Most Valuable Player - Jose Loiola Rookie of the Year - Dax Holdren & Todd Rogers Offensive Player - Jose Loiola Defensive Player - Adam Johnson/Mike Dodd/Troy Tanner Most Inspirational - Mike Dodd Comeback Player - Karch Kiraly Most Improved - Troy Tanner Ron Von Hagen Award (Most Underrated) - Troy Tanner Sportsman - Karch Kiraly Special Achievement - Canyon Ceman & Dain Blanton (Grand Slam win in Hermosa)
Loiola will receive the MVP award after beginning his 1997 campaign by becoming only the third player to be crowned King of the Beach, the first foreign-born player to do so. Loiola's success continued as he teamed with 1996 MVP Kent Steffes to become the first international player to surpass the $1 million mark in career earnings - only the eighth player in history to achieve that milestone.
I will be very happy to receive the MVP award, but I am even more honored to be recognized as the Most Valuable Player by my peers within the AVP," said Loiola.
Loiola, known for his hard spike, jump serves and leaping ability, will also be named the AVP's Best Offensive Player for the second consecutive year as he tallied a season-high 11 tournament wins Steffes. He also be honored as the BMW Ultimate Player after leading all AVP players in 1997 with 108 blocks and 241 service aces.
Also highlighting the Miller Lite/AVP Tour awards banquet will be 40-year old Olympic silver medalists Mike Dodd who will be honored for the second consecutive year as the Most Inspirational Player. Dodd will also share Best Defensive Player accolades along with tour veterans Adam Johnson and Troy Tanner.
Three-time Olympic gold medalist Karch Kiraly will receive Comeback Player of the Year honors, recording four tournament wins after missing the first seven weeks of the season while coming back from a shoulder injury. "Although I have been able to win a few tournaments this season after coming back from my injury, I look forward to training hard in the off season and win even more torunaments in 1998," said Kiraly. Kiraly will also be named the 1997 Sportsman of the Year.
Other top award winners to be announced tonight include: Dax Holdren & Todd Rogers (Co-Rookies of the Year), Troy Tanner (Most Improved Player & Ron Von Hagen Award), and Canyon Ceman & Dain Blanton (AVP Special Achievement)