Garcia Fernandez named 2020 AVCA National Player of the Year


PROVO, Utah – BYU first-team All-American Gabi Garcia Fernandez was named the national Player of the Year, the American Volleyball Coaches Association announced on Thursday.

Two days after claiming his third-straight All-America recognition, the junior from San Juan, Puerto Rico, became the third player in program history to be crowned the TeamSnap/AVCA Player of the Year. Carlos Moreno was the first Cougar to collect the award in 2004 while Taylor Sander had been the most recent BYU player to receive the accolade in 2014.

Along with being crowned national Player of the Year and a first-team All-American by the AVCA this year, Garcia Fernandez was also named the 2020 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Player of the Year and received his third-consecutive All-MPSF First Team selection.

In the midst of an incredible junior campaign that was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Garcia Fernandez averaged 5.46 points per set and .918 aces per set to lead the NCAA in both categories. The versatile star also ranked 11th in kills per set (4.00), 19th in blocks per set (1.00), 23rd in attacks per set (7.98) and 25th in hitting percentage (.343).

Even with six regular-season matches and the postseason canceled, Garcia Fernandez still managed to tally 56 aces to break the BYU single-season aces record. The powerful server totaled eight aces in a sweep over Mount Olive to tie for the second-most aces by a BYU player in a single match. He matched that performance once again before play stopped, serving eight aces in a sweep over then-No. 1 Hawai’i. Having now accumulated 139 aces over three seasons, the junior is now only 44 away from becoming BYU’s all-time career leader in aces.

Leading the team in kills (244) and posting the second-most blocks (61), Garcia Fernandez was instrumental in leading BYU to a 17-1 record and a No. 1 national ranking. Despite BYU boasting the toughest schedule in the NCAA with a .678 cumulative opponent winning percentage, Garcia Fernandez still put up impressive numbers while leading the Cougars to a 12-1 record over ranked opponents.