UNI’s Thomas, Illinois State’s Pence & Jankiewicz, Bradley’s Thompson Honored by MVC

  0 volleymob | November 22nd, 2018 | College - Women's Indoor, Missouri Valley Conference, News

Courtesy: Missouri Valley Conference

ST. LOUIS – Missouri Valley Conference regular season co-champion Illinois State claimed two of the league’s top individual honors, as senior libero Courtney Pence earned the league’s Libero of the Year honor, while her Redbird teammate, sophomore Stef Jankiewicz has been named the Setter of the Year. Co-champion UNI senior middle blocker Piper Thomas took home the league’s Player of the Year honors, while Bradley’s Hannah Thompson earned the conference’s Freshman of the Year award.

Pence, Jankiewicz, Thomas and Thompson headline a list of 18 student-athletes named to the 2018 MVC All-Conference teams, selected by the coaches, and announced by the league office Thursday. The all-conference teams were recognized at an awards reception today in Springfield, Missouri.

Thomas is the seventh player in UNI history to win the conference Player of the Year honor and first since Bre Payton won the award three straight seasons (2009-11). The senior middle blocker enters the tournament with 1,518 career kills, ranking fourth all-time at UNI. She also became the UNI career solo block leader this season with 97 in her career. Thomas is eighth all-time at UNI in career attacks with 3,499 and sits second in the Valley this season with a .347 attack percentage. This season, Thomas is averaging 3.64 kills per set with a team-high 91 total blocks.

Pence broke the MVC career digs mark on November 9 and currently sits fifth all time on the NCAA Division I chart with 2,714 career digs. The award is her second career MVC Libero of the Year honor, also claiming the award as a sophomore in 2016. She currently ranks second in NCAA Division I in digs per set, averaging 6.01, while ranking 11th in total digs with 631.Pence is the fourth player to win multiple Libero of the Year honors, joining Wichita State’s Karen Augspurger, Evansville’s Julie Walroth and Illinois State’s Emily Orrick.

Jankiewicz currently ranks 20th in all of NCAA Division I in assists per set with 11.21 overall with 11.71 assists per set during league play. It is the second-straight year Jankiewicz has earned a specialty award after earning the MVC Freshman of the Year honor a year ago. The sophomore setter turned in 13 double-doubles in 2018, including 10 during conference play. Jankiewicz is the second Redbird to win the league’s Setter of the Year award, joining 2014 recipient Kaitlyn Early.

Thompson is the only freshman in the country and one of three players in the nation with 340 kills and 470 or more digs this season. The freshman owns a team-best 18 double-doubles on the season, which is the most by a freshman in school history. Thompson averaged 3.04 kills and 4.15 digs in Valley play this season and had double-digit kills in 22 matches this season. She is Bradley’s second MVC Freshman of the Year, joining 2002 selection Lindsey Stalzer.

Bradley’s Carol Price-Torok picks up her first MVC Coach of the Year honor after guiding the Braves to a top three league finish after finishing at the bottom of the standings a year ago. She led Bradley to the biggest win improvement in the nation (+13), tying Florida International and Stetson. She has also improved the program’s overall and MVC win total in each of her first three seasons. Bradley became the first team in league history to finish in the top three of the standings after a last place finish the previous season. Price-Torok joins Scott Luster (2001) as the only two Bradley coaches to win the award.

Valley regular-season co-champions Illinois State and UNI, along with Bradley, Valparaiso, Missouri State and Drake, the league’s top six finishers, combined to place 17 athletes on the first and second team all-conference squads. The Panthers placed five players on the first and second teams, Illinois State earned four first-team honors, Bradley placed three players on the list, Missouri State and Valparaiso added a pair of honorees, while Drake and Evansville each had one selection.

First Team All-Conference

Erica Haslag, Bradley

Yavianliz Rosado, Bradley

Cathryn Cheek, Drake

Courtney Pence, Illinois State

Kaylee Martin, Illinois State

Ali Line, Illinois State

Stef Jankiewicz, Illinois State

Emily Butters, Missouri State

Piper Thomas, UNI

Rachel Koop, UNI

Karlie Taylor, UNI

Brittany Anderson, Valparaiso

Second Team All-Conference

Hannah Thompson, Bradley

Rachel Tam, Evansville

Amelia Flynn, Missouri State

Kate Busswitz, UNI

Jaydlin Seehase, UNI

Katherine Carlson, Valparaiso

All-Freshman Team

Hannah Thompson, Bradley

Alondra Vazquez, Evansville

Madeline Williams, Indiana State

Marissa Stockman, Illinois State

Amelia Flynn, Missouri State

Chloe Rear, Missouri State

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