INDIANAPOLIS -- Milwaukee senior Rachel Neuberger has been named the Horizon League Volleyball Player of the Year, while Youngstown State senior Jenna Cavanaugh earned Defensive Player of the Year accolades. Green Bay’s Shannon Hurley collected Freshman of the Year honors, while Milwaukee’s coach Susie Johnson was named Coach of the Year in voting of the League’s coaches.
Neuberger was the top offensive player in the Horizon League this season as she was the only player in the League to rank in the top-five in both hitting percentage and kills per set. For the season, the now three-time All-League selection hit .367, but she has increased that hitting percentage in League contests to .406. Her 3.48 kills per set average in League games was also the second highest mark in the conference.
The 2010 Newcomer of the Year in the Horizon League also was effective on defense as she finished the regular season with 100 blocks.
Neuberger’s head coach, Susie Johnson, was honored as she was named Coach of the Year after leading Milwaukee to a 12-2 League mark and its third regular season title in four seasons. In seven seasons at Milwaukee, Johnson has now been named the League’s Coach of the Year five times.
Neuberger was joined on the All-League team by teammates Julie Kolinske (League-best 3.60 kills per set in conference matches) and Kayla Price (League-best 10.82 assist/set average). Fellow Panther Myanna Ruiz was on the All-Freshman team.
Cavanaugh was named Defensive Player of the Year after pacing the conference with an average of 1.47 blocks per set. The senior middle blocker had 24 solo blocks and finished with 143 total blocks on the year. In League play, Cavanaugh had 82 blocks, 11 more than the next closest player.
Cavanaugh’s teammate Alexis Egler (316 kills and 297 digs) joined Cavanaugh on the All-League team.
Hurley earned the Freshman of the Year award after finishing the regular season with a League-best 3.34 kill per set average. She had a season-best 23 kills in Green Bay’s five-set win over Auburn in September. Three of Hurley’s teammates made the All-League team, led by sophomores Emily Riese (League-high 1,131 assists) and Jillian Bauer (League-best 539 digs). Senior Leah Van Zeeland also represented the Phoenix on the All-League team.
Second place finisher Valparaiso had three players on the All-League team. The Crusaders, who with a 24-7 record extended their streak to 11 consecutive years with 20-plus wins, saw seniors Ellen Vanden Berg (League-best 144 blocks), Sarah Dooms (309 kills and 418 digs) and junior Morgan Beil (274 kills, .290 hitting percentage) make the team. For Beil it marks her third consecutive year on the All-League team and gives her the chance next season to become just the second player in League history to make the All-League team four times.
The All-League team was rounded out by Oakland’s Cassie Pelloni (329 kills, second-most in the League) , Cleveland State’s Maggie Hannon (one of just two players in the League - the other was Neuberger - to rank in the top-10 in kills and blocks) and UIC’s Sara Sternard (3.02 kills per set and .290 hitting percentage), while the All-Freshman team consisted of Hurley, Ruiz, Oakland’s Jessica Dood and Melissa Deatsch, Valparaiso’s Morganne Longoria and Emily Campbell and Cleveland State’s Grace Kauth.
The Horizon League Volleyball Championship begins on Friday, Nov. 22 at Klotsche Center in Milwaukee, Wis. The quarterfinals start with No. 5 Youngstown State facing No. 4 Green Bay at 5:30 (ET) and No. 6 Cleveland State playing No. 3 Oakland at 8:00 p.m. (ET). No. 1 Milwaukee will square off against the lowest remaining seed while No. 2 Valparaiso will meet the highest remaining team in the semifinals, which begin at 5:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Nov. 23. The championship contest begins at 2 p.m. ET on Sunday, Nov. 24.
All five matches will be carried live on the Horizon League Network at HorizonLeague.com.
2013 HORIZON LEAGUE AWARD WINNERS
Player of the Year: Rachel Neuberger, Milwaukee
Defensive Player of the Year: Jenna Cavanaugh, Youngstown State
Freshman of the Year: Shannon Hurley, Green Bay
Coach of the Year: Susie Johnson, Milwaukee
Rachel Neuberger, Milwaukee (Sr., MB)
Ellen Vanden Berg, Valparaiso (Sr., MH)
Kayla Price, Milwaukee (So., S)
Morgan Beil, Valparaiso (Jr., RS)
Cassie Pelloni, Oakland (So., OH)
Jenna Cavanaugh, Youngstown State (Sr., MB)
Julie Kolinske, Milwaukee (Jr., OH)
Emily Riese, Green Bay (So., S)
Jillian Bauer, Green Bay (So., L)
Maggie Hannon, Cleveland State (Jr., MH)
Sarah Dooms, Valparaiso (Sr., OH)
Alexis Egler, Youngstown State (Jr., OH)
Sara Sternard, UIC (Jr., MB)
Leah Van Zeeland, Green Bay (Sr., RS)
Shannon Hurley, Green Bay (Fr., OH)
Jessica Dood, Oakland (Fr., RS)
Morganne Longoria, Valparaiso (Fr., L)
Myanna Ruiz, Milwaukee (Fr., OH)
Emily Campbell, Valparaiso (Fr., OH)
Grace Kauth, Cleveland State (Fr., OH)
Melissa Deatsch, Oakland (Fr., OH)