SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The inaugural Big West Men's Volleyball All-Conference Team was announced on Monday, and UC Santa Barbara landed four selections highlighted by First Team honoree Corey Chavers. Keenan Sanders and Connor Drake earned Honorable Mention while Jack Truman was named to the All-Freshman Team.
Chavers, a 6-foot-4 junior outside hitter, led the Gauchos with 255 kills in 22 matches while averaging 3.27 kills per set, ranking Top-10 in the Big West in each category. The Downey, Calif. native ranked fifth in the nation and third in the conference with 8.73 attacks per set and also was a force at the net with a total of 58 blocks to rank third on the team. He racked up double-digit kills in 13 matches, including a career-high 24 in a 3-1 win at Pepperdine on Jan. 20. His lone double-double of the season (13 kills, 11 digs) helped propel UCSB past CSUN 3-1 in a pivotal conference matchup. That match was in the midst of four straight double-digit kill tallies that Chavers put together during Big West play.
After earning Freshman All-American and MPSF All-Freshman Team honors last season, Sanders continued his strong play as a sophomore to earn Big West Honorable Mention accolades. The 6-foot-6 opposite finished second on the team with 247 kills in 19 matches and led the Gauchos with an average of 3.58 kills per set. Sanders also proved to be an efficient attacker, hitting a .249 clip, which ranked Top-10 in the conference among those with more than 350 attempts. He tallied 15 matches with double-digit kills, including 12 in-a-row over a two month span from Jan. 27 to Mar. 28. His 3.14 kills per set during conference play led UCSB and ranked Top-10 in the Big West.
Drake joins Sanders with Honorable Mention honors after leading UCSB at the net with 75 total blocks, averaging nearly one (0.99) per set, to rank sixth in the Big West. The 6-foot-8 middle blocker finished fourth on the team with 113 kills and hit an efficient .324. He also put together at least one block in all but two games and tallied a career-high nine total blocks on two separate occasions, in the opener against NJIT (Jan. 4) and at CSUN (Mar. 30). In a five-set win over UC San Diego in the conference opener, Drake tallied a season-high 12 kills on 24 attempts for a .417 hitting percentage.
Rounding out the honorees is 6-foot-11 middle blocker Jack Truman, who was named to the All-Freshman Team. Truman, a Redondo Beach, Calif. native, played in just 12 matches, but was a force to be reckoned with when on the court. In his collegiate debut, he tallied a season and career-high 15 kills while hitting .524 against Saint Francis (Jan. 5). He averaged .90 blocks per set, finishing with at least one block in every match that he played more than one set and finished with a season-high six blocks three times.
Regular season champion and No. 1 ranked Long Beach State landed TJ DeFalco as the 2018 Big West Player of the Year while Alan Knipe was named Coach of the Year. UC Irvine's Joel Schneidmiller was awarded Freshman of the Year.
UCSB (11-12, 4-6) finished as the No. 5 seed in the conference and will play No. 4 CSUN this Thursday, Apr. 19 at 7:30 p.m. at the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, Calif.