Tavana Earns Nationwide Inaugural Honor

(Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

PROVO, Utah -- A nationwide voting committee has selected BYU middle attacker Futi Tavana as the inaugural winner of the Off-the-Block Blocker of the Year.

The Off-the-Block Blocker of the Year award is given to the nation’s best front-row defensive men’s volleyball player during the regular season.

Tavana leads the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation and is second in the nation with a 1.50 blocks per game average. The junior also has a nation-best 160 total blocks this season. Tavana was a 2010 All-American after switching positions from outside attacker to middle attacker before the start of that season.

“Futi has always been able to control the net defensively for us. He is a big, athletic guy who plays the game well and puts a lot of pressure on other teams because of his blocking,” BYU interim head coach Rob Neilson said. “He has done a great job learning and is growing offensively. He is a scary middle to go up against for other teams.”

To be eligible for the Blocker of the Year, a player must be on the active roster of a Division I-II men’s volleyball team.

Tavana was one of three finalists selected for the award Wednesday. Long Beach State middle attacker Antwain Aguillard and Ball State middle attacker Anders Nelson were also named finalists.

Tavana received nine first-place votes from a committee comprised of 16 men’s volleyball head and volleyball reporters from around the nation. He finished ahead of everyone in the voting by more than 20 points.

Off the Block is a website that launched in January and solely focuses on college men’s volleyball news and analysis.

Final voting results

1. Futi Tavana, BYU (9) — 35 points

2. Anders Nelson, Ball State (2) — 16 points

3. Antwain Aguillard, Long Beach State (2) — 11 points

T‐4. Austin Zahn, USC — 5 points

T‐4. Sean Daley, Pacific — 5 points

6. Shaun Sibley, George Mason (1) — 4 points

T‐7. J.D. Gasparovic, Ball State — 3 points

T‐7. Brandon Joyner, George Mason (1) — 3 points

T‐7. Shane Welch, Hawai’i (1) — 3 points

T‐10. Steven Shandrick, USC — 2 points

T‐10. Scott Slaughter, UC Santa Barbara — 2 points

12. Matt Gallik, Lewis – 1 point