Cards volleyball stars receive honors, Louisville native named Defensive POY

From U of L SID

Louisville junior setter Wilma Rivera has been selected as the 2017 ACC Setter of the Year with teammate Molly Sauer picking up her second ACC Defensive Player of the Year award. The awards were decided based on a vote of the league’s 15 head coaches, who could not vote for their own student-athletes.

ACC Co-Champion Louisville took home two major awards and 14 different schools are represented on the All-ACC Team, led by Louisville with six selections. Five student-athletes were recognized from NC State and Pitt, followed by three from Duke and Notre Dame, two from Florida State, Miami, North Carolina, Syracuse and Virginia Tech, and one each from Clemson, Georgia Tech, Virginia and Wake Forest.

Sauer claimed her second Defensive Player of the Year award, having first earned the honor as a true freshman in 2015. The Louisville, Kentucky, native tallied 456 digs on the year, averaging 4.11 per set.

Rivera is the second Cardinal in the last three years to be named Setter of the Year, after Katie George received the honor in 2015. The Carolina, Puerto Rico, native recorded 1,183 assists on the year, which ranked third in the league, and averaged 10.60 assists per set.

Louisville outside hitter Melanie McHenry joins Wilma Rivera on the First Team All-ACC winners, with Molly Sauer, Tess Clark, Maggie DeJong and Jasmine Bennett earning Second Team All-ACC kudos. It is Clark’s fourth appearance on the honors list and DeJong’s second time being named.

Miami senior outside hitter Olga Strantzali was selected as the 2017 ACC Player of the Year, and highlights the All-ACC Volleyball Team. Strantzali averaged 4.56 kills per set, and 5.28 points per set, both the best marks in the conference. The Thessaloniki, Greece, native racked up 465 kills, which ranked second in the ACC. Strantzali is the first Player of the Year from Miami since Savanah Leaf earned the honor in 2014.

Taryn Knuth, Florida State’s middle blocker, was named Freshman of the Year. Coach of the Year honors went to ACC Co-Champion Pitt’s Dan Fisher.

Knuth is the first Seminole to be selected as Freshman of the year since Cassie McLaughlin in 2003. The rookie middle blocker from Johnston, Iowa, averaged 1.50 blocks per set, the best mark in the ACC. Knuth’s 158 total blocks ranks second in the league, behind only senior Sam Fry of Notre Dame.

Fisher led Pitt to an 18-2 mark in the ACC, a 25-6 overall record, and its first ACC Co-Championship in program history. In his fifth year at the helm of the Panthers, Fisher has guided Pitt to its second-straight NCAA Tournament bid, and has seen five players named to the 2017 All-ACC Team.

An ACC-record six teams earned berths in the 2017 NCAA Division I Volleyball Championship: Florida State, Louisville, Miami, NC State, Notre Dame and Pitt. The first round of play is set for Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.


2017 ACC Volleyball Individual Awards

Player of the Year: Olga Strantzali, Sr., OH, Miami

Defensive Player of the Year: Molly Sauer, Jr., L, Louisville

Setter of the Year: Wilma Rivera, Jr., S, Louisville

Freshman of the Year: Taryn Knuth, MB, Florida State

Coach of the Year: Dan Fisher, Pittsburgh

2017 All-ACC Volleyball First Team

*Olga Strantzali#, Sr., OH, Miami

*Nika Markovic!, So., RS, Pittsburgh

Julia Brown!, Sr., OH, NC State

Wilma Rivera, Jr., S, Louisville

Santita Ebangwese!, Jr., MB, Syracuse

Melanie McHenry, So, OH, Louisville

Milica Kubura@, Sr., RS, Florida State

Gabriela Stavnetchei, Sr., OH, Georgia Tech

Haley Templeton#, Sr., S, Miami

Kamalani Akeo!, Jr., S, Pittsburgh

Stephanie Williams!, So., OH, Pittsburgh

Kylie Pickrell, Jr., S, NC State

Beth Nordhorn, Sr., MH, North Carolina

Ryann DeJarld!, Jr., L, Notre Dame

2017 All-ACC Volleyball Second Team

Samantha Fry@, Sr., MH, Notre Dame

Taylor Leath!, Jr., OH, North Carolina

Jemma Yeadon!, So., OH, Notre Dame

Molly Sauer#, Jr., L, Louisville

Taryn Knuth, Fr., MB, Florida State

Cadie Bates, Sr., OH, Duke

Jaila Tolbert!, Jr., OPP, Virginia Tech

Kylie Long!, Sr., OH, Wake Forest

Kaitlyn Kearney!, Sr., MB, NC State

Tess Clark@, Sr., OH, Louisville

Bree Bailey, Gr., OH, NC State

Maggie DeJong!, Sr., MB, Louisville

Jasmine Bennett, Jr., MB, Louisville

Kaylin Korte, So, OH, Clemson

2017 ACC All-Freshmen Team

Taryn Knuth, MB, Florida State

Kayla Lund, OH, Pittsburgh

Chinaza Ndee, MH, Pittsburgh

Payton Schwantz, OH, Duke

Ella Saada, OH, Syracuse

Kaity Smith, OH, Virginia Tech

Melissa Evans, OPP, NC State

Summer Brown, MB, Duke

Sarah Billiard, OH, Virginia