Way-Too-Early 2019 VM Men’s Top 20 (#1-5): LBSU Back At the Top

  0 Derek Johnson | July 05th, 2018 | Big West, College - Men's Indoor, MPSF, News, Rankings

With the start of July, we are about six months out from the start of the 2019 Men’s DI-II Volleyball season. That will be the opportunity for Long Beach State to defend their National Championship after downing UCLA in 2018. We should see plenty of those two teams along with their two leagues competing once again. With that being said, it’s time for VolleyMob’s Way-Too-Early 2018 Preseason Top 20.

Since these rankings are early and we don’t necessarily have the full picture in terms of recruiting and transfers still to come, most of this is based on experience and starters returning. As we move closer to the winter, we will update our rankings as needed. Until then, we will release five teams at a time this week, leading to the culmination of #1-5 today.


  • 2018 Finish/Rank: National Champions, #1 in final VM Top 20
  • 2018 Record: 28-1 (9-1, 1st Big West)
  • Starters That Can Return for 2018: 5 + Libero
  • Key Returners: OH TJ DeFalco (2018 AVCA First-Team AA), OH/RS Kyle Ensing (2018 AVCA First-Team AA), S Josh Tuaniga (2018 AVCA First-Team AA), MB Nick Amado (2018 AVCA Second-Team AA), MB Simon Anderson (2018 AVCA All-America HM)
  • Key Losses: OH Bjarne Huus (2018 Big West HM)
  • Bottom Line: If they really want to, the 49ers can return essentially their entire core that led them to the National Championship. One of the biggest pieces of that all – TJ DeFalco – already announced his intentions to return in 2019 back at the start of this year. In fact, four of the five returning starters would all be seniors. Talk about experience, talent and achievement all wrapped up into one. Not only would they be the favorites again in 2019, but they might even be favored to go undefeated after a 28-1 season in 2018, although the Big West should be quite the challenge.


  • 2018 Finish/Rank: NCAA Tournament, #6 in final VM Top 20
  • 2018 Record: 21-10 (6-4, T-2nd Big West)
  • Starters That Can Return for 2018: 6 + Libero
  • Key Returners: RS Karl Apfelbach (2018 AVCA Second-Team AA), MB Scott Stadick (2018 AVCA Second-Team AA), OH Joel Schneidmiller (2018 AVCA All-America HM, Big West Freshman of the Year), OH Aaron Koubi (2018 AVCA All-America HM), L David Parker (2018 Big West HM), S Dante Chakravorti (2018 Big West HM), MB Austin Wilmot (2018 Big West Freshman Team)
  • Key Losses: None with award recognition
  • Bottom Line: The Anteaters technically had two seniors in Aaron Koubi and David Parker, but UC Irvine lists them both as juniors who have utilized redshirts. We will trust them on the matter, meaning they would be returning their entire starting lineup for 2019. They’ve got NCAA Tournament experience now too and plenty of talent to match.


  • 2018 Finish/Rank: Big West Championship Match, #4 in final VM Top 20
  • 2018 Record: 19-8 (6-4, T-2nd Big West)
  • Starters That Can Return for 2018: 6
  • Key Returners: OH Stijn van Tilburg (2018 AVCA First-Team AA), S Joe Worsley (2018 AVCA Second-Team AA), MB Patrick Gasman (2018 AVCA All-America HM), RS Rado Parapunov (2018 AVCA All-America HM), DS/L Gage Worsley (2018 Big West Freshman Team)
  • Key Losses: L Larry Tuileta (2018 AVCA First-Team AA) 
  • Bottom Line: Hawaii slides right behind UC Irvine, who has the extra starter with the libero, but they should be neck-and-neck with the Anteaters once again in 2019. Beyond that, they should be ready to challenge LBSU again as the only team who was able to take them down. They’ll have to overcome the loss of Tuileta and OH Austin Matautia (transfer to UCLA), but have plenty back. Those two along with these Rainbow Warriors should make for a dynamic race in the Big West next season.


  • 2018 Finish/Rank: National Runner-Up, #2 in final VM Top 20
  • 2018 Record: 26-8 (9-3, 2nd MPSF)
  • Starters That Can Return for 2018: 3 + Libero
  • Key Returners: MB Daenan Gyimah (2018 AVCA First-Team AA), S Micah Ma’a (2018 AVCA First-Team AA), OH Dylan Missry (2018 MPSF Second-Team)
  • Key Losses: OH Jake Arnitz (2018 AVCA Second-Team AA), OH/L JT Hatch (2018 AVCA Second-Team AA), RS Christian Hessenauer (2018 AVCA Second-Team AA), MB Oliver Martin (2018 MPSF HM)
  • Bottom Line: The Bruins were so close to winning it all in 2018, and will look to get over that hump in 2019 with two vital stars back to lead the way. Dylan Missry was also a key component to UCLA almost winning the title and should have a nice jump-off point for 2019 with an increased role. They also welcome former Hawaii OH Austin Matautia who hit .349 in his sophomore season. What keeps them out of the top three though is the loss of four important pieces that they will need to replace.


  • 2018 Finish/Rank: Volley Four, #3 in final VM Top 20
  • 2018 Record: 22-7 (10-2, 1st MPSF)
  • Starters That Can Return for 2018: 3 + Libero
  • Key Returners: RS Gabi Garcia Fernandez (2018 AVCA Second-Team AA), MB Felipe de Brito Ferreira (2018 MPSF HM)
  • Key Losses: OH Brenden Sander (2018 AVCA First-Team AA), S Leo Durkin (2018 AVCA All-America HM), MB Price Jarman (2018 AVCA All-America HM)
  • Bottom Line: BYU still has plenty of firepower back for 2019, led by a pair of sophomores-to-be. The issue is that the three starters they lose were critical pieces to last season’s MPSF regular and post-season championships. On the bright side, BYU did get some experience without Jarman, who was injured and missed some time during the year.

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