The AVCA will put out their All-Region team in November and the voting starts today. I certainly don’t want to influence any voters out there but I decided to announce my own D3VbWest All-Region Team today. I will have 14 on the team with 6 honorable mention selections, which just happens to match what the AVCA does. I do want to say how difficult this process was and there are a lot of really good players left off the list. Some of the last players considered that didn’t make the list were Cal Lutheran Maci Haddad, Sul Ross State Annika Canaba, Southwestern Jamison Duck (this one killed me on a personal level), LeTourneau Kianna Crow, Whitworth Erin White and UTT Katyln Budisalovich. I have a notepad with about 30 other names of worthy student-athletes that I just couldn’t squeeze in. Just know that I respect you all. Please know that, because there is no swag that goes with these honors!
D3VbWest Player of the Year: Phoebe Madsen (CMS)
D3VbWest Freshman of the Year: Sophie Srivastava (Chapman)
D3VbWest Coach of the Year: Kurt Vlasich (CMS)
D3VbWest All-Region Team
|First Name||Last Name||School||Position||Year|
|Kristen||Sanchez||University of La Verne||L||Sr.|
|Kelsie||Sievers||University of La Verne||OH||Sr.|
Player of the Year – This was between Madsen, Walker (CMS), Spaethling (CC) and Schmautz (Whitworth) in my mind. In the end, I chose a 6 rotation player that was forced to hold together the West’s best team playing one of our toughest schedules with a litany of injuries.
Freshman of the Year – So many good freshmen to choose from in the West Region. As it turns out I think Chapman has the best two in the region but Kianna Crow (LeTourneau) is another one that had a great year. Also considered were Sul Ross State Annika Canaba, Cal Lutheran Maci Haddad and Southwestern Makenzie Mendez. In the end, you can’t go wrong with someone that can get you a triple-double and shutdown the opposing outside hitter.
Coach of the Year – Hard to argue with the defending national champion graduating a slew of seniors and coming back as the best team in the West. There were a number of coaches that were in the running because of their great teams but also coaches that are in the process of turning programs around, which I don’t think gets enough recognition in the current AVCA process. (And, in the end, I do the same thing.)
Lizzy Counts – Running one of the best teams in the country and always an attacking threat on the front row. She will annoy me when she holds that ball a tick too long waiting on a hitter but she pushes the limits and gets results from her hitters. Colorado College has taken their play up a notch these last three years and Counts is the reason (another thing that annoys me). One of the regions assist/set and total assist leaders.
Haley Harris – Was forced into the OH1 spot this year due to the Jordan Mullen injury and never looked back. She’s been a favorite of mine since the first time I saw her play where she literally flew over the net and fixed the overhead scoreboard while putting down a kill. One of the regions kills per set and points per set leaders.
Miranda Klein – A right side player that was asked to set part of the year. Plays six rotations and is one of the regions better blockers. Just a force on the right side and a key to the Crusaders success.
Katrina Lieberman – Runs a 5-1 for one of the best teams in the region playing one of the toughest schedules in the nation. Leader in assists for the region and is second in assists/set.
Phoebe Madsen – Great server, runs the floor, can hit, set and play defense. We all need a Phoebe Madsen on our team. CMS was really hit hard by injuries which forced her into a hitting role at times this season. The Swiss army knife of the Athenas that some how comes with a howitzer option.
Sarah Paolini – You want your middles to hit efficiently and block the ball. Paolini is one of the best at both skills in the region. UMHB has a number of really good players and it was tough to narrow it down but Paolini is their force out of the middle.
Kristen Sanchez – It’s hard for a libero to actually win you a game but Sanchez does that. She’s the player the opposing team shakes their head over after a loss. Second in the region in digs and digs/set.
Lauren Schilling – The leading blocker in the region and hits at a high efficiency. Can’t ask for more than that and she really has been the constant for the Comets this season as they tried to find the right mix.
Jessica Schmautz – The player that messed up my poor Whitworth prediction prior to the season. Regional leader in kills/set and points/set. Whitworth relies on her a ton and she doesn’t let them down. Also plays great defense. A player of the year candidate.
Kelsie Sievers – Sievers scares me and I’m usually just watching the live stream. Just a great hitter. She’s right behind Schmautz in kills/set. One of the leaders in points/set and the go-to player on the Leopards.
Marguerite Spaethling – I don’t think the stats tell her story and the improvement from last year (increased hitting percentage by almost 0.100). She is one of the better blockers in the region and is third in hitting percentage. I really considered her for player of the year.
Sophie Srivastava – I still remember watching her the first time and not believing what I witnessed. Tall, good hands, great block and can pound the ball. A leader in the region in hitting percentage and points/set and is number one in the region in triple-doubles. Oh, and a freaking freshman.
Makenzie Thieme – She might be the player that raises some eyebrows on this list. I just really like her style of play and she is the unquestioned leader on the Poets. One of the leaders in the region in kills/set and points/set and will almost always get the ball on the front row. Leaves a tough legacy in her two years for others to emulate.
Amanda Walker – Another player of the year candidate. At times the only healthy hitter on the front row for CMS while playing Top 10 opponents and she still couldn’t be stopped. She’s near the top in kills/set, points/set and attacks/set.
|First Name||Last Name||School||Position||Year|
|Kortney||Meyer||Lewis & Clark||MB/OH||Sr.|
Jaci Chambers – It’s tough to get on an All-Region team when your team struggled as much as TLU did. Chambers gets on by putting up video game type numbers. She leads the region in digs/set (by a large margin) and has over 100 more digs than Sanchez. Just crazy when you think about it.
Mackenzie Harris – It hurt not having her on the first team as all of the middles are very similar. If I look at it again, I’d probably switch someone else here…it’s that close. One of the best blockers in the country.
Jessi Lumsden – The best freshman outside in the region and we have three more years of Chapman running out Lumsden with Srivastava. I could have easily put her on the first team and it was only her first year status that prevented it.
Madeline McKay – Plays some right side and outside and is the hitting star for one of our better teams. As a Southwestern fan I’m glad she’s graduating (again). One of the region’s leaders in hitting percentage, kills/set and total kills.
Kortney Meyer – Another one of my favorite players. A middle that gets to hit from all positions and is allowed to play back row. As a former middle, she’s my hero. A kills/set and a points/set leader in the region and took a team expected to just win a few matches to an above 0.500 record.
Amanda Roberts – Roberts and Haddad teamed up to lead Cal Lutheran to a second place finish in the SCIAC. She’s a regional leader in kills/set, points/set and total kills. Like the middles, the differences between these outsides/right sides were razor thin.