Courtesy of Sports Information Desk
ASHLAND – A trio of Southern Oregon University volleyball players secured spots on the Cascade Conference all-star team, which was released Monday by the league office.
Renee Yomtob led the Raiders on the 14-person list and doubled as the CCC Defensive Specialist/Libero of the Year. Lauren McGowne and Paulla Pinheiro were SOU’s other selections, and McGowne was the CCC Freshman of the Year.
The Raiders, whose season ended Friday in the conference tournament’s semifinals, went 12 straight weeks without an offensive or defensive conference player of the week, but collectively thrived on their way to a 13-5 CCC record.
In the end, though, the numbers were too much to ignore.
Yomtob, a repeat all-conference selection, led all CCC players with 5.72 digs per set on the season. She totaled 526 digs to finish her career with 1,631, just 16 short of the SOU record, and led the Raiders in every match.
McGowne, a freshman setter, didn’t become a starter until SOU’s ninth match but blossomed immediately, setting new career highs in assists in five straight outings. She topped the CCC with 11.31 assists per set and hit 50 in five different matches, including one that only went three sets. McGowne’s touch helped the Raiders to the conference’s No. 1 team attacking average (.248).
Establishing herself as one of the most electric players in the conference, Pinheiro also did her best work as the season went on. The junior outside hitter, in her first year with the Raiders, reached double-figure kill marks in 12 of her last 13 regular season matches and hit at a .266 clip for the year. Her 3.20 kills per set were seventh among CCC players, her 0.55 aces were second and she was second on the team in digs (2.59).
Eastern Oregon’s Casey Loper claimed player of the year kudos. The junior middle was second in the CCC in hitting percentage (.350) and kills per set (3.55) and third in blocks (1.07).
Liz Mendiola, who led College of Idaho to its eighth straight conference title, was named the top coach for the second year in a row. The Coyotes were the only CCC team to the 24-team NAIA National Championships.