OREM, Utah – Four Utah Valley University players were named to the All-Great West Conference Volleyball Team, including Freshman of the Year Lauren Stringham. The league announced the all-conference teams Thursday, the eve of the 2012 tournament, which will be hosted by UVU.
Stringham, who was also named to the All-Newcomer Team, received first-team all-conference honors alongside repeat first-team picks and teammates Brookelyn Hall and Erica Nish. Kalani Norris was named to the second team.
"Tonight's honors were well-deserved – not just for our girls, but for girls that were recognized on other teams," UVU head coach Sam Atoa said. "These accolades honor not only individual effort, but also the collective effort of each team. No individual award is earned without a combined team effort."
Atoa shared Coach of the Year honors with Houston Baptist's Trent Herman. Both coaches led their teams to a share of the Great West title. It's the second year in a row that Atoa has shared the award.
Stringham, a two-time GWC Defensive Player of the Week, has dominated the conference statistically in blocks. She's averaging 1.42 blocks per set; ranking 19th nationally, and also hitting .300 on the offensive side of the net. Her per set average is over half a block higher than any single player in the league and is also greater than the average of two other conference teams.
Nish leads Utah Valley with 199 kills (2.58 per set) and also ranks second in the Great West and on the team with .85 blocks per set.
Brookelyn Hall, last year's Setter of the Year, has 12 double-doubles and is second in the league 9.35 assists per set. She is a two-time GWC Offensive Player of the Week award winner.
Norris, a sophomore, is third on the team in total kills. She was named GWC Offensive Player of the Week one time during the season.
"I'm proud of our girls and I'm proud of where we're at right now," Atoa said. "We're hoping we can continue this on for the next couple of days."
The Great West Tournament begins Friday at 10 a.m. with No. 4-seed NJIT facing the No. 5 Chicago State in the PE Building at Utah Valley University.
UVU enters the championship as the second seed due to tiebreaker rules and will battle No. 3 Texas-Pan American at 5 p.m. No. 1 seed Houston Baptist will go up against the NJIT/Chicago State winner Friday at 7 p.m. The championship match is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Saturday.
Clint Burgi is the assistant athletic director for sports information at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.