MUNCIE, Ind. - - Ball State men's volleyball senior middle attacker Anders Nelson (St. Croix Falls, Wis./St. Croix Falls H.S.) has been named to the 2011 American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-America Second Team as announced today by the AVCA.
A runner-up for the inaugural "Off the Block" Blocker of the Year award, Nelson is the first Ball State men's volleyball player to earn AVCA All-America honors since the 2007 season when Ian Peckler was named to the AVCA All-America Second Team.
"Having served on the AVCA All-America committee for a number of years, I know how difficult it is for players to earn All-America honors," said Ball State head coach Joel Walton. "For Anders to receive one of the 20 slots on this year's All-America team is a testament to his consistency of play and how strongly he performed through the course of the season."
Nelson finished the 2011 campaign ranked second in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA) rankings and fourth nationally with a 1.30 blocks-per-game average. He tallied an NCAA-best 35 solo blocks to go along with 109 block assists for a total of 144 blocks. His effort at the net also had the Cardinals ranked first nationally with a team average of 3.07 blocks per game.
Nelson recorded a season-high 10 total blocks in a sweep at IPFW (Feb. 12), while posting a career-best five solo blocks in a five-game victory at Sacred Heart (Jan. 29). The only player to start all 30 matches for BSU, Nelson collected five-or-more blocks in 17 matches.
"Anders excelled in all areas of the game this season," added Walton. "In addition to his blocking and attacking numbers, Anders serving and digging skills went well beyond what we typically expect from middle attackers. He was a great leader for this year's team and is very deserving of All-American recognition."
From the attack line, Nelson blasted 2.23 kills per game, while hitting for a .406 rate of success. His hitting average ranked third in the MIVA, while his 3.15 points-per-game average was 10th. He recorded double-digit kills in nine matches, including a season-best 17 kills in a four-game victory over Saint Francis (Pa.) April 16. He also finished the year with career season-highs of 75 digs and 13 aces.
In addition to his stellar season numbers, Nelson finished his career ranked eighth in program history with 329 career block assists in just three seasons. In addition, his 396 career total blocks are 13th in program history. Both totals, along with his 67 career solo blocks, rank second in the BSU rally scoring era behind only senior middle attacker J.D. Gasparovic (St. Louis, Mo./Oakville H.S.).
Since men's volleyball became a varsity sport at Ball State for the 1964 season, a total of 24 student-athletes have combined to earn 42 All-America honors for the program. In addition, Jim East was a second team All-America selection for the Ball State club team in 1962.