Syracuse’s Silvi Uattara and Duke’s Leah Meyer took home this week’s ACC honors. The Player of the Week honor is the second of the season for Uattara who collected 43 kills in the Orange’s 1-3 loss to Virginia Tech and the 3-1 defeat of Pittsburgh. She added 10 blocks and 25 digs to the 1-1 weekend. Freshman of the Week Meyer contributed 12 kills and four block assists in the Blue Devils’ sweep of Miami and 10 kills and six block assists in the 1-3 loss to Florida State. For the year, the Clarence, New York, native ranks third on the team with 277 kills and boasts a .301 hitting percentage.
Cincinnati’s freshman pin hitter Jordan Thompson recorded a match-high 24 kills and nine digs in the Bearcats’ four set victory over USF. In their next match, she led the team with 14 kills, hitting .387 to help sweep UCF. These performances earned Thompson the conference’s Offensive Player of the Week honor. Morgan Heise, a junior libero at SMU, claimed the Defensive Player of the Week award after averaging 6.12 digs per set on SMU’s way to claiming the AAC regular season title and NCAA bid this week. Heise broke her own—and SMU’s—single-season digs record after posting 38 digs against Temple, totaling 658 for the season.
Albany and New Hampshire shared the regular season America East title and claimed four of the five year-end individual awards. Liana Leindecker of Albany and Demi Muses of New Hampshire were Co-Players of the Year. Leindecker ranks second in the league with 3.51 kills per set, while Muses ranks third in the conference with a .287 hitting percentage. Rookie of the Year went to Makenzie Morgen of UMBC who boasted 3.16 kills per set in conference hitting .257, eighth best in the conference. New Hampshire’s Keelin Severtson earned Setter of the Year honors, claiming the award for a UNH player for the second year in a row. The junior led the conference with 9.51 assets per set and led her team to a conference second-best .203 hitting percentage. Albany libero Nicole Otero was named Defensive Specialist of the Year, leading the league with 4.84 digs per set as a freshman. Albany also took home the Coaching Staff of the Year award, the third straight such honor for head coach MJ Engstrom. The Great Danes went 11-1 in conference, it’s best conference finish since 2011.
Dayton took home three of the A-10’s year-end awards. Alaina Turner was named Player of the Year, Janna Krafka Libero of the Year, and Jane Emmenecker Setter of the Year. All three women earned the same awards in 2014. Turner ranks 21 in the nation with 4.94 points per set; Krafka, leads the conference with 4.33 digs per set; and Emmenecker quarterbacked her team to a conference-leading .285 hitting percentage. Davidson middle Sabrina Shepherd and George Washington outside Kelsey Clark were named Co-Rookies of the Year. Shepard earned three A-10 Rookie of the Week honors three times this season and was one of only two players to rank in the top five in hitting percentage and blocks per set. Clark was second on her team in kills and points. The A-10 also Dayton head coach Tim Horsmon and Rhode Island head coach Bob Schneck Co-Coaches of the Year.
The Lipscomb Bisons, who are sitting pretty after earning their NCAA berth with the conference final win over X, had more to celebrate with the announcement of the conference year-end honors. Brittany Estes earned Player of the Year honors. She was joined by Kayla Ostrom who was named Setter of the Year. Estes averaged 3.72 kills per set in her senior year in additional to contributing 254 digs. Ostrom led the conference in assists with 1,322, averaging 12.02 assists. Jacksonville’s Mayara Prestes took home the Defensive Player of the Year honor, leading the conference in total digs with 553. She collected 20 or more digs in 18 of the team’s 23 matches this year. She is the first Jacksonville player ever to take home the defensive award. Amanda Carroll of Florida Gulf Coast claimed the Freshman of the Year award after earning the weekly honor three times this season. She led her team in 393 kills, ranking second in the conference. Kennesaw State’s Keith Schunzel was selected as the Coach of the Year after mentoring a team that collected 17 wins—tying the most in program history.
