Three Titans Earn Big West Honors
IRVINE, Calif. -- McKenna Painton earned All-Freshman Team honors and seniors Alyse Hensley and Bre Moreland finish their careers with Honorable Mention awards as announced by the Big West this afternoon.
Painton, who finished the season with a league-leading 4.70 digs per set mark in conference play, was sidelined for the final six matches of the year but was dominant enough defensively throughout the season to merit the honor.
Hensley and Moreland, both significant contributors on both sides of the net, finished among the Big West leaders in kills, kills per set and, in Moreland's case (3.50), also among the top 20 in digs per set. Hensley's final kills per set average was 3.14 and Moreland's was 3.16, both top 10.
The three Big West Conference champions were recognized among the top honors handed out today as part of the 2013 All-Big West accolades. University of Hawai'i senior Emily Hartong collected her second straight Big West Volleyball Player of the Year award and UC Santa Barbara's Ali Spindt was named Big West Freshman of the Year.
For the second consecutive year Big West Co-Coach of the Year honors were handed out, this time to Cal State Northridge's Jeff Stork and UC Santa Barbara's Nicole Lantagne Welch.
Hartong guided Hawai'i to a share of its second straight Big West Conference championship with a 13-3 mark. The 6-foot, 2-inch outside hitter paced the league and ranked eighth in the nation with a 4.64 kill average, while hitting .289 on the season. She also tallied a league-leading 5.19 points per set average to place ninth in the country.
In her first season representing UC Santa Barbara, Spindt posted a 2.83 kills per set average while hitting .243. She also ranks second on the team with a 2.94 dig average and a 3.2 points per set average.
For the second time in three years Stork captured Big West Coach of the Year honors. The 2013 season has become a memorable one for the Matadors as they claimed a share of their first-ever Big West volleyball championship with a 13-3 record, their highest win total since joining the Big West in 2001.
In her first season at the helm of the Gauchos, Lantagne Welch guided the Gauchos to a share of their first conference title since 2005 when they shared the title with Long Beach State.
UC Santa Barbara is set to compete in its first NCAA Tournament since 2009 thanks to earning the league's automatic qualifier due to a head-to-head tiebreaker against Cal State Northridge and Hawai'i.