wweekes | Posted: 25 Apr 2013 | Updated: 8 Nov 2020

Cougars earned three All-America honors and Newcomer of the Year

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PROVO, Utah – Three BYU men’s volleyball players were named AVCA All-Americans and Ben Patch earned AVCA Newcomer of the Year, the AVCA announced Thursday.

Junior Taylor Sander and freshman Ben Patch garnered All-America First Team honors while senior Russ Lavaja was named to the second team.

BYU, UC Irvine and UCLA led the way placing three athletes on the All-America teams. BYU and UC Irvine each have two on the first team and one on the second team while UCLA has two on the second team and one on the first.

Sander highlights this year’s class with three consecutive AVCA All-American recognitions. Sander was an AVCA second-team All-American in 2011 and was placed on the first team last year. UC Irvine’s Kevin Tillie joins Sander as the only other repeat AVCA first-team All-American.

The 2013 selections were made by the AVCA Division I-II Men’s Volleyball All-America Committee.

The AVCA National Player of the Year will be announced at the NCAA Championship Banquet on May 1.

Patch, a 6-foot-8 opposite from Provo, has wasted no time in making an impact for the current No. 1 ranked squad in the nation. The MPSF Freshman of the Year is second on the team and 12th in the conference with 3.57 kills per set.  He became the first player in AVCA history to earn Sports Imports/AVCA Player of the Week honors in consecutive weeks after being selected the weeks of February 26th and March 5th. Patch earns All-American honors for the first time.

Sander, a 6-foot-4 outside hitter, hails from Huntington Beach, California. For the third year in a row, his strong right arm has terrorized opponents, ranking fifth nationally in 2013 averaging 3.85 kills per set while hitting at a .330 clip. The MPSF Player of the Year is equally lethal from behind the service line, breaking the BYU all-time career aces record in less than three seasons with a current count of 124.  The three-time All-American posted double-digit kills in 24 of 26 overall BYU matches in the regular season, including 13 against Hawai’i in the first round of the MPSF Tournament.

Lavaja leads the Cougars and is fourth in the MPSF hitting at a .456 clip. Defensively, the 6-foot-7 middle blocker also leads the team with 98 blocks, and his 1.18 blocks per set average places him 11th in the country. Lavaja is a first-time AVCA All-American.

You can view the complete AVCA All-America release here.


AVCA Division I-II Men's First-Team All-America
Name Year School
Michael Brinkley Sophomore UC Irvine
Levi Cabral Senior Cal Baptist
Brian Cook Junior Stanford
Taylor Crabb Junior Long Beach State
Dylan Davis Senior UC Santa Barbara
Ben Patch Freshman BYU
Gonzalo Quiroga Junior UCLA
Taylor Sander Junior BYU
Kevin Tillie Senior UC Irvine
Matt West Sophomore Pepperdine


AVCA Division I-II Men's Second-Team All-America
Name Year School
BJ Boldog Junior Lewis
Steven Irvine Junior Stanford
Russ Lavaja Senior BYU
Collin Mehring Junior UC Irvine
Evan Mottram Junior UCLA
Connor Olbright Junior Long Beach State
Geoff Powell Sophomore Lewis
Spencer Rowe Junior UCLA
Joseph Smalzer Junior Loyola University-Chicago
Maurice Torres Senior Pepperdine

AVCA National Player of the Year: Announced at the NCAA Championship Banquet on May 1

AVCA Newcomer of the Year: Ben Patch, BYU

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