Players from Oklahoma and Kansas landed weekly awards from the Big 12 Conference. OU’s Kierra Holst collected 17 kills in a sweep of Texas Christian, leading the lead for the week in kills per set with 5.67, and earning the Offensive Player of the Week honor. The Coppell, Texas, native and outside hitter leads the Sooners with 261 kills so far this season. Fellow Sooner Audrey Alford was named Rookie of the Week after quarterbacking OU to the TCU sweep. In that match, she collected 39 assists, along with five digs, two blocks assists, and an ace. Defensive honors went to Kansas’ Cassie Wait. The junior libero led the Big 12 in digs per set last week and helped lead Kanas to a sweep of West Virginia. For the year, Wait ranked third in the Big 12 in digs per set. She also lays claim to the only double-double by a Big 12 libero this year, collecting 21 digs and 10 assists in the Jayhawks match versus TCU last week.
Xavier outside hitter Abbey Bessler, Seton Hall libero Tessa Fournier, Creighton outside Jaali Winters, and Creighton coach Kristen Bernthal Booth scored all-conference individual honors. Kessler has accumulated an impressive 4.59 points per set in additional to setting a school record for kills in a match when she put away 33 swings against St. John’s early in the season. The Libero of the Year honor is Fournier’s second consecutive season claiming the positional award. She led the conference in digs (583) and digs per set (5.16) in her junior season. Winters was unanimously named Freshman of the Year after leading Creighton in kills (454), kills per set (3.98), double-doubles (14), points (498), and points per set (4.37). The Coaching Staff of the Year award is Booth and Creighton’s first and the honor pays respect to a remarkable season in which Creighton claimed its second-consecutive conference title and a 17-1 league record.
Northern Arizona’s Janae Vander Ploeg headlined the Big Sky season-ending honors, landing the MVP award. Vander Ploeg led the conference in kills, kills per set, and points per set, averaging 4.71 kills per set overall and 4.92 in league play. Her tally of 513 kills for the year helped make her NAU’s all-time career kills leader. Hannah Sackett earned Top Newcomer honors and was named First Team All-Conference. The senior transfer who came to Montana after starting her collegiate career at West Virginia ranked second in the league in kills and points. McKenzie Hart of North Dakota defended her Libero of the Year title, claiming the honor for the second consecutive season. Averaging 6.35 digs per set, she set a new conference single-season record and with 768 total digs tied the record for digs in a season. Portland State’s Jenna Mullen was recognized as the Outstanding Freshman of the Year. Mullen ranked ninth in the league in kills and service aces per set and 10th in points overall. The league’s coached voted Sacramento State head coach Ruben Volta to be the conference Coach of the Year after he led the Hornets through an epic turnaround, taking the team from an 8-23 record in 2014 to a 25-6 record (12-4 in conference) this year.
Wisconsin’s Haleigh Nelson nabbed two Big Ten weekly honors thanks to putting away 30 kills in wins over Illinois and Ohio State. The Player of the Week and Defensive Player of the Week tied her career-high of 18 kills in the five-set battle with Illinois in addition to seven block assists. Rachel Minarick of Michigan State and Nebraska’s Kelly Hunter share the Setter of the Week honors. Both sophomores averaged 12.71 assists per set, with Minarick leading the Spartans to wins over Northwestern and Rutgers and Hunter guiding her Huskers to victories in matches versus Indiana and Michigan. The honor is Minarick’s third and Hunter’s second career Setter of the Week honor. Perrysburg, Ohio, native Audra Appold was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week after hitting .378 for the week. It is her third conference Freshman of the Week award.
Thanks to her contributions in three road wins that helped secure a share of the Big West title for Hawaii, Nikki Taylor earned the conference Player of the Week award. The Hawaii native posted 46 kills, 13 digs, nine blocks, and four aces in the sweeps of Cal Poly, UC Irvine, and UC Santa Barbara Aeryn Owens and Katie Sato of Cal State Northridge took home the conference Freshman and Defensive Player of the Week awards, respectively. Owens’ 17 kills helped propel the Matadors to victory over UC Riverside after going down 0-2 to start the match. She also contributed 16 kills to the win over Cal State Fullerton. Sato’s 33 digs in the Cal State Fullerton match marked a new career high and she collected 15 digs versus UC Riverside.
