2014 NAC Volleyball All-Conference Announced; Keating & Strong Earn Top Honors

Colby-Sawyer senior outside hitter Jackie Keating (Marshfield, Mass.) has been selected as the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) Volleyball Player of the Year, while Charger teammate freshman defensive specialist Lexi Strong (Somersworth, N.H.) earned the honor of both Defensive Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year to headline the 2014 All-Conference announcement. Colby-Sawyer head coach Brett Sayer earned the Coach of the Year honor and Johnson State was voted to receive the Team Sportsmanship Award.

NAC All-Conference selections are determined by a vote of the conference coaches.

 

 

Keating, a senior outside hitter from Marshfield, Mass., will look to continue to build upon an already impressive final season at Colby-Sawyer, as the Chargers have earned the No. 1 seed in the upcoming NAC Championship Tournament. The outside hitter has hit .312 or better in 12 of the Chargers 33 matches, while in conference action she averaged a .359 hitting percentage. The 2012 NAC Player of the Year ranks in the top four in four categories in the NAC including second in kills (337), third in kills per set (3.01), and fourth in both service aces (50) and digs (349). The two-time NAC Tournament MVP will look to capture her fourth and final conference championship title this weekend.


 

 

Strong, a freshman defensive specialist from Somersworth, N.H., has been extremely dominant during her first year of collegiate competition. The rookie has received the conference's Defensive Player of the Week honor five times this season, while leading the league with 499 total digs and a 4.50 average. Strong also received NAC Rookie of the Week accolades six times. The defensive specialist has tallied 15 or more digs in 17 out of the Chargers 33 matches, while notching the 20-dig plateau six times. She has also recorded 46 service aces, which ties her for fifth in the conference, while also earning 56 assists on the year.

 

 

 

 

Sayer, in his sixth year guiding the Chargers, is being recognized as NAC Coach of the Year for the fourth consecutive time. Under Sayer's tutelage, the Chargers enter the upcoming NAC Championship Tournament as the No. 1 seed, vying for their fourth-straight title. After concluding the regular season with an overall record of 25-8 and a perfect 6-0 record in conference play, Sayer's Chargers have recorded an unblemished 26-0 NAC mark since joining in 2011. Colby-Sawyer concluded the regular season ranking among the NAC's top statistical teams in overall play. In the six conference matches, the Chargers led the league in kills (231), kills per set (12.83), hitting percentage (.309), assists (204), assists per set (11.33), and service aces (68). Colby-Sawyer also ranks 30th in the nation with 275 service aces and 47th with 2.41 aces per set according to the most recent NCAA Division III rankings.

 

Joining Keating and Strong on the first team All-Conference were Charger teammates senior Stephanie Vecchio (Shelter Island, N.Y.) and junior Laura Smolinski (Hebron, Conn.), Johnson State sophomore Breanna Laughlin (San Jacinto, Calif.), and Maine Maritime sophomore Gillian O'Neal (Burbank, Calif.).

Second team honorees include Green Mountain sophomore Celeste Bowers (Morgan City, La.), Lyndon sophomore Abbey Greene (Exeter, R.I.), Castleton senior Kaylee Pratt (Hampton, N.Y.), Maine Maritime seniors Sydney Robertson (Barnstead, N.H.) and Betsy Trenckmann (La Veta, Colo.), and Husson freshman Sarah Wilson (Dover, N.H.).

2014 NAC Volleyball All-Conference Teams

To view a PDF list of the All-Conference team click HERE

First Team    
Jackie Keating               Senior              Colby-Sawyer
Breanna Laughlin  Sophomore  Johnson State
Gillian O'Neal   Sophomore Maine Maritime
Laura Smolinski Junior Colby-Sawyer
Lexi Strong Freshman  Colby-Sawyer
Stephanie Vecchio  Senior  Colby-Sawyer
     
Second Team    
Celeste Bowers  Sophomore  Green Mountain
Abbey Greene  Sophomore  Lyndon
Kaylee Pratt  Senior  Castleton
Sydney Robertson  Senior  Maine Maritime
Betsy Trenckmann  Senior  Maine Maritime
Sarah Wilson   Freshman Husson

 

Player of the Year - Jackie Keating, Colby-Sawyer
Defensive Player of the Year & Rookie of the Year - Lexi Strong, Colby-Sawyer
Coach of the Year - Brett Sayer, Colby-Sawyer
Team Sportsmanship Award - Johnson State