TJ DeFalco
Long Beach State Volleyball

Long Beach State’s TJ DeFalco Wins National Player of the Year

Long Beach State outside hitter TJ DeFalco made history at Wednesday evening’s NCAA National Collegiate Men’s Volleyball Championship Banquet, as he was named National Player of the Year for the second time. The banquet was held in downtown Long Beach at the Terrace Theater.

DeFalco is just the third men’s volleyball player in history to earn four first-team All-American honors, and just the fourth player to ever win multiple Player of the Year honors, joining Jeff Nygaard (UCLA, 1994, 1995), George Roumain (Pepperdine, 1998, 1999), and Costas Theocharidis (Hawaii, 2001, 2003).

DeFalco won the award in 2017 as a sophomore, and his teammate and Long Beach State setter Josh Tuaniga won it last year. This is only the second time in history a school has won three consecutive Player of the Year honors, with UCLA having won it each year from 1994 to 1996. The award was split between two players in ‘96, making Long Beach State the first program in history to win the award three years in a row without sharing it.

Five Long Beach State players have earned National Player of the Year honors a total of six times, with three of those honors going to DeFalco and Tuaniga. The other winners were Taylor Crabb (2013), Paul Lotman (2008), and Brent Hilliard (1992).

Long Beach State will face Pepperdine in the NCAA Final Four in the Pyramid Thursday evening at 7:30 p.m. The match is sold out, but the university will host a watch party on the lawn behind the Pyramid.


Mike Guardabascio
An LBC native, Mike Guardabascio has been covering Long Beach sports professionally for 13 years, with his work published in dozens of Southern California magazines and newspapers. He's won numerous awards for his writing as well as the CIF Southern Section’s Champion For Character Award, and is the author of three books about Long Beach history.