Conference champ Western Kentucky claimed three of the Conference USA individual awards; however, it was North Texas’ Carnae Dillard who earned the top honor. Dillard was named Player of the Year for the second-consecutive season. This year, the senior also became the North Texas all-time kills leader, and she leads the nation in six offensive categories. WKU setter Jessica Lucas was named Setter of the Year, while teammate Rachel Anderson took Rookie of the Year honors. Southern Miss’ Mary Pursell led the league in total digs (640) and digs per set (4.85) before being named Libero of the Year. WKU head coach Travis Hudson takes home the Coach of the Year honor after leading his squad to a 28-3 season and the conference championship.
UIC senior Stephenee Yancy earned the conference Player of the Year award for the second year in a row. Green Bay’s Jillian Bauer was the league’s Defensive Player of the Year, while Oakland’s Ciara Schultz claimed Setter of the Year honors, and Northern Kentucky’s Haley Libs was Freshman of the Year. Cleveland State coach Chuck Voss was voted Coach of the Year thanks to his team’s conference championship season.
Princeton’s Cara Mattaliano earned the Ivy League Player of the Year honor, helping the Tigers turn around a season that started 0-3 and ended in claiming a share of the Ivy regular season title. Harvard’s Christina Cornelius staked claim to the Rookie of the Year honor, leading the league with 122 total blocks and ranking in the top five nationally in blocks per set. Junior libero Cassie Wes represented Columbia on the first team and earned the Defensive Player of the Year honor after leading her Lions team to the highest dig total in the league. Dartmouth’s Erin Lindsey and Princeton’s Sabrina King shared the Coach of the Year title.
The coaches of the MAC voted Northern Illinois’ head coach Ray Gooden conference Coach of the Year. This is Gooden’s fourth conference Coach of the Year honor, tying him for the second-most in conference history. Golden led his team to a 19-11 overall record, 14-2 in the MAC; however, the Huskies lost in the conference finals to end their season. Gooden’s outside hitter T’ara Austin earned the conference Player of the Year honor—the first NIU athlete to do so since 2011. The junior from Joliet, Illinois, led the conference in kills (419), kills per set (4.28), total points (459.5), and points per set (4.69). Alexis Gonzalez of NIU claimed the Setter of the Year designation. Her 11.25 assists per set in conference play was second in the league as she directed her team to the best hitting percentage in the conference. She also collected 29 aces on the season. Defensive honors for the season went to Kent State’s Challen Geraghty after earning the weekly honor three times. The sophomore libero boasted 604 digs (5.59 digs per set), the second most in program history. Her conference digs per set (6.08) led the league, while her overall numbers rank her eighth nationally. Hailey Knecht claimed the Freshman of the Year honor—marking the fifth-consecutive year a Western Michigan player has earned the award. The libero leads all freshman nationally with 5.17 digs per set and her 631 digs total ranks sixth all-time in single season totals at WMU.
Siena College players claimed both the MAAC Player and Setter of the Year honors. POY Briana Flagg led the conference in kills per set (4.02) and points per set (4.30), meanwhile top setter Haley Howell led the league in assists per set (10.50) and boasts 3,200 career assists. Niagara’s Rylee Hunt takes home the Libero of the Year honor after leading the conference in digs per set (5.13) and ranking third in total digs (534). Also valuable behind the service line, Hunt averaged o.34 aces per set, good for ninth in the conference. Hailey Riede of Rider University was named MAAC Freshman of the Year. The 6-2 right side’s .240 hitting percentage ranked her second among MAAC freshmen. She also ranked third among freshman in kills per set (2.59) and points per game (2.87). Fairfield University’s Todd Kress was named MAAC Coach of the Year after leading his team to the regular season championship with a 14-4 conference record. This is Kress’ fourth MAAC Coach of the Year honor.
