INDIANAPOLIS -- UIC senior Stephenee Yancy, has been named the Horizon League’s Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, Valparaiso junior Morganne Longoria has been named the conference’s Preseason Defensive Player of the Year and Val Jeffery of Youngstown State is the League’s Preseason Setter of the Year after voting of the league’s nine head coaches. The coaches were not allowed to vote for players on their own team.
Yancy was Co-Horizon League Player of the Year last season after putting together one of the most prolific offensive seasons in UIC history. The senior middle blocker led the Horizon League with 512 kills and also paced the conference with a .358 attack percentage. Her 512 kills ranked 24th nationally while her hitting percentage broke UIC’s single-season program record.
Longoria started 32 matches at libero last season for Valpo. She led the Crusaders with 506 digs (4.44/set), ranking fifth in the Horizon League in the category. She reached double figures in digs in 28 of 32 matches, tallying at least 20 digs on nine occasions. With 1,075 digs in her first two seasons, she is on pace to become just the third player in Horizon League history to record over 2,000 digs in their career.
Jeffery was named the HL’s Setter of the Year last season in the first year the League offered the honor. She started all 28 matches last year for the Penguins and posted 1,099 assists, 101 kills and 18 aces. With Jeffery running the offense, YSU had its most kills per set since 2007 and posted its highest attack percentage since 1999.
Jeffery and Yancy were joined on the seven-member Preseason All-League team by Valparaiso’s Emily Campbell, Oakland’s Sammy Condon and Cassie Pelloni, Cleveland State’s Grace Kauth and Milwaukee’s Kayla Price.
Campbell was Co-Horizon League Player of the Year last season with Yancy. The Valpo junior led the Crusaders with 480 kills, rankings second in the League and hit at a .253 clip. She reached double figures in kills 29 times and surpassed the 20-kill mark on eight occasions. Her 480 kills rank as the fifth-highest in a single season in program history.
Condon was a member of the All-Freshman and All-Horizon League teams last season and capped off a stellar rookie campaign by being named the Tournament MVP of the Horizon League tournament. She led Oakland and ranked sixth in the Horizon League with a .277 hitting percentage and her 257 kills were the most of any freshman in the League.
Kauth was named to the All-Horizon League team last season after leading the Vikings with 277 kills on the year. She started all 28 matches and ranked second on the team with 299 digs. She recorded nine double-doubles on the year.
Pelloni was an All-Horizon League led Oakland in kills for the second straight season last year, finishing her junior campaign with 358. Her 358 kills rank as the fourth-best single-season total in Oakland history.
Price was named to the All-Horizon League team for the second time in her career after finishing her junior season second in the conference with an average of 11.47 assists per set. She tallied 30 or more assists in all but three matches on the season, including reaching 50 or more seven times. She also reached double figures in digs eight times on the year.
The volleyball season begins Friday, Aug. 29. The Horizon League Tournament will feature the top six teams in the league and will run from Nov. 21-23, with all matches played at the venue of the No. 1 seed.
Preseason Offensive Player of the Year: Stephenee Yancy, UIC (Sr., MB)
Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: Morganne Longoria, Valparaiso (Jr., L)
Preseason Setter of the Year: Val Jeffery, Youngstown State (Jr., S)
Preseason All-League Team
Emily Campbell, Valparaiso (Jr., OH/RS)
Sammy Condon, Oakland (So., MH)
Val Jeffery, Youngstown State (Jr., S)
Grace Kauth, Cleveland State (Jr., OH)
Cassie Pelloni, Oakland (Sr., OH)
Kayla Price, Milwaukee (Sr., S)
Stephenee Yancy, UIC (Sr., MB)