(L-R): Hannah Weidner, Caila Stapleton, Caorline Douglas, Jade Vorster and Sirena Vorster all earned Big South postseason awards.
Official Release Liberty redshirt junior outside hitter Caroline Douglas has been named to the Big South All-Conference first team, one of seven postseason awards earned by the Lady Flames, announced today by the conference office.
The Lady Flames placed four players on the all-conference team for the fifth time in the last six seasons. In addition to Douglas' first-team honor, junior middle blocker Jade Vorster, junior setter Caila Stapleton and freshman Hannah Weidner were all named to the all-conference second team. Weidner and classmate Sirena Vorster both appear on the Big South All-Freshman team, while Stapleton earned All-Academic team mention.
Douglas earns her second Big South All-Conference first team award, after being the first player to be named Big South Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year during the same year in 2012. This marks the ninth year in a row, and 18th out of the last 19, in which Liberty has had at least one student-athlete on the Big South Volleyball All-Conference first team. In addition, this is the first time since 2010 (Jade Craycraft, Lillie Happel) that Liberty has placed two players on the All-Freshman team.
Coastal Carolina freshman Leah Hardeman was named Big South Player of the Year and Big South Freshman of the year, joining Douglas as the only two players to earn both awards in the same season. Regular-season champion Radford received the remaining two major awards, as Marci Jenkins was named Big South Coach of the Year for the third time, and the second year in a row. Radford senior Emma Deininger repeated as the Big South Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
Douglas, a native of Greenville, N.C., has had a fantastic season, pacing the Big South in kills per set both overall (4.23) and in conference play (4.36), while hitting .271 for the season. She has posted 23 double-digit kill matches, including 10 20-kill contests. Douglas recorded 20 kills in five straight matches, including the first three Big South contests of the year. She scored a career-high 29 kills against Central Connecticut and added 27 in a win over Virginia. Douglas scored her 1,000th career kill on Oct. 18 at Coastal Carolina, and is second on the team with 10 double-doubles.
Jade Vorster, hailing from Wellington, Fla., picks up her third career all-conference laurel, having been named All-Big West twice while playing at Hawai'i. In her first season as a Lady Flame, Vorster ranks second in the conference with 1.18 blocks per set. She has set a new program rally-scoring record with 30 solo blocks this season. Liberty's third-leading scorer, Vorster hits .285 with 2.22 kills per set. She has recorded 11 10-kill matches, with a career-high 16 at High Point, while posting nine blocks on four occasions.
A Daytona Beach, Fla., product, Stapleton has distributed for an efficient, high-scoring offense during her first year as starting setter. She leads the Big South with 10.71 assists per set overall. Stapleton has registered a team-leading 12 double-doubles. She has posted 16 40-assist matches, including 11 in a row at one point. The junior ranks second on the team in both digs per set (2.82) and aces (19). She dished out a career-high 63 assists against Central Connecticut, the most by a Lady Flame since Nov. 7, 2008 (Courtney Boggs).
In addition to her on-court success, Stapleton holds a 3.65 grade-point average as an elementary education major. She receives her first career All-Academic team honor.
Weidner, from Shorewood, Minn., has made an immediate impact as a right-side hitter, ranking second on the team with 3.33 kills per set and a .275 attack percentage. She has recorded a team-best 25 double-digit kill matches, including a program-record-tying 19 10+-kill contests in a row earlier this season. Weidner scored a season-high 20 kills at Coastal Carolina, reaching double figures in kills for the 24th time in 25 career matches to that point of her freshman campaign. She has also posted five five-block matches this year.
Sirena Vorster, a native of Wellington, Fla., has had a strong season in the middle, averaging 1.76 kills while hitting .241 and adding 0.70 blocks per set. She is tied for second on the team with 19 service aces. Vorster has recorded six double-digit kill matches, while posting three five-block contests. She sent down a career-high 14 kills against Presbyterian, hitting .650, the top hitting percentage by a Lady Flame in 2014. Vorster registered a career-high seven blocks in a victory over Virginia on Sept. 23.
The third-seeded Lady Flames (23-9, 10-4 Big South) open the 2014 Big South Volleyball Championship against No. 6 seed High Point (12-15, 6-8) on Thursday at 5 p.m. at The HTC Center in Conway, S.C. 2014 Big South Conference Volleyball Award Winners
First Team All-Conference Leah Hardeman – OH, Fr., Coastal Carolina Caroline Douglas – OH, Jr., Liberty Rachel Wiechecki – OH, Sr., Radford Kristin Heldt – RS, Sr., High Point Ezster Nagy – MB, Jr., Coastal Carolina Rachel Lenz – MB, Jr., Winthrop Mary Crema – LIB, Jr., Campbell
Second Team All-Conference Emma Deininger – MB, Sr., Radford Jade Vorster – MB, Jr., Liberty Jena Braden – S, Sr., Radford Tyler Cockrell – MB, Sr., Gardner-Webb Rachel Hall – MB/RS, Sr., Presbyterian Caila Stapleton – S, Jr., Liberty Hannah Weidner – RS, Fr., Liberty Mary Trimpe – LIB, R-Sr., Presbyterian
Honorable Mention Sam Skyrd – S, Sr., Coastal Carolina Ashtin Frank – S, Sr., Presbyterian Alina Sopizhuk – OH, Sr., Winthrop Brianna Gray – MB, So., Winthrop Gabi Mirand – S, Jr., High Point
All-Freshman Team Leah Hardeman – OH, Fr., Coastal Carolina Hannah Weidner – RS, Fr., Liberty Maddie Palmer – OH/LB, Fr., Radford Camryn Freiberg – MB, Fr., High Point Nikki Drost – OH, Fr., Winthrop Haley Barnes – OH, Fr., High Point Sirena Vorster – MB, Fr., Liberty
All-Academic Team Emma Deininger – MB, Sr., Radford Heather Feldman – S, Sr., Gardner-Webb Maria Volstad – DS, So., Winthrop Mary Crema – LIB, Jr., Campbell Jenna Orner – LIB, Sr., Coastal Carolina Christine Lakatos – OH Jr., UNC Asheville Meredith Parrott – MB/OH, Jr., Charleston Southern Savannah Angel – MB, R-So., High Point Caila Stapleton – S, Jr., Liberty Rachel Hall – MB/RS, Sr., Presbyterian
Player of the Year Leah Hardeman – OH, Fr., Coastal Carolina
Freshman of the Year Leah Hardeman – OH, Fr., Coastal Carolina
Coach of the Year Marci Jenkins, Radford
Scholar Athlete of the Year Emma Deininger – MB, Sr., Radford
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