Missouri State sophomore outside Lily Johnson garnered Player of the Week honors from the MVC, after helping her team sweep Evansville and Southern Illinois. In those two matches, Johnson averaged 6.17 kills per set and seven points per set, hitting .378. This week, Johnson also became the first Missouri State sophomore, and only the 20th MSU player ever, to reach 1,000 kills. MVC Defensive Player of the Week went to Southern Illinois’ Taylor Pippen who added 10 blocks to SIU’s two matches this weekend. The senior middle blocker ranks second in the conference with 1.29 blocks per set in conference play. Missouri State libero Emily Butters averaged 6.17 digs per set this week, helping to hold MSU opponents to a .123 hitting percentage, and earning the Freshman of the Week recognition.
Colorado State sophomore middle blocker Alexandra Poletto was named Defensive Player of the Week for the Mountain West after averaging 2.57 blocks per set in wins over UNLV and Fresno State. Offensive Player of the Week went to senior setter Hannah Johnson of New Mexico. Her 78 kills on the week helped lead the Lobos fro wins over Boise State and Utah State. She also contributed 13 kills and hit .500 in the two matches.
Junior outside hitter Scottie Ingram claimed the conference Player of the Year honors for the second year in a row after averaging 4.06 kills per set and recording 3.12 digs per set in conference play. In 20 matches his season, Ingram contributed double-digit kills. Morehead State’s Meredith Jewell earned the Freshman of the Year honors, leading all freshman and ranking second overall in the conference with 3.95 kills per set. She also contributed 36 aces, 263 digs, and 49 blocks. Ranking 35th nationally with 4.95 digs per set, Madison Halterman of Tennessee State was selected as the conference Libero of the Year, while Sam Bedard, a senior at Murray State was named Setter of the Year. David Schwepker, head coach of Murray State, took home the conference Coach of the Year honor for the second consecutive year. The Racers finished the year 15-1 in league and 25-2 overall in addition to leading the nation in opponent hitting percentage.
Samantha Bricio gets a week off from her Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week duties. Arizona’s Nikki Attea earned the honor for the first time in her career thanks to a career-high 23 kill performance in the Wildcats’ 3-2 victory over then No. 11-ranked UCLA. Injury forced Attea to sit out Arizona’s next game, a 3-1 loss to USC. This is the first Offensive Player of the Week honor for the senior from East Amhert, New York. Washington’s Lianna Sybeldon claimed the Defensive Player of the Week honor, marking four consecutive weeks that a Husky has claimed the defensive designation. The senior middle blocker stuffed a career-high 12 blocks in a sweep of Oregon. The freshman award went to USC’s Baylee Johnson, the first Trojan to be named Pac-12 Freshman of the Week this season. The Dayton, Ohio, native averaged 6.78 assists, 2.22 digs, 0.78 blocks, and 1.28 points per set in the Trojans wins over Arizona and Arizona State.
Texas A&M’s Jazzmin Babers earned her third SEC Player of the Week honor in addition to earning this week’s defensive honor. The redshirt junior hit .396, averaging 1.88 blocks, 3.12 kills, and 4.06 points per set in back-to-back top-25 victories over Kentucky and Florida. Versus Florida, Babers collected her third double-double of the season with 10 blocks and 17 kills. The victory was Texas A&M’s first-ever over the Gators. Babers’ teammate Stephanie Aiple and Alabama’s Sierra Wilson are co-Setters of the Week. Wilson led her Crimson Tide team to two road victories, averaging 13.71 assists per set. This week, Wilson surpassed 5,600 digs and is the only Alabama player ever to do so. Aiple collected 53 assists in A&M’s five-set upset of Florida. Missouri middle blocker Alyssa Munlyn earned Freshman of the Week honors after adding 11 kills and an equal number of digs in the Tigers’ matches versus Arkansas and Ole MIss. Her .500 hitting percentage against Arkansas marks the eighth time this season she’s hit over .500 in a match. Her overall hitting percentage of .417 is the third highest in the SEC. Alabama’s Kat Hutson rounds out the SEC’s weekly awards winning the offense honor. She collected her best three-set kill total in the match versus Georgia. She broke another personal record versus South Carolina when the sophomore from Brentwood, Tennessee, hit .519 with 15 kills.
