Colgate’s Alli Lowe is Patriot player of the year, AVCA, RPI, NCAA POWs

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Colgate's Alli Lowe is the Patriot League player of the year/Justin Wolford photo

On Monday, the Patriot League handed out the first postseason awards of 2019. As that conference and others prepare to conduct their respective tournament championships this weekend, the daily schedule of matches has slowed significantly.

Monday, there were no matches, the first Monday since the season began back in August with nothing scheduled.

The Patriot League tournament begins Tuesday with sixth-seeded Loyola Maryland at No. 3 Army West Point, and fifth-seeded Lehigh at No. 4 Navy.

The Southern Conference tournament also begins with eighth-seeded The Citadel playing host to No. 9 Chattanooga.

In regular-season action, UNLV is at New Mexico in the Mountain West, and Portland State plays host to Sacramento State in the Big Sky.

In the Mountain West, where there is no postseason tournament, league-undefeated Colorado State (26-1, 16-0) has already secured the conference title and the NCAA Tournament berth that goes with it, so the UNLV (17-10, 13-3)/New Mexico (10-18, 5-11) match won’t have any postseason implications.

Sacramento State (14-15, 9-7) has already locked in a spot in the Big Sky tournament, but Portland State (9-18, 5-11) is right on the edge. Currently sitting tied for eighth in the standings of a conference that takes eight teams in its postseason tournament, Portland State would love to have another tally in the win column to help it break away from Montana (6-21, 5-11).

AVCA Poll: Three and four were the magic numbers in this week’s new AVCA top-25 poll. Florida and Cal both fell four spots — to No. 15 for Florida and No. 24 for Cal — after losses last week.

San Diego, on the other hand, rose four to No. 20 following a defeat of BYU on Friday.

For the loss, its second to San Diego this season, BYU fell just three spots to No. 13. Washington jumped three to No. 10, and Kentucky is up three, too, rising to No. 14 after beating Florida Sunday and earning the season sweep of the Gators.

After having its ranking suffer last week following a loss to Ohio State, Wisconsin regained its spot in the top five thanks to the win over Minnesota on Thursday. The Gophers took over the Badgers’ spot at No. 7.

The top four remain the same: Texas, Pittsburgh, Baylor, and Stanford.

NCAA RPI: Baylor and Texas remain on top of the RPI, and Wisconsin jumped one from last week to No. 3, while Pittsburgh fell two to No. 5. Florida, at No. 6 last week, is now down at No. 9 after that loss to Kentucky, which is No. 8.

Stanford (No. 4), Minnesota (No. 6), Nebraska (No. 7), and Washington (No. 10) complete the top 10.

Unranked teams in the RPI top 25 are Cincinnati (No. 25), UCLA (No. 23), Southern California (No. 19), Missouri (No. 18), and Texas A&M (No. 15).

Patriot League dishes out postseason awards: The Patriot League crowned the season’s first conference players of the year. The conference doled out five postseason awards, with Colgate junior outside hitter Alli Lowe earning the league’s top honor. Lowe, the 2017 Patriot League rookie of the year, averaged 4.00 kills and 2.06 digs per set this season with a .217 hitting percentage and 40 blocks.

American’s Olivia Wassner is the setter of the year. The junior had 9.85 assists and 2.39 digs per set in the regular season and led the conference with 59 aces.

Libero of the year went to Katie Forsythe of Loyola Maryland for the second season in a row. She currently leads the nation with 726 total digs and is averaging 6.15 per set. Her dig total has already set new Loyola Maryland and Patriot League single-season records. Still only a sophomore, she ranks third all-time at Loyola Maryland with 1,423 digs.

American’s Zeynep Uzen earned the rookie title. The outside hitter averaged 2.74 kills and 3.11 points per set, hitting .305 in her first collegiate season.

Colgate coach Ryan Baker was awarded his third Patriot League Coach of the Year title after leading the Raiders to a 15-1 record and a share of the league regular season title.

AVCA POW’s: Kentucky’s Leah Edmond is the player of the week  after contributing to  road wins against South Carolina and Florida, with 30 kills and a .542 percentage against Florida, the most for a UK player since 2004. Accordingly, she is also the AVCA national player of the week.

Power-five POWs: North Carolina swept the ACC awards following a week in which it scored a major five-set victory over Florida State.

Redshirt freshman outside hitter Lauren Harrison had 18 kills, hitting .297, in that five-set win and she is the POW.

