Four Bears Net Volleyball All-Conference Recognition
CONFERENCE RELEASE: 2008
All-Big Sky Conference volleyball
BRACKET: 2008 Big Sky Volleyball Tournament
OGDEN, Utah -- Northern Colorado’s volleyball team had its best season at the NCAA Division I level this year.
And Big Sky Conference coaches took notice.
The league office released its 2008 all-conference teams and individual honorees tonight at a pre-conference-tournament banquet, and four of Lyndsey Benson’s Bears were honored.
Junior Kenzie Shreeve (Eagle, Colo.) was a first-team selection, while junior Allison Raguse (Lincoln, Neb.) was a second-team honoree. Senior Lauren Carter (Castle Rock, Colo.) and Taylor Smith (Denton, Texas) were honorable-mention picks.
Northern Colorado is scheduled to begin play as the No. 3 seed in this year’s tournament at 11:30 a.m. tomorrow against sixth-seeded Sacramento State. A win their will earn the Bears a date with top-seeded Portland State in one of tomorrow night’s semifinal matches.
The Bears swept the Hornets this season and split with the Vikings.
Eastern Washington’s Hayley Hills was a unanimous choice for a first-team all-conference spot and the league’s MVP award. She enters Friday’s semifinal play with 456 kills and 273 digs on the year.
Hills was dominant for the Eagles all season, but Northern Colorado was able to hold her in check in its two matches against her. She had just 19 kills and 15 digs in her two meetings with the Bears.
Shreeve’s first-team nod is historic for Northern Colorado in that it’s the Bears’ first since joining the Big Sky Conference. She ended the regular season as the Bears’ leader in kills (377) and service aces (31) and was second in digs (211). She was a Big Sky honorable-mention selection last season.
Raguse, who was twice named Big Sky Conference Player of the Week this season (Sept. 1, Nov. 3), earned the second postseason conference award of her career with the selection. She was a second-team selection last season, too.
Raguse finished Northern Colorado’s regular season second in kills (249) and blocks (67).
This is the first all-conference selection for Carter, who was originally recruited by Benson as a defensive specialist. A void at the setter position thrust her into the starting spot her junior year, and the rest was history.
She moved onto Northern Colorado’s top 10 all-time assists list during the Bears’ season-opening victory this year against Villanova, and she enters tomorrow’s matches in the No. 7 spot (2,057) after dishing out 1,030 assists during the regular season.
Smith, who also earned her first all-conference selection, was perhaps the most unheralded of all the Northern Colorado players this season. She ended the regular season with the Bears’ best hitting percentage among those with more than 50 attacks (.322), and she was only two Big Sky players who finished the year above the .300 mark.
She was also the clear-cut leader at the blocking position for the Bears, stonewalling 85 opponent attacks (.91 per set).