For the second year in a row Central Arkansas’ Heather Schnars earned the Southland’s Player of the Year award after earning the weekly honor five times in the 2015 season. The junior outside led the conference with 4.69 kills per set and ranked fourth with a .340 hitting percentage. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi’s Kristyn Nicholson claimed the conference’s Setter of the Year award, setting up the offense that led the Islanders to an unblemished 16-0 conference record. The sophomore’s 11.23 assists per set in league play leads the conference and her 1,129 total assists ranks her 13th nationally. Fellow Islander Kate Kleptka’s 6.10 digs per set ranks second nationally and helped her earn the conference Libero of the Year honor. She played a large part in holding Islander in-conference opponents to a .142 hitting percentage. Newcomer of the Year went to Houston Baptist sophomore Bailey Banks. The North Texas transfer started for the Huskies and finished second on the team with 2.32 kills per set. Autumn Lockley of UIW filled out the individual honors claiming Freshman of the Year, averaging 3.72 kills per set and hitting .284. A&M-Corpus Christi head coach Tony Graystone was the obvious choice for Coach of the Year after leading the Islanders to the first undefeated season in program history and a 28-4 record overall.
The Summit League came out with its annual awards last week, crowning Kaitlyn Hickey of IUPUI Player of the Year. The 5-10 senior outside hitter from Granger, Indiana, has surpassed 1,500 digs and kills in her four years as a Jaguar. With 1,652 kills, she ranks fifth in conference history for career kills. This is also Hickey’s fourth consecutive year on the All-League team. The league named Brittany Jessen of South Dakota setter of the year after the sophomore led the Coyotes to a .232 hitting percentage collecting 10.82 assists per set. Nicole Rightnowar claimed league Freshman of the Year honors after a stellar rookie season in which she ranked second on the IPFW team with 337 kills (2.88 kills/set). Senior Kimberly Bailey took home Omaha’s first-ever individual honor, being name Defensive Player of the Year. The Lincoln-native helped lead Omaha to its best finish in three years (12-4 record in league play) with 512 total digs and an average of 4.57 per set. Coach of the Year went to Omaha’s Rose Shires.
Appalachian State’s Jess Keller was named the top offensive player in the Sun Belt Conference, leading the conference with 256 kills. On the defensive side of the ball, Markie Schaedig of Arkansas State ranked second in the conference in digs with 310. She earned the Defensive Player of the Week honor five times this year. Arkansas State’s Carisa May claimed the Freshman of the Year honor after earning the weekly designation seven times. She collected 197 kills in conference play. David Rehr, head coach at Arkansas State, is the conference’s Coach of the Year, leading his team on the longest winning streak in the nation, claiming 21 victories in a row and finishing the year 25-1 in only his fourth year with the program.
Alabama A&M’s Ashundria McNeal headlined the All-SWAC honors, being name Player of the Year. Jackson State’s Jenna Siddiqui was the top setter, Southern’s Diamond Williams laid claim to her second-consecutive Libero of the Year honor, and Kori Kutsch of Alabama State and Kalee Maricle of Alcorn State earned Newcomer and Freshman of the Year, respectively.
Alexa Gray earned WCC Player of the Week honor for the third week in a row after setting a new career kills record for the second consecutive week. Her 31 kills helped BYU toppled then conference No. 2 Santa Clara in four. The senior outside hitter hit .424 on the week, averaging 7.36 points per set. The two Cougar victories guarantee BYU at least a share of the WCC title.