Opposite Carly Peck set career-highs with 14 kills and a .414 hitting percentage in that same match, earning the freshman OTW honor. Peck scored three kills in a row in the midst of an eight-point comeback for North Carolina in the fifth set …

For the fourth time this season, Texas opposite Skylar Fields claimed the Big 12 rookie OTW distinction. She averaged 2.8 kills per set in sweeps of Kansas State and TCU last week, hitting .359 and averaging 1.00 block per set.

Her teammate Brionne Butler received the defensive POW nod. Her 13 blocks (2.2 per set) led the conference last week, and she even had three solo stuffs in the TCU match.

Iowa State opposite Eleanor Holthaus garnered her first offensive POW honor after leading the Cyclones to a win over Oklahoma with 19 kills, hitting .310, and 13 digs …

For the third time in her career, but first time this season, Molly Haggerty earned the Big Ten POW award. The junior led Wisconsin with 24 kills in the four-set defeat of Minnesota and finished the week averaging 5.29 kills per set, hitting .387.

Wisconsin setter Sydney Hilley is the setter of the week for the fifth time this season, 10th in her career. She crushed her own career high with 78 assists in the Minnesota match and averaged 16.0 assists per set in a 2-0 week for the Badgers.

Illinois libero Morgan O’Brien had 24 digs versus Penn State and is the defensive POW. Madi Kubik averaged 4.38 kills per set and 2.25 digs per set for Nebraska last week and takes home her second freshman award …

In the Pac-12, the offensive accolades went to Washington’s Kara Bajema, who finished the week averaging 4.50 kills, 2.00 digs, and 1.00 block per set, including a career-high 33 points against Utah.

Arizona State libero Courtney Leffel is the defensive POW, scooping 50 digs in two matches last week. Arizona libero Kamaile Hiapo is the top freshman after setting a new career-high with 29 digs in a win over Oregon State …

Of course Kentucky’s Edmond had to take home the SEC’s offensive POW title as well as the AVCA honor mentioned previously.

Her teammate Gabby Curry averaged 4.12 digs per set, including 25 in the Florida match, and is the defensive POW.

Kentucky setter Madison Lilley (12.62 assists per set last week) shared the setter OTW honor with Missouri’s Andra Fuentes, who averaged 14.17 assists per set and quarterbacked her team to a .411 hitting percentage against Alabama.

Georgia’s Kacie Evans is the top freshman. She averaged 5.50 kills and 2.83 digs per set in wins over Ole Miss and Mississippi State last week.

Around the nation: Jordan Thompson has done it again. The Cincinnati outside hitter is the American Athletic Conference offensive POW for the seventh time this season. She averaged a conference-best 6.00 kills per set as she helped UC secure the regular season conference title and the top seed in the upcoming tournament.

SMU libero Montana Watts earned the league’s defensive honor after tallying 39 digs versus Tulane, the most in a single match so far this season in The American. For the week, she totaled 62 digs (7.75 per set) …

The ASUN freshman of the week, Rocio Moro of North Florida, recorded 38 digs in a four-set loss to Lipscomb, her third 30-dig match of the season. She finishes the regular season with a league-high 608 digs …

George Washington senior setter Jaimeson Lee averaged 11.88 assists per set last week, in addition to 0.88 blocks per set and 3.25 digs per set. The A10 POW set two new career-highs in Friday’s match versus Fordham with 57 assists and 24 digs.

VCU middle Gina Tuzzolo earned A10 defensive POW honors after totalling 10 blocks in her team’s win over Dayton which gave VCU the regular-season title …

Northern Arizona’s Heaven Harris, the Big Sky offensive POW, set a new career-high with 19 kills versus Montana on Friday, but then broke new own personal best again on Saturday with 20 kills versus Montana State …

Long Beach State swept the Big West awards, with Tia Chavira taking home both the POW and freshman OTW honors and Hailey Harward being named the defensive POW. Chavira just made the switch from setter to outside hitter and set career-highs with 14 kills against UCSB and then a new personal best with 16 in the Cal Poly match.

