ELLMHURST, Ill. - The Summit League announced its volleyball awards at the annual banquet Thursday evening. Fort Wayne led the way by claiming three of the five individual honors and tying for a league-best three all-league selections. Regular season champion IUPUI earned the final two individual awards to go along with three all-league honorees.
A trio of Mastodons earned individual honors, Emily Spencer was named the Player of the Year, Tessa McGill earned Defensive Player of the Year and Megan Steenhuysen collected Setter of the Year. IUPUI’s Kaitlyn Hickey captured Freshman of the Year honors, while Steve Payne was named Coach of the Year.
Spencer, a two-time Offensive Player of the Week selection, became the first Fort Wayne player to garner the league’s Player of the Year award. The sophomore outside hitter leads the league’s top offense with 468 kills, averaging 4.25 per set, third-best in the league. She also boasts a league-leading 4.93 points per set, which ranks 21 st in the nation, and is tied for fifth in the league with a team-best average of 0.27 service aces per set. In league play, Spencer averages a league-leading 4.98 points per set and 0.29 service aces per set and is third with 4.29 kills per set.
McGill also earned a first for the Mastodons as she became the first player in program history to garner Defensive Player of the Year honors. The senior libero leads the league with 688 digs and 6.20 digs per, which ranks fourth in the NCAA. In league play alone, she holds league-bests of 404 digs and an average of 6.12 digs per set. She captured a league-high three Defensive Player of the Week awards and ranks second all-time in league history with 2,257 career digs. McGill posted double-digit digs in all but one match on the season, including a season-best 45 digs, the third-most in a match in league history.
Steenhuysen, a two-time Offensive Player of the Week honoree, captured her second career Setter of the Year award, the fourth player in league history to accomplish this feat. The senior guided the league’s top offense with a league-best 12.16 assists per set, ranking fifth in the nation. She ranks fourth all-time in the league with 4,589 career assists.
Hickey received Freshman of the Year after being the only freshman to be ranked in the league’s top 10 in league play in more than two categories. She is the second rookie in IUPUI history to collect this honor. In league play, the outside hitter is ninth in digs (4.38 per set) and 10 th in kills (3.30 per set) and points (3.79 per set), the only freshman to be ranked in kills or points.
Payne collected his second career Coach of the Year award after leading his team to its first outright regular-season crown, second overall league title and its first league championship berth since 2009. His squad posted an overall record of 21-9, the most D-I wins in program history, and league mark of 13-3, while ranking in the league’s top two in five-of-seven statistical categories.
Fort Wayne and IUPUI tied for a league-high three all-league selections. Spencer, McGill and Steenhuysen made up the Mastodon trio, while Hickey was joined by teammates Moriah Fair and Bethany Fogler. North Dakota State was represented by the duo of Brynn Joki and Megan Lambertson. Rounding out the all-league team were Kansas City’s Emily Lucas, Oakland’s Meghan Bray, South Dakota’s Kendall Kritenbrink and South Dakota State’s Kelli Fiegen.
The 2012 Summit League Volleyball Championship begins Friday, on the campus of North Dakota State University, with four teams vying for an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. In Friday's first semifinal match (5 p.m. CT), No. 2 Fort Wayne will face No. 3 Oakland. The other semifinal match (7:30 p.m. CT) pits top-seeded IUPUI and No. 4 Kansas City. Friday's winners will meet in Saturday’s championship match at 7 p.m. (CT) with the winner claiming The Summit League Championship and the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
2012 All-Summit League Volleyball Teams
Meghan Bray, Oakland, Sr., OH
Moriah Fair, IUPUI, Jr., OH
Kelli Fiegen, South Dakota State, Sr., MH
Bethany Fogler, IUPUI, Sr., MH
Kaitlyn Hickey, IUPUI, Fr., OH
Brynn Joki, North Dakota State, Sr., OH
Kendall Kritenbrink, South Dakota, So., OH
Megan Lambertson, North Dakota State, Sr., MH
Emily Lucas, Kansas City, Sr., OH
Tessa McGill, Fort Wayne, Sr., L/DS
Emily Spencer, Fort Wayne, So., OH
Megan Steenhuysen, Fort Wayne, Sr., S
Shay Birath, South Dakota State, Sr., L
Samantha Fournier, Western Illinois, So., RS
Emma Hagedorn, Kansas City, Fr., MH
Brittany Holbrook, Oakland, Sr., MH
Alli Kirk, Oakland, Sr., DS
Jessie Manwaring, Fort Wayne, Sr., MH
Sydney Dimke, South Dakota, OH
Emma Hagedorn, Kansas City, MH
Kaitlyn Hickey, IUPUI, OH
Sydney Howard, South Dakota State, S
Hailie Ripley, Fort Wayne, MH
Ciara Schultz, Oakland, S
Kelly Wachtel, IUPUI, OH/RS
Player of the