WWU’s five selections to the 2018 GNAC Volleyball All-Conference Team. PHOTO: WWU Athletics
Abby Phelps Named GNAC Player of the Year
November 13, 2018
ELLINGHAM, Wash. – For the second consecutive season, Western Washington University senior outside hitter Abby Phelps has been named the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Player of the Year, highlighting the Vikings five selections to the 2018 GNAC Volleyball All-Conference Team.
Joining Phelps as First Team All-GNAC selections include senior middle Michaela Hall, senior setter Brette Boesel and junior middle Kayleigh Harper. Senior libero Aubrey Stephens was also named All-GNAC as an honorable mention selection.
WWU head coach Diane Flick-Williams was also named the GNAC Coach of the Year, the 10th time in 19 years leading the Vikings she has earned the top coaching honor in the conference.
“This is a pretty special group of people who have made a huge impact on this program so they deserve all the recognition they are getting,” said Flick-Williams. “Their day-to-day work ethic since they stepped foot in this program has been nothing but incredible. The best part of them is how they make people around them better and so we have been very fortunate to have them not only for their individual talents, but also for what amazing teammates and leaders they are.”
Phelps becomes the second player in GNAC history to win the Player of the Year twice in a career and in back-to-back years, joining former Viking setter Liz Bishop in 2002 and 2003. She is also the second player in GNAC history to be a four-time First Team all-conference selection, joining Alaska Anchorage outside hitter Julia Mackey (2012-15).
So far during her senior season for the GNAC Champion Vikings, Phelps leads the conference with 23 double-doubles, and leads the league averaging 3.91 kills per set. Heading into the postseason, she already holds the WWU and GNAC record for career kills (1,534) and points (1752.0).
“This is a pretty special group of people who have made a huge impact on this program so they deserve all the recognition they are getting. Their day to day work ethic since they stepped foot in this program has been nothing but incredible. The best part of them is how they make people around them better and so we have been very fortunate to have them not only for their individual talents, but also for what amazing teammates and leaders they are.”
Harper becomes a three-time First Team All-GNAC selection, recording a dominating junior season with league-leading marks in hitting percentage (.397) and blocks (1.43 per set). Harper is 5th in WWU history and 7th in GNAC history with 426 career blocks, a 1.31 blocks per set average.
Hall becomes a two-time First Team All-GNAC selection, averaging 2.74 kills per set with a .364 attack percentage and 1.14 blocks per set. She ranks among GNAC leaders in hitting percentage (3rd), blocks (6th), points (11th) and kills (15th). In the GNAC record book she is listed 10th with 414 career blocks, the 7th-best mark in WWU history.
Boesel was a was named First Team All-GNAC for the second consecutive season, ranking 2nd in the conference averaging 11.85 assists per set. She also averaged 0.22 service aces per set (21 aces) and 1.93 digs per set while recording three double-doubles (assists-digs).
Stephens earned honorable mention acclaim for the second consecutive season while ranking 4th in the conference with 4.96 digs per set. She recorded double-digits in digs in 27 of 28 matches. For her career, Stephens is 10th in WWU history with 1,212 and 14th in GNAC history averaging 4.77 digs per set.
Flick-Williams was selected as the GNAC Coach of the Year for the 10th time in her 19 seasons at the helm of the WWU program. She is the back-to-back winner of the award, with WWU going 39-1 over the last two seasons in GNAC play, and also earned top coaching honors in 2001-2003, 2006 (co), 2007, 2010 (co), 2012 and 2013 (co).
The Vikings head into their seventh consecutive NCAA II Championships appearances with a 25-3 record and are the No. 1 seed in the West Regional that will be hosted in Carver Gym starting with four quarterfinal matches on Thursday. WWU carries a school-record 25-match winning streak into Thursday’s match vs. No. 8 seed Cal State East Bay.
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