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Clayton, Willey Named to VaSID All-State Team

December 19, 2016  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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(L-R) Leah Clayton and Anna Willey were both named to the VaSID University Division All-State Volleyball team.

(L-R) Leah Clayton and Anna Willey were both named to the VaSID University Division All-State Volleyball team.

Liberty volleyball earned three additional postseason honors on Monday. Freshman outside hitter Leah Clayton was voted to the VaSID University Division Volleyball All-State first team, while junior setter Anna Willey was honored on the second team. Additionally, Clayton was named the VaSID State Rookie of the Year.

Nomination and voting for the team is conducted by the Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID). The all-state team honors the best Division I volleyball players in the Commonwealth of Virginia. A total of eight schools were represented on the all-state team.

The Lady Flames have now been represented on the VaSID All-State team each of the last 11 seasons.

Clayton becomes the fourth Lady Flame all-time to be voted VaSID State Rookie of the Year, and first since Hannah Weidner in 2014. Clayton joins Caroline Douglas (2012) as the only two Liberty players to be named to the VaSID All-State first team and tabbed Rookie of the Year in the same season.

Earlier this fall, Clayton was named Big South Freshman of the Year while also being voted to the Big South All-Conference first team and Big South All-Freshman team. Willey earned her second all-conference honor in as many years, receiving second-team laurels while also appearing on the all-academic team.

Hailing from Danville, Va., Clayton made an immediate impact at the outside hitter position. She finished the season ranked second in the Big South in both kills per set (4.07) and points per set (4.57). Her 4.07 kills per set ranked fifth among all freshmen in NCAA Division I. Clayton registered 15 double-digit kill matches, seven 20-kill contests and 10 double-doubles. She has already posted as many career 25-kill matches (three) as any Lady Flame in rally-scoring history, joining three players.    

A Davenport, Iowa, native, Willey had a strong season as Liberty's starting setter. She ranked second in the Big South with 9.67 assists per set. The junior led the team with 12 double-doubles for the second year in a row. She recorded nine 40-assist matches and five 50-assist contests. Willey has dished out 2,254 career assists, ranking eighth in program history. She is the first Lady Flame since Jade Craycraft (2012-13) to record 10 or more double-doubles in back-to-back years.

Janey Goodman of James Madison, two-time CAA Player of the Year and a 2016 AVCA All-America honorable mention selection, was named State Player of the Year for the second year in a row. JMU Head Coach Lauren Steinbrecher was voted VaSID Coach of the Year for the second straight year and third time overall after leading the Dukes to the 2016 CAA Championship title.

2016 VaSID University Division All-State Volleyball Team
Player of the Year –
Janey Goodman, James Madison
Rookie of the Year – Leah Clayton, Liberty
Coach of the Year –
Lauren Steinbrecher, James Madison

All-State First Team
Janey Goodman, James Madison
Maddie Palmer, Radford
Lindsey Owens, Virginia Tech
Jasmine Burton, Virginia
Haley Kole, Virginia
Leah Clayton, Liberty
Taylor Austin, James Madison (Libero/Defensive Specialist)

All-State Second Team
Amanda McKinzie, Virginia Tech
Amaya Rousseau, Radford
Anna Willey, Liberty
Haley Kleespies, Radford
Sydney Biniak, William & Mary
Taylor Gail, James Madison
Sara Zumbach, William & Mary (Libero/Defensive Specialist)