SAINT LEO, Fla. – The list of accomplishments and honors for the 2009 Saint Leo volleyball continues to grow as the American Volleyball Coaches Association released the nationwide regional teams for the eight regions in the NCAA Division II and the Lions placed four players on the South Region team.
Out of the twenty members listed on the team spread between three conferences, setter Michelle Nogueras, outside hitters Bruna Rocha and Emily Calderon-Reyes as well as middle-hitter Kaitlin McKenna all earned honors on this year’s All-Region squad.
Nogueras, a senior who has earned AVCA All-Region honors for the third time, played and started in every match this season. The native of Cayey, Puerto Rico assisted on nearly 1,300 attacks and averaged almost 11 assists per set. She also managed to notch 175 kills and a .264 attack average. The one-time AVCA National Player of the Year also ranked first on the team in service aces with 33.
In her first year with the Lions, Calderon-Reyes added a serious threat at the pins for the Saint Leo attack. Leading the team in kills, the Caguas, Puerto Rico native was a feature all around the court for the Lions. Posting 3.18 kills per set she led SLU in three of seven team categories including total attacks and receptions and was third on the team in digs with 341, averaging almost three digs per set. Her powerful jump-serve also proved to be a valuable threat to the Lions, notching 32 aces, her delivery earned Saint Leo important set wins on more than one occasion.
A junior from Farmington Hills, Mich. on her second AVCA All-Region team, McKenna was the focus in the middle for SLU and three-time winner of the SSC Player of the Week Award. She strung together an outstanding season, leading the Lions’ starters in attack average as she has flirted with .400 for the entire season, finishing at .377. Finishing second on the team with 359 kills, the NCAA Hitting Percentage champ her freshman year, posted an average of 3.07 kills per set, good enough for 12th in the nation.
Earning honorable mention Rocha, a native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, joined the Lions this season and finished with over 340 kills, almost 380 digs and 25 service aces. She earned AVCA national and conference player of the week honors this season as she became a tremendous threat from the pins, having a tremendous NCAA Tournament run where she dropped 39 kills in three matches, including 22 against West Florida.
So far this season the Lions have laid claim to a 30-4 final record and a Sunshine State Conference regular season title as they wrap up the most successful seasons in Saint Leo history. Individual honors have included an AVCA National Player of the Week, CoSIDA All-District Team, Daktronics All-Region Team, a Conference Coach of the Year, five All-Conference Team honors and now the AVCA All-Region awards. Members named to the AVCA All-Region team are now eligible for AVCA All-America honors.
AVCA All-South Region Team
Name, School, Pos., Yr.
Emily Calderon-Reyes, Saint Leo University, OH, Jr.
Kaitlin McKenna, Saint Leo University, MB, Jr.
Michelle Nogueras, Saint Leo University, S, Sr.
Lydee Benoit, Eckerd College, OH, Sr.
Julia Borecka, Florida Southern College, RS/Opp., Sr.
Kaleigh Cunningham, University of Tampa, OH, Jr.
Patricia Gandolfo, University of West Florida, MB, Sr.
Alison Jacobs, University of North Alabama, S, Sr.
Carly Perschnick, Nova Southeastern University, MB, Fr.
Valia Petrova, Nova Southeastern University, S, Sr.
Lacy Redwine, Lynn University, DS/Lib., Jr.
Sarah Roberts, University of North Alabama, MB, Jr.
Meghan Sherman, University of Tampa, S, Jr.
Melissa Vanderhall, University of Tampa, OH, Jr.
Region Freshman of the Year: Carly Perschnick, Nova Southeastern, MB
Name, School, Pos., Yr.
Bruna Rocha, Saint Leo, OH, Jr.
Jordan Kent, West Alabama, MB, Sr.
Manuela Nesheva, Harding, OH, Sr.
Chelsea Wilhoite,West Florida, OH, Jr.
Bethany Wright, Henderson, DS/Lib., Sr.
Kathleen Yong, Nova Southeastern, DS/Lib., Jr.