Harward received her second defensive honor of the season, averaging 4.14 digs per set and limiting LBSU opponents to a .134 hitting percentage last week …

Florida Atlantic junior Nikki Lakman is the C-USA setter of the week after setting career-highs in assists (75) and digs (19) in a five-set win over Charlotte. She had 36 assists in an earlier sweep of MTSU and finished the week averaging 13.88 assists and 3.38 digs per set …

CAA POW Sophia Davis, a James Madison freshman middle blocker, collected 31 kills on 50 swings with just one error to hit .600 last week. Towson middle Nikiya Mitchell is the defensive POW after collecting 11 blocks in her first two collegiate starts …

Milwaukee players claimed both Horizon League awards this week. Senior outside Shari Volpis is the offensive POW. She averaged 3.38 kills per set, hitting .373, and totalled 35 kills for the week. Her teammate Jess Gabowski had 50 digs in two matches last week, averaging 6.25 digs per set …

In a five-set victory over Princeton, Yale setter Frances Arnautou, the Ivy League POW, collected 45 assists, nine digs, five kills, and five blocks as she did her part to help Yale pull even with Princeton and share the Ivy League regular season title. Rookie OTW Makenzie Arent tallied 107 assists in a 3-0 week for Dartmouth …

Ball State libero Kate Avila headlined the list of six Mid-American Conference honorees. The West defensive POW helped the Cardinals win its division as she averaged 6.75 digs per set (54 total). With 2,170 career digs, Avila is 104 away from the program record. With eight sets played last week, Avila is now the leader in career sets played (474) …

Shayla Eugene, a Bethune-Cookman senior libero, is the MEAC defensive specialist OTW. She set a new program single-match digs record with 39 against North Carolina Central on Sunday. She is also the new program leader for single-season digs with 503 and counting.

NC Central’s Celene Morris is the setter OTW after recording double-doubles in a pair of matches last week: 43 assists and 13 digs versus Florida A&M and 58 assists and 12 digs versus Bethune-Cookman …

Missouri Valley Conference POW Kaylee Martin of Illinois State had 49 kills in two matches, averaging 5.44 kills per set …

Colorado State Kirstie Hillyer earned her second Mountain West weekly honor, claiming this week’s defensive POW crown. The senior middle had 13 blocks in two matches, averaging 2.17 blocks per set and helped hold CSU’s opponents to a .054 and -.073 hitting percentages …

Robert Morris middle Emma Granger received an NEC-record seventh conference POW honor of the season. Last week, the junior came close to breaking her own record with 30.5 points against LIU. She averaged 5.86 kills, 1.29 blocks, 0.57 service aces, and 7.07 points per set on the week.

Gianna Scioletti is the defensive POW. The Sacred Heart senior middle collected 22 blocks in three matches last week …

OVC offensive POW Rachel Giustino set a new career-high with 33 kills against Austin Peay, hitting .371, and a new season high with five blocks …

Gylian Finch claimed the first weekly honor of the season for Chattanooga as she hit .358 averaging 4.50 kills per set in the team’s first two conference wins of 2019.

On the other end of the spectrum, Western Carolina libero Meagan Sanchez claimed the defensive POW for the seventh time this year, eighth in her career. She is only the second SoCon player to earn eight career weekly honors. Last week, Sanchez averaged 7.14 digs per set in a pair of matches …

With 41 kills in two matches, hitting .311, Central Arkansas senior outside hitter Abbie Harry is the Southland offensive POW. Her defensive counterpart is teammate Emily Doss, who had 39 digs in a pair of matches last week …

For the fifth time this season, the Sun Belt named Anett Nemeth of Coastal Carolina the offensive POW. She had 30 kills and 13 digs against Troy and 21 kills against South Alabama last week.

Appalachian State Sam Bickley collected 94 assists in a pair of victories and is the setter OTW.

And in topping 50 assists in a match for the seventh time in her sole collegiate season, Coastal Carolina setter Brigitta Petrenko earned the freshman OTW award …

Kazna Tarawhiti leads the WAC in kills and points per set and held onto that position with impressive performances last week. She contributed 5.75 kills per set, hitting.400, in a pair of wins for Utah Valley. The WAC offensive POW set a new season-high with 25 kills against Seattle.

The defensive honoree is CSU Bakersfield libero Rafa Bonifacio, who averaged a WAC-best 6.22 digs per set last week. Bonifacio only became a libero a month ago after starting the season as an outside hitter. Her 39 digs against UTRGV marked the highest single-match total in the WAC in 2019 …

And to wrap up this lengthy list, Anna Newsome garnered top honors in the WCC. The San Diego setter quarterbacked her team to an upset of BYU with 49 assists and 13 digs. She added five kills, hitting .556 with zero hitting errors.

 

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