Havili named AVCA Midwest Region POY, four Jayhawks honored
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) crowned Kansas volleyball senior setter Ainise Havili as the AVCA Midwest Region Player of the Year in a release of the all-region honors on Tuesday. In addition to region player of the year honors, KU is represented by three all-region honorees and one honorable mention.
Havili, senior right-side hitter Kelsie Payne and senior outside hitter Madison Rigdon earned AVCA All-Midwest Region honors, while sophomore middle blocker Zoe Hill was awarded honorable mention recognition.
It is the fourth AVCA All-Midwest Region First Team honor for Havili, third for Payne and second for Rigdon. Hill nets all-region honors for the first time with Tuesday’s announcement.
This is the first season the AVCA has handed out AVCA region player of the year awards.
Havili is fresh off earning a record-setting third-straight Big 12 Setter of the Year honor after leading the Big 12 in assists per set (11.37) during the 2017 campaign. The Fort Worth, Texas, native owns KU’s all-time record in career assists (5,255) and led Kansas to the top-two most-efficient offensive seasons in program history with a .258 team hitting percentage in 2017 and a .299 hitting percentage in 2015. Havili had 12 50-assist matches this season, including the most assists recorded by a Big 12 player this season with 63 at NC State.
Payne nets her third AVCA All-Region honor after also being named All-Big 12 First Team for the third-straight season. The Austin, Texas, native ends her collegiate career as KU’s all-time leader in career kills (1,510), career kills per set (3.63) and career hitting percentage (.334). Payne ranked third in Big 12 in kills per set (3.66) and fourth in points per set (4.09) during the 2017 campaign. The two-time AVCA first-team All-American features five 20-kill matches this season.
Rigdon earns all-region honors for the second-straight season as KU’s leader in aces per set (0.27) and points per set (4.18) this season, which ranked second and fourth in the Big 12, respectively. The Pflugerville, Texas, native earned Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week honors twice this season and has led Kansas in kill-dig double-doubles for three-straight seasons, including 12 in 2017.
Hill led the Big 12 in hitting percentage during conference play (.406) and finished the season with 108 total blocks. The Houston, Texas, native averaged 2.14 points per set and 0.98 blocks per set during her sophomore campaign. After posting a .708 hitting percentage in a span of two matches, Hill earned her first in Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week honor on Oct. 9 this season.
The AVCA all-region teams are awards are voted by a committee of head coaches in each region. The AVCA Midwest Region Committee includes Melissa Stokes (Missouri State), Reed Sunahara (West Virginia), Kelli Miller (Ball State), Rose Shires (Omaha), Christi Posey (UMKC), Debbie Buchanan (Idaho), Tim Horsmon (Dayton) and David Schwepker (Murray State).
The AVCA Midwest Region is comprised of 40 schools from eight different conferences. See below for a complete list.
Kansas (22-8) concluded the 2017 season after making its sixth-straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
AVCA MIDWEST REGION AWARDS Award Name School Player of the Year Ainise Havili Kansas Freshman of the Year Rylee Cookerly Valparaiso Coach of the Year Melissa Stokes Missouri State
AVCA ALL-MIDWEST REGION Name School Pos. Cl. Emily Butters Missouri State L Jr. Amber Erhahon Dayton MB Sr. Ainise Havili Kansas S Sr. Hali Hillegas Iowa State L RS-So. Heather Hook Northern Iowa S Sr. Lily Johnson Missouri State OH Sr. Laura Milos Oral Roberts OH Sr. Kelsie Payne Kansas RS Sr. Madison Rigdon Kansas OH Sr. Jess Schaben Iowa State OH Jr. Karlie Taylor Northern Iowa OH So. Piper Thomas Northern Iowa MB Jr. Samara West Iowa State RS RS-Sr. Lynsey Wright Missouri State MB Sr.
HONORABLE MENTION Name School Pos. Cl. Payton Caffrey West Virginia OH So. Alexis Conaway Iowa State OH Sr. Zoe Hill Kansas MB So. Rebecca Latham Denver RS Jr. Kassandra Tohm New Mexico State OH Sr. Bri Weber Northern Iowa OH Jr.
AVCA MIDWEST REGION School Conference Ball State MAC Central Michigan MAC Chicago State Western Athletic Davidson Atlantic 10 Dayton Atlantic 10 Denver Summit League Drake Missouri Valley Duquesne Atlantic 10 Eastern Illinois Ohio Valley Eastern Kentucky Ohio Valley Eastern Michigan MAC Eastern Washington Big Sky Idaho Big Sky Iowa State Big 12 Kansas Big 12 Kansas State Big 12 LaSalle Atlantic 10 Missouri State Missouri Valley Montana Big Sky Montana State Big Sky Morehead State Ohio Valley Murray State Ohio Valley New Mexico State Western Athletic North Dakota Big Sky Northern Colorado Big Sky Northern Illinois MAC Northern Iowa Missouri Valley Oral Roberts Summit League Saint Louis Atlantic 10 South Dakota Summit League SEMO Ohio Valley Southern Illinois Missouri Valley SIU-Edwardsville Ohio Valley Toledo MAC UMKC Western Athletic Omaha Summit League UT-Pan American Western Athletic Valparaiso Missouri Valley West Virginia Big 12 Western Michigan MAC FOLLOW
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