April 29, 2010

Kevin McKniff, Jacek Ratacjzak Named First Team AVCA All-Americans

April 29, 2010

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The senior middle blocking duo of Kevin McKniff and Jacek Ratajczak were both named to the first team as the 2010 AVCA Division I-II Men's Volleyball All-America Team was announced by the American Volleyball Coaches Association on Thursday, Apr. 29.

McKniff and Ratajczak join Eric Vance (2008, 2009), Coley Kyman (1991, 1993), Doug English (2003), Joe Nargi (2003), Chad Strickland (1997) and Neil Coffman (1991) on the list of Cal State Northridge's AVCA First Team All-Americans. The Matadors also had two players named to the AVCA first team for the first time since Coffman and Kyman in 1991.

"Kevin and Jack both have had fantastic years," said head coach Jeff Campbell. "Some of the closest matches we've played in, and won, were because of the way Jack and Kevin played.

"What's impressive about these two guys is that everybody in the gym knows that they're getting the ball yet they still attack the ball at very high percentage."

McKniff, a 6-7 middle from Tuscon, Ariz., earned All-America honors for the first time in his career. Also a first team All-MPSF middle blocker, McKniff led the conference in hitting at .489 and was 10th in blocking at 1.11 blocks per game. He finished third on the team in kills with a career-high 333 (3.00 kpg) and was second in blocks with 123 (1.11 bpg). He was Northridge's top server with a career-high 38 and was a three-time MPSF Player of the Week during the 2010 regular season.

"Kevin came into our program and has grown as a volleyball player each and every season," said Campbell. "He was very raw early in his career but never questioned technique, he just worked his tail off to get better every single year and did that mainly because of his attitude and work ethic."

Ratajczak, a 7-0 middle blocker from Warsaw, Poland, earned All-America honors for the second time after being named to the AVCA second team in 2009. Also a first team All-MPSF pick, Ratajczak ranks second on the Matadors in kills with 341 (3.07 kpg) and was the teams' leading blocker with 124 (1.12 bpg). He ranked third in the conference in hitting at .462 and was ninth in blocking at 1.12. He was named MPSF Player of the Week on Mar. 8 after pounding a career-high 30 kills in 41 swings, without an error, in Northridge's five-set win over Hawai'i on Mar. 5.

"Jack has had a very good year so far and has really been a leader for us," said Campbell. "We're very happy that he's been getting recognition from the league and the coaches around the country.

"Both guys have led both on and off the court and have been great in terms of leadership and overall level of play."

Northridge has now had seven players receive AVCA All-America honors over the past three seasons.

Cal State Northridge (22-8) takes on BYU in the MPSF Tournament semifinals Thursday, Apr. 29 in Stanford's Maples Pavilion.

AVCA Division I-II Men's First-Team All-America Carson Clark, RS/OPP, UC Irvine Kasey Crider, S, Pepperdine University Brad Lawson, OH, Stanford University Max Lipsitz, MB, Penn State University Kevin McKniff, MB, Cal State Northridge Jacek Ratajczak, MB, Cal State Northridge Erik Shoji, L, Stanford University Kawika Shoji, S, Stanford University Andrew Stewart, OH, Brigham Young University Jonas Umlauft, RS/OPP, University of Hawai'i

AVCA Division I-II Men's Second-Team All-America Dean Bittner, RS/OPP, Long Beach State Dennis Del Valle, L, Penn State University Jordan DuFault, OH, UC Irvine Steven Kehoe, S, Ohio State University Garrett Muagututia, OH, UCLA Cory Riecks, OH, Pepperdine University Evan Romero, RS/OPP Stanford University Shawn Sangrey, RS/OPP, Ohio State University Futi Tavana, MB, Brigham Young University Joshua Walker, OH, University of Hawai'i

AVCA Division I-II Men's National Player of the Year: Announced at NCAA Championship Banquet on May 5

AVCA Division I-II Men's Newcomer of the Year: Jonas Umlauft, Hawai'i, Fr.

- GO MATADORS -

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