ELMHURST, Ill. – The Summit League announced its volleyball awards at the annual banquet Thursday evening. IUPUI claimed three of the five individual honors and led the way with four all-league honorees.
South Dakota's Kendall Kritenbrink garnered Player of the Year honors, while the IUPUI duo of Beth Howard and Alexis Meeks earned Defensive Player of the Year and Setter of the Year, respectively. Denver's Nola Basey was tabbed the Freshman of the Year and IUPUI's Steve Payne was named Coach of the Year.
Kritenbrink became the first Coyote to capture the league's Player of the Year award. The junior outside hitter was the first player in South Dakota history to record 500 kills in a single season and leads the league in kills, both overall (521) and in league play (280). Her 521 kills on the season rank ninth in league history. The two-time Player of the Week averaged a league-best 5.09 kills per set in league play and is second overall with 4.65 kills per set, which ranks ninth in the nation. Kritenbrink is also tops in the league and fifth in the nation averaging 5.41 points per set, while boasting a league-best 5.81 points per set in league play.
Howard was named the Defensive Player of the Year after leading the league in digs (535) and digs per set (4.82). On the year, the junior defensive specialist recorded double-digit digs in all but three matches, including a dozen 20-plus dig efforts and a pair of 30-plus digs matches. In league play, she posted league-bests with 227 digs and 4.63 digs per set. The Fort Wayne, Ind., native earned a league-high three Defensive Player of the Week selections, including back-to-back honors on Oct. 21 and 28. Howard is the first Jaguar to win the league's defensive award since the initial award was given in 2001.
Meeks guided the second ranked offense in league play by dishing out 564 assists and averaging 11.51 assists per set. An Offensive Player of the Week selection on Oct. 14, the junior setter is second in the league in assists (1,181) and assists per set (10.64). She is the only setter to have two of her hitters ranked in the league's top-five in kills per set.
Basey received the Freshman of the Year award after being the only freshman ranked in the top-10 in more than two statistical categories in league play. In league play, she ranked fourth in service aces per set (0.36), eighth in points per set (3.52) and 10th in kills per set (2.93) and digs per set (3.05 digs per set).
Payne earned his second-straight Coach of the Year award and the third of his career after leading IUPUI to back-to-back regular season crowns and its third overall league title in program history. The Jaguars posted a 17-13 overall record and 11-3 mark in league play. His squad is ranked in the league's top-three in seven statistical categories, including leading the league in aces per set (1.44) and digs per set (16.84), which is 22nd in the nation.
The 2013 Summit League Volleyball Championship begins Friday, on the campus of IUPUI, with six teams participating. No. 3 South Dakota faces No. 6 Western Illinois in the first quarterfinal match on Friday, at 4:30 p.m. (ET). The second quarterfinal match pits No. 4 Fort Wayne against No. 5 North Dakota State at 7 p.m. (ET). In Saturday's semifinal matches, No. 2 Denver will face the winner of South Dakota/Western Illinois at 4:30 p.m. (ET) and No. 1 IUPUI is set to take on the winner of Fort Wayne/North Dakota State at 7 p.m. (ET).
The tournament concludes with Sunday's championship match at 2 p.m. (ET). The winner claims The Summit League's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
For complete coverage of The Summit League Volleyball Championship, visit the official championship website at thesummitleague.org/championships and follow the championship Twitter feed @summitchamps.
2013 ALL-SUMMIT LEAGUE VOLLEYBALL TEAMS
Kelsey Biltoft, South Dakota, So., MH
Moriah Fair, IUPUI, Sr., OH
Jenni Fassbender, North Dakota State, So., OH
Kaitlyn Hickey, IUPUI, So., OH
Beth Howard, IUPUI, Jr., DS
Colleen King, Denver, Sr., RS
Kendall Kritenbrink, South Dakota, Jr., OH
Tori Kroll, South Dakota, Sr., S
Alexis Meeks, IUPUI, Sr., S
Brea Muhle, Denver, Sr., MH
Hailie Ripley, Fort Wayne, So., MH
Emily Spencer, Fort Wayne, Jr. OH
Nola Basey, Denver, Fr., OH
Moni Corrujedo, Denver, Fr., OH
Ann Miller, Western Illinois, Jr., OH
Emily Miron, North Dakota State, Fr., MH
Megan Schmale, Omaha, So., OH
Sarah Schmid, Denver, So., MH
Nola Basey, Denver, OH
Monica Claxton, North Dakota State, S
Moni Corrujedo, Denver, OH
Tiara Gibson, South Dakota State, MH
Emily Milligan, North Dakota State, DS
Emily Miron, North Dakota State, MH
Logan Walling, IUPUI, MH
Player of the Year
Kendall Kritenbrink, South Dakota
Defensive Player of the Year
Beth Howard, IUPUI
Setter of the Year
Alexis Meeks, IUPUI
Freshman of the Year
Nola Basey, Denver
Coach of the Year
Steve Payne, IUPUI
ABOUT THE SUMMIT LEAGUE
In its fourth decade of Division I athletics, The Summit League offers 19 championship sports and has a combined enrollment of over 120,000 at eight institutions, including three located in top 60 U.S. metro populations and two land-grant universities. Member institutions include: Denver (University of Denver), Fort Wayne (Indiana University-Purdue University-Fort Wayne), IUPUI (Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis), North Dakota State University, Omaha (University of Nebraska Omaha), the University of South Dakota, South Dakota State University and Western Illinois University. Previously known as the Mid-Continent Conference, The Summit League rebranded in 2007 and has since produced eight NCAA Champions, 62 All-Americans and 50 Academic All-America selections.