Official Big South Release The Liberty volleyball team received four Big South Conference postseason awards, as announced today by the conference office.
Sophomore middle blocker Anna Gragg was named to the Big South All-Conference first team, while sophomore outside hitter Casey Goodwin was tabbed to the second team. Freshman setter Amaya Williams was voted to the All-Freshman team, while senior setter Anna Willey received All-Academic team mention.
This is the 12th season in a row in which Liberty has placed at least one player on the Big South All-Conference first team. Gragg is the first Liberty player to be named all-conference as both a freshman and sophomore since Jade Craycraft in 2010 and 2011. Williams is the first Liberty setter since Craycraft in 2010 to be named to the All-Freshman team, while Willey is the second Lady Flame (Chelaine McCarty, 2007-09) to earn multiple all-conference and all-academic awards in her career.
Radford senior outside hitter Maddie Palmer was named Big South Player of the Year for the second year in a row, becoming the fourth Big South volleyball player to win back-to-back Player of the Year honors. High Point Head Coach Tom Mendoza was voted Big South Coach of the Year after leading the Panthers to a 16-0 conference record. High Point libero Abby Bottomley was named Big South Freshman of the Year, while her teammate, senior Haley Barnes, was tabbed as Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
A native of Missoula, Mont., Gragg earns first-team all-conference honors after being an honorable mention choice last year. Gragg has been dominant at the middle blocker position this season, ranking second in the Big South in hitting percentage (.323) and fifth in blocks per set (0.93). During conference play, she hit .352 while posting 11 double-digit kill matches. On Nov. 3 at PC, she scored a career-high 26 kills at a .524 pace. Her 26 kills were the most by any Big South middle blocker this season, and the most by a Liberty middle blocker during the rally scoring era.
Hailing from Rougemont, N.C., Goodwin has had a major impact on Liberty's offensive attack this season. She leads the team with 290 kills, hitting .230 overall. During conference play, she ranks seventh in the Big South with 3.36 kills per set and eighth with 3.75 points per set. She has posted 15 double-digit kill matches this season, including 11 in conference play. Goodwin sent down a career-high 23 kills at a .442 clip last Thursday at UNC Asheville. In 10 matches since switching positions to outside hitter, she averages 3.68 kills per set, hitting .249.
A Raleigh, N.C., native, Williams has been the top freshman setter in the conference this season. For the season, she leads the team with 698 assists. Williams ranks fourth in the Big South with 9.02 assists per set in conference play. She has registered three 50-assist matches, all against conference foes. Her 59 assists against PC on Sept. 23 were the most by a Big South setter in a single match this season. She has registered eight double-doubles on the season, good for second on the team.
Willey, a native of Davenport, Iowa, was an honorable mention all-conference setter in 2015 before earning second-team honors last season. She currently ranks eighth in program history with 2,505 career assists. Willey is the Lady Flames' active leader with 28 career double-doubles, including two this season. She has registered two 40-assist matches this year, giving her 28 for her career. Willey graduated in May with a bachelor's degree in digital media performance, carrying a 3.95 GPA. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in sport management.
No. 5 seed Liberty (11-18, 8-8 Big South) will face fourth-seeded UNC Asheville (13-14, 9-7), on Friday at 4:30 p.m. to begin the 2017 Big South Volleyball Championship at the Dedmon Center in Radford, Va. The winner of Friday's quarterfinal will face No. 1 seed High Point, Saturday at 4:30 p.m. in the semifinal round.
2017 Big South Conference Volleyball Award Winners First Team All-Conference Maddie Palmer – OH, Sr., Radford Molly Livingston – MB, Jr., High Point Haley Barnes – OH, Sr., High Point Abby Bottomley – LIB, Fr., High Point Cara Guthrie – OH, Jr., UNC Asheville Anna Gragg – MB, So., Liberty Allena Heath – OH, So., Campbell
Second Team All-Conference Haley Kleespies – S, Jr., Radford Casey Goodwin – OH, So., Liberty Katie Tylman – RS, Jr., High Point Summer Schuitema – S, Sr., Campbell Stephanie Neast – RS, So., Radford Keaupono Fey – MB, Sr., Winthrop Kayla Schanback – LIB, Sr., Campbell
Honorable Mention Jessica Stocking – OH, Jr., Campbell Phoebe Wu – OH, Jr., Winthrop Jordan Hefner – MB, Jr., High Point Valerie Gonzalez – OH, Jr., Radford Siani Yamaguchi – S, So., Winthrop
All-Freshman Team Abby Bottomley – LIB, High Point Amaya Williams – S, Liberty Katie Doering – RS, High Point Ava Venema – MB, UNC Asheville Hannah Schneggenburger – MB, Campbell Kalysia Bates – MB, Charleston Southern Allie Wright – MB, Presbyterian
All-Academic Team Summer Schuitema – S, Sr., Campbell Kylie Klein – MB, Sr., Charleston Southern Amanda Sahm – S, Jr., Gardner-Webb Haley Barnes – OH, Sr., High Point Anna Willey – S, Sr., Liberty Ashton Stewart – MB, Sr., Presbyterian Kaylor Nash – DS/LIB, Sr., Radford Carter Kennedy – S, So., UNC Asheville Carlie Skelton – DS, Jr., Winthrop
Player of the Year Maddie Palmer – OH, Sr., Radford
Freshman of the Year Abby Bottomley – LIB, High Point
Coach of the Year Tom Mendoza – High Point
Scholar Athlete of the Year Haley Barnes – OH, Sr., High Point
Like Us on Facebook
Follow Us on Twitter
Follow Us on Instagram