FAIRFAX, Va. >> University of Hawaii setter Jakob Thelle added to his already extensive collection of awards today in being named the American Volleyball Coaches Association National Player of the Year.
A two-time Big West Player of the Year and AVCA first-team All-American, Thelle became the fourth Rainbow Warrior — and first setter — to earn the National Player of the Year award since its inception in 1991. He joins Yuval Katz (1996), Costas Theocharidis (2001, ’03) and Rado Parapunov (2021) as UH’s recipients of the top honor in collegiate men’s volleyball.
Thelle was presented the award at the banquet preceding tomorrow’s semifinal round of the National Collegiate Men’s Volleyball Championship.
Thelle played an instrumental role in UH’s back-to-back national championships and was the MVP of the last two Big West Tournaments. He’s helped the Warriors (28-2) earn a shot at a third straight NCAA title as second-seeded UH prepares for Thursday’s semifinal match against Penn State at EagleBank Arena.
Thelle sat out seven matches early in the season to rest his knees and has played every set over the last 17 matches and enters the NCAA Tournament leading the nation in assists per set (10.73) while leading a UH attack that ranks second in hitting percentage at .373.
The 6-foot-6 senior from Norway also has 28 service aces this season and is tied for the program’s career record with 121 and is a threat to score on his turns through the front row.
“I’ve said for a couple years now once he started really getting comfortable being the full-time leader he the became unicorn in the sense of I couldn’t come up with a comp. Where was there another collegiate setter that was doing the number of things on the court?” UH coach Charlie Wade said during today’s NCAA Tournament press conference. “He impacts the game in so many ways throughout a match that it’s really hard to find a comparison.”
Thelle is the first setter to win the award since Long Beach State’s Josh Tuaniga in 2018.
Read More: UH setter Jakob Thelle named AVCA National Player of the Year 2023-05-03 23:35:42