Four Wolverines named All-WAC in volleyball

WOLVERINEGREENDOTCOM Sophomore middle blocker Lauren Stringham was named to the First Team after leading the WAC in blocks this season.
Sophomore middle blocker Lauren Stringham was named to the First Team after leading the WAC in blocks this season.

Nov. 24, 2013

2013 All-WACGet Acrobat Reader

PHOENIX, Ariz. - The 2013 WAC volleyball award winners, as selected by the league's nine head coaches, were announced on Sunday and four Utah Valley Wolverines made the cut. Sophomore middle blocker Lauren Stringham along with junior libero McKenna Tait were both named to the First Team, while senior setter Brookelyn Hall was named to the Second and freshman outside hitter Nakisha Willden to the All-Freshmen squad.

"Each of the girls have worked really hard and they are well deserving of this honor," head coach Sam Atoa said. "It is a team sport and I'm sure that they would all give credit to their teammates for their success. But I'm proud of each of them and what they accomplished."

Stringham, a 6-1 middle blocker from Kaysville, Utah, earned her second straight First Team All-Conference award after leading the WAC in blocks in conference-only matches (1.57 per set average). The Davis High School product also finished second in the WAC in blocks for the entire season (1.33) and ranks 32nd nationally in that same category. Stringham also finished seventh in the league in hitting percentage (.275) and second on the team in kill per set average (2.59). She also recently broke UVU's single-season records during her stellar sophomore campaign in both total blocks (156) and solo blocks (16).

Tait, a 5-8 libero from South Jordan, Utah, led the WAC in service aces with 53 this season. Her 0.45 ace per set average is also good enough to currently rank her 15th in the nation. The former Bingham High School standout also finished fourth in the conference in digs with an average of 4.72 per set in WAC-only play. With 141 aces in three seasons at Utah Valley, the junior also recently became the program's all-time career service ace record holder.

Hall, a 6-0 setter from Gilbert, Ariz., received her fourth all-conference recognition of her career as she is now a two-time Second Team All-Conference performer as well as a two-time First Team recipient. This season the captain Hall finished fourth in the WAC in assists with an average of 9.69 per set in conference-only play and third in all matches (9.49). In conference-only play this season the Mesquite High School product has also averaged 2.54 digs, 0.93 blocks, 0.82 kills and a .282 attack percentage in WAC-only play. Hall also led the Wolverines on the season in double-doubles with 10 and recently became UVU's all-time record holder in career assists (currently has 4,250).

Willden, a 5-10 outside hitter from South Jordan, Utah, was named to the All-Freshmen Team after averaging 2.00 kills per set as well as 1.89 digs in WAC-only play this season. The true freshman from Bingham High School also recorded two double-doubles in conference play as well as a 0.30 block per set average.

In all, six of the nine schools were represented on the teams, led by Bakersfield and Utah Valley with two players each on the first team and one apiece on the second team. Top-seeded New Mexico State had two players on the first team.

New Mexico State senior middle hitter Desiree Scott was named WAC Player of the Year, while Seattle U's Iris Ivanis was named Freshman of the Year. NM State head coach Mike Jordan was named WAC Coach of the Year.

Scott earned WAC Player of the Year honors after ranking second in the conference in WAC matches in blocks (1.38), third in hitting percentage (.401), fifth in points (3.69) and ninth in kills (2.78). She hit .300 or better in 11 of 16 WAC matches. In the most recent NCAA statistics, Scott ranks 40th nationally in blocks per set (1.29).

Ivanis earned Freshman of the Year honors after ranking third in the league in WAC play in kills (3.53), fourth in points (3.96) and ninth in service aces (0.27). She also averaged 2.06 digs per set in WAC play, had 10 or more kills in 11 of the 13 WAC matches in which she played and had four double-doubles in WAC play.

Jordan led his team to its second WAC regular-season title with a 14-2 league record and the No. 1 seed in the WAC Tournament. This is the third time in his career he's earned the honor (2006, 2008).

The 2013 WAC Tournament will begin on Monday in Phoenix, Ariz., at Grand Canyon University's GCU Arena. The No. 3 Wolverines will play the opening match of the tournament against No. 6 Seattle U at 5 p.m. The winner of the contest will advance to the semis to take on No. 2 Bakersfield on Tuesday at 5 p.m. The championship match will then be held on Wednesday at 5 p.m. with the winner receiving an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

"Now that the regular season is behind us, we're looking forward to the opportunity to be successful in the WAC Tournament," added Atoa.

2013 WAC Volleyball Postseason Award Winners

First Team School Yr. Pos. Hometown (Previous School)
Debora Araujo Bakersfield Sr. OH Belo Horizonte, Brazil (Western Nebraska CC)
Fernanda Gonçalves Bakersfield Sr. S Belo Horizonte, Brazil (Western Nebraska CC)
Gwen Murphy New Mexico State So. MH Elfrida, Ariz. (Valley Union)
Alyssa Schultz Idaho Jr. MB Issaquah, Wash. (Issaquah)
Desiree Scott New Mexico State Sr. MH Tucson, Ariz. (Catalina Foothills)
Lauren Stringham Utah Valley So. MB Kaysville, Utah (Davis)
McKenna Tait Utah Valley Jr. L South Jordan, Utah (Bingham)

Second Team School Yr. Pos. Hometown (Previous School)
Sydney Crimmins Kansas City So. RS Clay Center, Kan. (Clay Center Community)
Brookelyn Hall Utah Valley Sr. S Gilbert, Ariz. (Mesquite)
Iris Ivanis Seattle U Fr. OH Pozega, Croatia (Pozega)
Taryn Miller Kansas City So. L Blue Springs, Mo. (Blue Springs)
Molly O’Hagan Bakersfield Jr. MB Tonganoxie, Kan. (Tonganoxie)
Martina Samadan Seattle U So. MB Split, Croatia (Virginia Commonwealth)
Taylor Wilkinson Idaho Sr. MB Pocatello, Idaho (College of Southern Idaho)

All-Freshmen Team School Pos. Hometown (Previous School)
Kaylyn Brandt Kansas City S Sumner, Iowa (Sumner-Fredericksburg)
Ali Forde Idaho OH Woodinville, Wash. (Woodinville)
Iris Ivanis Seattle U OH  Pozega, Croatia (Pozega)
Kerry Lane Seattle U S Tucson, Ariz. (Canyon del Oro)
Alisha Watson Texas-Pan American RS Round Rock, Texas (Round Rock)
Nakisha Willden Utah Valley OH South Jordan, Utah (Bingham)

WAC Player of the Year: Desiree Scott, New Mexico State
WAC Freshman of the Year: Iris Ivanis, Seattle U
WAC Coach of the Year: Mike Jordan, New Mexico State