Cougar volleyball players receive honors
A pair of University of Minnesota, Morris volleyball players were honored with individual postseason awards, as the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) released their All-Conference volleyball teams.
A First Team All-UMAC honoree, sophomore Kaylie Clark of Garden Plain, Kans. was named UMAC Defensive Player of the Year, after leading the league in digs with 193 in conference matches, the only player to average over four per set.
Additionally, freshman Emily Auch of Benson shared Rookie of the Year honors, after 294 kills and 324 digs. An Honorable Mention All-UMAC honoree, Auch shares the award with Miranda Maasz from Martin Luther.
In addition to her performance in the back row, Clark led the Cougars with 306 kills on the season, ranking seventh in the UMAC at 3.11 per set.
Joining Clark on the first team is setter Natalie Thomas of Champlin, one of the most prolific at the position in Morris history. A senior, Thomas finished her career second in the UMAC with 10.52 assists per set, while climbing the Cougars' career charts before ending third in career assists with 2,696 and in career aces with 149.
Clark and Thomas each earn First Team All-UMAC accolades for the first time, after Honorable Mention campaigns last season.
Also recognized was junior Brita Humphrey, earning the UMAC Sportsmanship Award, for best representing sportsmanship throughout the entire 2011 season.
The final Cougar honored is Stephanie Schmiesing of Melrose, who joins Auch on the Honorable Mention team. A junior, Schmiesing is All-UMAC for the third consecutive season, after landing on the Honorable Mention team as a freshman and a sophomore. She finished with 277 kills on the year, ranking ninth in the UMAC at 2.85 per set.
Northwestern led the way with four players in the first team, with St. Scholastica earning three honorees. The Saints' Anna Zyvoloski was named UMAC Player of the year, while Martin Luther's Rebecca Cox earned Coach of the Year honors after leading the Knights to a third-place finish.
The Cougars finished with a 19-13 overall record, with an 8-6 mark in UMAC play to finish in fourth place. With 19 wins following their 20 last season, Morris Volleyball posts 19 victories in back-to-back season's for the first time in program history