LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. – In exclusive all-conference voting by the head coaches of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC), Rachel Thibodeau of Southwestern University was selected SCAC Player-of-the-Year while Colorado College head coach Rick Swan and Trinity University head coach Julie Jenkins were named SCAC Co-Coaches-of-the-Year. Complete Release
In the same balloting, Meredith Erwin of Trinity was selected the SCAC Backrow Player-of-the-Year, and Emily Phillips of Colorado College was named SCAC Freshman-of-the-Year.
Thibodeau, a senior outside hitter from Richardson, Texas, was the Pirates' go-to player all season. The senior captain leads the conference in kills per set (3.39) and is second in total kills (363) heading into this weekend's conference tournament. In addition to leading the team in kills for the second consecutive season, Thibodeau, a strong all-around player, is second on the Southwestern team in hitting percentage (.207), third in service aces (.27 per set) and fourth in both digs (3.07 per set) and blocks (0.38 per set). An all-SCAC and AVCA All-South Region First Team selection a year ago, Thibodeau's Player-of-the-Year selection marks the sixth time a Southwestern player has earned the league's highest honor and the fourth time in the last five years. Christina Nicholls won the award last season and Audra Gentry earned back-to-back Player-of-the-Year honors in 2008 and 2009.
Four different players received votes for Player-of-the-Year, with Thibodeau receiving two first-place votes. Emily Phillips of Colorado College also received two votes while Laura Goldsmith of Colorado College and Meredith Erwin of Trinity received one vote each.
Erwin, a senior libero from Oakton, Va., was selected the league's Backrow Player-of-the-Year after finishing the regular season with 473 digs (fourth in the SCAC). In addition to leading the team in total digs and digs per set (3.97), she also led the Tigers in passing average (2.49) and aces (39). A third team All-SCAC selection last season, Erwin broke Trinity's career record for digs earlier this season and currently sits at just over 1,900 for her career. This is just the second time a Trinity player has earned Backrow Player-of-the-Year honors and the first since Maggie Chang was selected Backrow Co-Player-of-the-Year in 2004.
Erwin received three votes from the coaches in earning the Backrow Player-of-the-Year award. Laura Goldsmith of Colorado College, Chandler Lentz of Southwestern and Adrienne Reynolds of Austin College received one vote each.
Phillips, a first-year outside hitter from The Woodlands, Texas, was arguably Colorado College's most consistent all-around player this season as she led the team in points earned (307) while averaging 3.09 kills per set with an attacking percentage of .277 in SCAC competition. After an early season injury limited her playing time in the backrow in the team's first 14 matches, she has since averaged 4.38 digs per set while playing all six rotations. Phillips tallied 278 kills, 261 digs, 32 blocks, and 12 aces on the season and played every set for Colorado College during SCAC regular season competition.
Phillips was the near-consensus choice for SCAC Freshman-of-the-Year, earning four votes from the coaches for the award. Katie Foster of Southwestern received the remaining two first-place votes.
Coach Julie Jenkins has guided Trinity to a 19-14 overall record this season and an 8-2 mark in the SCAC. After starting the year at 0-8, the Tigers have roared back with 19 wins in their last 25 matches while playing a schedule that included games against nine teams that were ranked in AVCA Top 25 at the time of the match. In her 29th year has a head coach (28th at Trinity), Jenkins is the second-winningest active coach in all of Division III and stands at 759 wins heading into this weekend's conference tournament. She is the sixth winningest coach in the history of Division III women's volleyball. This is the 10th time that Jenkins has been recognized as SCAC Volleyball Coach-of-the-Year and she becomes just the fourth coach in conference history to earn 10+ COTY honors in a single sport.
Coach Rick Swan has led Colorado College to a 21-9 overall mark; 8-2 in the SCAC, in his 15th year as head volleyball coach of the Tigers. Owner of a 353-139 record (.717) since taking the reins in 1998, Swan has guided CC to a school-record 14 consecutive appearances in the NCAA Division III playoffs. In 2011, Swan earned his first-ever West Region Coach of the Year award by the American Volleyball Coaches Association for leading Colorado College to back-to-back SCAC championships. The Tigers were the top seed of their region for the third straight year after earning their second-ever automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. CC advanced to the regional final of the NCAA playoffs and finished the year ranked No. 12 in the AVCA's Top 25 with a 33-7 record for the second-best mark in program history. The award marks the second time Swan has been recognized by his peers as the conference's Coach-of-the-Year.
Jenkins and Swan each received three votes from their peers in the Coach-of-the-Year voting to share the honor.
Those selected to the 2012 All-Conference volleyball team will be formally recognized Friday evening at the SCAC Volleyball Tournament.
To view the entire 2012 All-SCAC Volleyball Team, click here.
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