Wittenberg senior outside hitter Maddie Fischer (Minerva, OH/Minerva) has been named the Player of the Year and Denison senior Kristin Thewes (Austin, TX/St. Stephen’s Episcopal) was named the Libero of the Year to highlight the 2017 All-North Coast Athletic Conference volleyball selections.
Fischer, who is now the 13th different player in Wittenberg history to earn the NCAC’s top honor, was a repeat selection on the first team this year after leading a 20-2 Tigers squad that was ranked No. 1 in the nation by the AVCA for the majority of the season. In 22 total regular season matches, Fischer ranked third in the NCAC in kills per set at 3.55 (284 kills) and 12th overall in digs with 253 (3.16 dpg). She finished the regular season with 13 double-double performances, which included a 10-dig and season-high 21 kill effort in a 3-1 win over Denison on October 11th, and a 15-kill and season-best 23 dig-performance in a 3-0 win over Clarkson on September 15th. In 80 total regular season sets, Fischer smashed 284 kills and committed 104 hitting errors in 792 attempts for a .227 hitting percentage.
After landing on the first team for the third year in a row, Ohio Wesleyan senior outside hitter Iris Anderson (Elk Grove, CA/Christian Brothers) is the only four-time All-NCAC performer on the 2017 All-NCAC team. She was also a second-team honoree in 2014. Denison senior middle hitter Leah Reinfranck (Northbrook, IL/Glenbrook North) was also named to the top team for the second year in a row after earning honorable-mention accolades in 2015. Wittenberg sophomore middle blocker Aubrey Cox (Tipp City, OH/Tippecanoe), who was the NCAC Newcomer of the Year last fall, joined Fischer and Reinfranck as a member of the top team for the second year in a row. Wittenberg junior setter Karen Wildemann (Columbus, IN/North) elevated to the first team this season from the 2016 honorable mention squad, while the DePauw duo of junior outside hitter Suzanne Peters (Ft. Wayne, IN/Homestead) and sophomore right-side hitter Morgan Stearley (Center Point, IN/Northview) both make their All-NCAC debut on the first team this year.
Thewes, who landed on the All-NCAC honorable mention squad for the second year in a row, was named the 2017 NCAC Libero of the Year after finishing the regular season with a league-leading 593 digs in 103 total sets for an average of 5.76 digs per set. She eclipsed the 25-dig mark in 12 different matches, which included posting a career-high 39 digs in a 3-2 loss at Bluffton on September 28th and then again in another five-set loss at home against Otterbein on October 1st. Her top individual effort in league play was a 37-dig performance in a key 3-2 win over Hiram, also on October 1st.
Ohio Wesleyan freshman setter Molly Jewett (Eagle, CO/Eagle Valley) was named the 2017 NCAC Newcomer of the Year as the league’s top player in her first year of collegiate competition after finishing second in the conference during the regular season with 920 total assists in 89 sets for an average of 10.34 assists per set. She dished out 40 or more assists in 12 different regular season matches, which included a season-best 58 assists in a 3-2 win over Elmhurst on October 14th. She also surpassed the 50-assist mark back on September 23rd with 53 total helpers in a 3-2 league win over Hiram.
Wittenberg head coach Paco Labrador was named the 2017 NCAC Volleyball Coach of the Year for the eighth time in his career after leading the Tigers to a perfect 8-0 mark in league play for the seventh year in a row. The Tigers finished the regular season slate win an overall record of 20-2 and held the top spot in the AVCA Top-25 Poll from September 19th through October 31st. Now in his 15th year at Wittenberg, Labrador owns an overall career record of 448-70 (.865), which includes an astonishing 162-2 mark in NCAC regular season matches.