UC Santa Cruz’s Bryan Shires Named AVCA Division III Men's National Player of the Year


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Lexington, Ky. - The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) announced this evening that University of California, Santa Cruz senior outside hitter Bryan Shires was named the 2008 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 Springfield, Mass. The banquet was held in conjunction with the Molten Division III Men's Invitational Volleyball Championship, to be played April 11-12 in Blake Arena on the campus of Springfield College.

Shires, a native of San Diego, Calif., has totaled 14 matches this season in which he recorded at least 10 kills, while playing a schedule of predominately Division I, II and NAIA opponents. Three of those outings have come against perennial Division I powers: the Banana Slugs leader smashed 10 kills against defending NCAA Division I National Champion UC Irvine, and also drilled 13 kills against UCLA and 14 kills against UC Santa Barbara, with both of those squads holding national rankings.

Twice, the sparkplug on the outside hit the 20-kill mark during the season, the first coming in a 3-1 victory over Carthage, a team currently ranked No. 9 in the CBS College Sports Network/AVCA Division III Coaches Top 15 poll and that owned a No. 4 ranking at the time.

"As far as him as a player and us as a program, the program has excelled as he has grown as a player," stated Banana Slugs' Head Coach Jonah Carson. "The team has grown as he has grown. He brings a lot to the table, including hard work and many intangibles."

Shires has led UC Santa Cruz to a 14-10 overall record, including going 8-1 against Division III competition this season. He leads the Banana Slugs' attack corps with 3.27 kills per game and a .259 kill percentage, while averaging nearly four kills per game against Division III opponents. The senior has earned the Sports Imports/AVCA National Player of the Week award once this season for his efforts and has helped guide UC Santa Cruz to a No. 1 national ranking. The squad has sat at No. 1 for five of 13 regular-season polls and has never slipped below the No. 3 spot.

Shires was one of three Banana Slug players named to the 2008 AVCA Division III All-America First Team earlier this week, joining sophomores Austin Einhorn and Brad Sullivan. It was the second consecutive season he was named to an AVCA All-America Team, garnering Second Team honors in 2007.

In the now-five-year history of the AVCA Division III Men's National Player of the Year award, Shires becomes the first athlete from UC Santa Cruz to win the prestigious honor. He joins Matt Werle, Ricky Ziegler and Kenny Eiser, all from Juniata, and Chris Schmidt from NYU as the only recipients of the award.

AVCA Division III Men's National Player of the Year
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

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