1994 Men's National Player of the Year
UCLA'S Jeff Nygaard Named 1994 AVCA Men's National Player of the Year
Colorado Springs, Colo. - The 1994 AVCA National Player of the Year for NCAA men's volleyball is UCLA junior middle blocker Jeff Nygaard. He is UCLA's first Player of the Year honoree in men's volleyball.
A two-time AVCA First-Team All-American (1993 and 1994), Nygaard hopes to lead his No. 1 Bruin squad to its second straight national title this weekend. The 1994 NCAA Men's Volleyball Championship is May 6-7 in Fort Wayne, Ind. Completing the field of NCAA title contenders are Ball State, Penn State and Indiana-Purdue, Fort Wayne.
Nygaard, one of five all-time All-Americans from UCLA, was selected the 1994 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Player of the Year and was named First-Team All-MPSF the last two seasons. As only a freshman, he was named Third-Team All-WIVA. His other honors in 1994 include being named AVCA National Player of the Week on Feb. 14 and MPSF Player of the Week on Feb. 14 and March 21.
The UCLA Bruins, behind Nygaard's outstanding play both offensively and defensively, are 26-1 overall and finished a perfect 14-0 in the MPSF. With a 3-0 shutout over No. 2 Stanford last week, the Bruins claimed the MPSF automatic bid for the NCAA championship.
In the final national statistical rankings from May 2, Nygaard ranks No. 2 nationally in blocks per game (1.94), No. 3 in kills per game (7.01), No. 7 in service aces per game (.541) and No. 17 in hitting percentage (.412). As a team, the Bruins lead the nation in hitting percentage (.378). Nygaard is at the top of the conference in the following statistical categories: kills per game, blocks per game and service aces per game.
Nygaard tied a UCLA single match record earlier this season with 37 kills at Long Beach State on March 16. He also recorded 11 total blocks in the victory over the 49ers. All told, Nygaard has hit .500 or better in eight matches in 1994, including a season-high single match percentage of .714 (10 kills, 0 errors on 14 attempts). He also recorded 35 kills in three matches and 30 in another match.
Besides playing for head coach Al Scates at UCLA, Nygaard has seen action in 25 international matches for the USA National Men's Volleyball Team and is regarded as a likely starter in Atlanta, Ga., for the 1996 Olympic team and head coach Fred Sturm.