2009 AVCA Men's Division III National Player of the Year
Andrew Cranford - Stevens Institue of Technology
2009 AVCA Division III Men's National Player of the Year
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 16, 2009) - The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) announced this evening that Stevens Institute of Technology senior middle blocker Andrew Cranford was named the 2009 AVCA Division III Men's National Player of the Year.
The presentation was made at the Molten Division III Men's Invitational Volleyball Championship Banquet in Mahwah, N.J. The banquet was held in conjunction with the Molten Division III Men's Invitational Volleyball Championship, to be played April 17-18 in the Bill Bradley Sports and Recreation Center on the campus of Ramapo College.
Cranford led Stevens to a 25-6 overall record, including going 23-3 against Division III competition this season. He has sat atop the NCAA Division III statistics report every week this year with a .505 hitting percentage and gave the Ducks 3.43 kills, 1.20 digs and 4.39 points per set, which all rank among the Northeast Collegiate Volleyball Association (NECVA) leaders. A force to be reckoned with, Cranford helped lift Stevens to the 2009 NECVA Tournament Title and into Friday's Molten Invitational semifinals as the tournament's No. 2 seed.
A native of Bel Air, Md., Cranford was instrumental for the Ducks and in the NECVA throughout his four-year career. He is a four-time NECVA All-Metro Division and four-time NECVA All-League First-Team honoree and was tabbed the conference's Newcomer of the Year in 2006. The power in the middle for the Ducks was then named the NECVA Player of the Year in 2009 and followed that by earning MVP honors after his outstanding play during the NECVA Tournament.
The senior has earned the Sports Imports/AVCA National Player of the Week award twice this season - three times in his career -- for his efforts and has helped guide Stevens to a No. 2 national ranking. The squad began the year as the No. 8 team in the Bison/AVCA Division III Men's Coaches Top 15 poll, but has steadily climbed the rankings through the season, largely due to Cranford's contributions and leadership.
Cranford was one of two Stevens' players named to the 2009 AVCA Division III All-America First-Team earlier this week, joining senior outside hitter Joe Trinsey, while sophomore setter Brandt Grobeis landed a spot on the Second-Team. The award marked the third All-America honor for Cranford, who was a Second-Team mention in 2008 and a First-Team honoree in 2006.
In the six-year history of the AVCA Division III Men's National Player of the Year award, Cranford becomes just the first athlete from Stevens to nab the prestigious honor. He joins Matt Werle, Ricky Ziegler and Kenny Eiser, all from Juniata, Bryan Shires from UC Santa Cruz and Chris Schmidt from NYU as the only recipients of the award.
AVCA Division III Men's National Player of the Year
2009 Andrew Cranford, Stevens Institute of Technology
2008 Bryan Shires, UC Santa Cruz
2007 Matt Werle, Juniata College
2006 Chris Schmidt, New York University
2005 Ricky Ziegler, Juniata College
2004 Kenny Eiser, Juniata College