After four years serving the UCSB men’s volleyball team, senior middle blocker Dylan Davis was honored this past week with the Off The Block/Springbak, Inc. National Blocker of the Year award as voted upon by coaches and the media.
“It’s one of those things I’ve never really aimed for; it kind of caught me by surprise,” Davis said. “It’s a huge honor and getting it my senior year makes it mean that much more to me.”
Davis earned the award after an impressive season where he led the country in hitting percentage (.438), total blocks (151) and ranked third in blocks per game (1.37). With 441 total blocks in his career, Davis finished third overall in program history in the category and set a UCSB record in block assists (384).
Davis was named as one of three finalists for the reward on April 18 and beat out Long Beach State’s Taylor Gregory and Ball State’s Matt Leske to win the honor, earning 32 points as opposed to second place Leske who finished with 25 points. Despite the individual achievements, Davis still acknowledges the important role his teammates and coaching staff played this season.
“They were absolutely everything; without them there’s no way I would’ve even come close to getting the numbers I did this year,” Davis said. “The coaching staff and the team — they’ve all been pushing me to be the best player I can be. I think I did that my senior year.”
This is the second major honor bestowed on Davis this season. Earlier he was selected as an All-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation first team selection, being one of only two middle blockers to be selected for the first team.
“I was just trying to be the best I could be and whatever came out of that I gladly accept,” Davis said. “These rewards mean a lot to me and I’m really glad I got them, but these weren’t something I was planning on from the get go.”
This season alone Davis recorded double-digit kills on six occasions, including a season-high 14 kills against UC San Diego on Feb. 1. Davis had his most complete game of the season while on the road versus USC, where he put up a double-double with 11 kills, 14 blocks and a .500 hitting percentage.
“Our win against USC — that was one of the games where we turned it around and got our win streak going,” Davis said. “That was one of the bigger games this year.”
Although his collegiate career might have ended last week after the Gauchos lost to UC Irvine in the first round of the MPSF playoffs, his professional career is just beginning as he aspires to play professionally and for the national team in the Olympics. If he gets there, Davis will be the first one to thank the UCSB volleyball program for helping him get there.
“Without these guys I don’t think I would’ve become the kind of person I am today, I really have to thank them for getting me out of my shell that I had when I came out of high school,” Davis said. “They all pushed me to be a better person. It’s a great program with a great group of guys.”
This article is an online exclusive and did not appear in the print edition of the Daily Nexus.
Photo by Daniel Wade of the Daily Nexus.