1995 Men's National Player of the Year
UCLA'S Jeff Nygaard Named 1995 AVCA Men's National Player of the Year
Colorado Springs, Colo. - No surprise here. Senior middle blocker Jeff Nygaard of UCLA, the best player on the nation's top-ranked team, is the AVCA Men's National Player of the Year for the second straight season.
Nygaard, who became UCLA's first Player of the Year honoree in men's volleyball last year, is the first two-time AVCA Player of the Year. A three-time AVCA First-Team All-American (1993, '94 and '95, another first), Nygaard hopes to lead the Bruins to the national championship this weekend. The 1995 NCAA Men's Volleyball Championship is May 5 and 6 in Springfield, Mass. Ball State, Hawai'i and defending national champion Penn State join UCLA in vying for the title.
Nygaard, one of seven all-time AVCA All-Americans from UCLA, was selected the 1995 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Player of the Year for the second straight year and for the last three years was named First-Team All-MPSF. As a freshman, he was named Third-Team All-WIVA. His other honors in 1995 include being named AVCA National Player of the Week and MPSF Player of the Week on March 13.
This season the Bruins, thanks to Nygaard's play both offensively and defensively, plus the contribution, of three other AVCA All-American starters, are 29-1 overall and finished a perfect 19-0 in tht MPSF for the second straight year. With a 3-1 victory over second-ranked Hawai'i last week, the Bruins claimed the MPSF automatic bid for the NCAA championship for the third consecutive season.
In the final national statistical rankings released May 1, Nygaard ranked No. 3 nationally in blocks per game (1.91), No. 11 in hitting percentage (.424) and No. 20 in kills per game (5.11). As a team, the Bruins are ranked fifth in the nation in hitting percentage (.362). In conference matches, Nygaard led the MPSF in blocks per game, was second in hitting percentage and ninth in service aces.
Nygaard became the Bruins all-time kills leader earlier this season and enters tomorrow night's match against Ball State with 1,769 career kills. All told, Nygaard hit .500 or better in 10 matches in 1995 and had 20 or more kills in a match 12 times on the year. In his career he has recorded double-figure blocks 11 times, good enough for fifth place on the all-time AVCA list.