU that will not include a national championship; however, he has led BYU to two final fours and holds BYU’s rally-scoring career records for kills (1,743), total attempts (3,464), and service aces (182).

Only a week after his senior season ended with a loss to Stanford in the national semifinals, USA Volleyball announced that Sander would play in World League with the men’s national team. If head coach John Speraw had had his way, Sander would have started playing with the team last summer, but Sander had academic responsibilities to handle before he could devote his time to furthering his volleyball career on the international stage. In a press conference following the loss to Stanford, Sander said, “The hardest part is not losing that match. The fact that I cannot battle with my boys anymore, that is the hardest part.” This summer, however, he will join up with a whole other group of boys to battle with.

Freshman of the Year

Lucas Yoder

Even before starting his collegiate career at USC, Lucas Yoder had earned a reputation as an impressive beach and indoor volleyball player. He won a bronze medal at the FIVB U19 Beach World Championships last summer and played on the 2012 youth national training team. In his senior year of high school, his 949 Volleyball club team won gold at the USAV Junior National Championships where he was named MVP.

In his first season at USC, Yoder made a big impact, finishing the spring as the only freshman to rank in the top 30 nationally for kills per set (clocking in at No. 6 with 4.02). He led the Trojans in kills with 394 (156 more than the next highest contributor Tanner Jansen). His 805 total attempts also topped the team ranks by a wide margin – 425 more than the player with the second-highest number of attempts.

Although any top program would have jumped to sign Yoder, it was no surprise he chose to become a Trojan. Yoder has many family connections to USC, starting with his late father Dave who was an outside hitter for the Trojans before playing pro in Europe and on the beach, and his uncle Bob led USC to an NCAA title in 1977 before serving as USC’s head coach for eight seasons (1982-89). Cousins Paul and Jack play on the current men’s team while cousin Erin played from 2009 to 2012 as a defensive specialist on the women’s team.

Coach of the Year

Shane Davis

At only 34 years old, Shane Davis is a remarkable young coach. In his 11th season at the helm of the Loyola program, Davis led his alma mater to a national championship, a sweet redemption for the team that lost only one starter following its 2013 national semifinal defeat. His ascent to national prominence has been building for a decade, but when he started at Loyola as a 23-year-old recent college grad, his only leadership experience was as a three-year captain of his college team. Davis even admitted in an interview with ESPN in 2011 that he thought the administration hired him hoping the team would crumble so the university could add baseball. Whether that was the intention or not, no such thing happened and the university is now benefiting from the national coverage of Davis’ championship squad.

Although he played football in high school and was recruited to play in college, Davis found his calling on the volleyball court and later on the sidelines. A setter in college, Davis holds the record for assists at Loyola (5,337).

Three days after hoisting the national championship trophy, Davis and his wife Andrea welcomed their second daughter, making 2014 quite a year so far for the Davis and Loyola men’s volleyball families.

Originally published in July 2014

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