From SFA Athletics
FRISCO, Texas- The 2015 All-Southland Conference volleyball teams and major award winners were unveiled on Tuesday morning, and a trio of Stephen F. Austin volleyball players found themselves among the names on the lists.
Senior OJ Olson and junior Justice Walker were the two Ladyjack representatives on the 12-woman All-Southland Conference First Team while senior middle blocker Jacque Allen earned an All-Southland Conference Second Team selection.
In the final leg of a four-year career that will be remembered fondly by SFA volleyball backers, Olson has stepped her defensive game up a notch or two and emerged as one of the nation’s best back-line players. Bettered in the 13-team league’s digs per set rankings by only the SLC Libero of the Year Kate Klepetka, Olson scooped up an average of 5.15 digs per set overall and ran down 4.94 per set in conference bouts – the third-best average in the Southland.
With her first dig in a non-conference triumph over Grambling State in Shelton Gym on Oct. 29, the Cedar Park, Texas, product became the third Ladyjack volleyball player in program history to amass 2,000 digs in a career. Her current career dig sum stands at 2,114 – 79 away from surpassing Madison Hanlan for second place on SFA’s all-time charts. This season alone, the 2013 and 2014 All-Southland Conference Second Team choice’s dig total of 638 is the fifth-highest in all of NCAA Division I volleyball and the third-highest single season total in SFA history.
A repeat appearance for Walker on the All-Southland Conference First Team was made possible by another splendid season in the front row by the junior out of Fort Worth, Texas. No SFA player registered more kills than Walker (337), who has attacked at a rate of .323 in 122 sets. That hitting percentage is the ninth-best single season figure in the Ladyjacks’ record books.
Switching gears to league showdowns allowed Walker to elevate those numbers to loftier heights. Only two other SLC players hammered down more kills in conference matches than Walker (189) and her conference-only hitting percentage of .357 was the third-highest among the SLC’s leaders. Walker’s hard-swinging offense was matched once again by her front-row defense as she teamed with Allen to form one of the best middle-blocking duos in the league. In SLC matches, Walker conjured up 1.11 stuffs per set – the fourth-best average in the league – and her 107 total blocks rank second among the Ladyjacks’ ranks.
Making it two consecutive years with All-Southland Conference plaudits, Allen’s front row defense made it extremely difficult for opponents to slam down kills on SFA in 2015. Hailing from Mansfield, Texas, and in her final collegiate campaign, Allen’s 23 solo blocks this season are tied for the ninth-most in a single SFA season.
When taking only conference matches into account, Allen’s blocks per set figure rose to 1.12 – the fourth-highest average in the SLC. On offense, Allen served as another consistent figure in the Ladyjacks’ multi-faceted offense by ranking second on the team in kills (289), kills per set (2.39) and attack percentage (.307). In a 3-0 win over Prairie View A&M on Sept, 29, Allen floored 12 winners on 14 swings to finish with a hitting percentage of .857. that tied for the third-best single match mark in SFA history.
Casting their ballots for the All-Southland Conference squads were the 13 head coaches and their respective sports information representatives. Central Arkansas’ Heather Schnars captured her second-straight Southland Conference Player of the Year accolade while individuals associated with the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi program received three of the six major awards. Those honorees included Tony Graystone (Katrinka Jo Crawford Coach of the Year), Kate Klepetka (Libero of the Year) and Kaitlyn Nicholson (Setter of the Year). Houston Baptist’s Bailey Banks was honored as the league Newcomer of the Year while Incarnate Word’s Autumn Lockley was bestowed with Freshman of the Year recognition.
SFA’s three All-SLC honorees are set to lead the of the Ladyjacks to Conway, Ark., as the number-three seed in the eight-team Southland Conference Tournament. Once in Conway, SFA will begin its tournament run with a quarterfinal matchup against sixth-seeded Houston Baptist at 4 p.m. in the Farris Center on the campus of Central Arkansas.
2015 All-Southland Conference Volleyball Teams
Individual Award Winners
Player of the Year: Heather Schnars, Central Arkansas
Setter of the Year: Kristyn Nicholson, A&M-Corpus Christi
Libero of the Year: Kate Klepetka, A&M-Corpus Christi
Newcomer of the Year: Bailey Banks, Houston Baptist
Freshman of the Year: Autumn Lockley, UIW
Katrinka Jo Crawford Coach of the Year: Tony Graystone, A&M-Corpus Christi
Name • Class • Pos. • School • Hometown
Heather Schnars • Sr. • OH • Central Arkansas • Downey, Calif.
Justice Walker • Jr. • MB • Stephen F. Austin • Forth Worth, Texas
Ivy Baresh • Sr. • OH • A&M-Corpus Christi • Arlington, Texas
Kristyn Nicholson • So. • S • A&M-Corpus Christi • Lewisville, Texas
Malina Sanchez • Sr. • OH • McNeese State • Lake Jackson, Texas
Kate Klepetka • So. • Lib. • A&M-Corpus Christi • Allen, Texas
Jennifer Loerch • Sr. • OH • Abilene Christian • Georgetown, Texas
Brittany Gilpin • So. • MB • A&M-Corpus Christi • Houston, Texas
OJ Olson • Sr. • Lib. • Stephen F. Austin • Cedar Park, Texas
Chelsea Grant • Jr. • MB • Lamar • Killeen, Texas
Autumn Lockley • Fr. • OH • UIW • Leander, Texas
Megan Nash • So. • RS • Central Arkansas • Oakville, Canada
Name • Class • Pos. • School • Hometown
Allison Doerpinghaus • Sr. • MB • Houston Baptist • Palo Alto, Calif.
Jessica Wooten • Jr. • OH • Houston Baptist • Humble, Texas
Jacque Allen • Sr. • MB • Stephen F. Austin• Mansfield, Texas
Amy South • Sr. • S • Central Arkansas • Spring, Texas
Kelly Graham • Sr. • S • McNeese State • Longmont, Colo.
Madison Hoover • Sr. • Lib. • Abilene Christian • Flower Mound, Texas
Honorable Mention: Glynna Johnson, MB, Northwestern State; Landry Bullock, MB/OH, Southeastern La.; Taylor Cunningham, OH/MB, Sam Houston State; Kaci Eaton, OH, Nicholls; Kayla Armer, S, Houston Baptist; Blessing Dunn, OH, New Orleans; Bailey Banks, OH, Houston Baptist.