TOWSON, Md. – The top two teams in the Landmark Conference, Juniata and Susquehanna, split the four major awards and took home seven of the eight First Team All-Landmark spots. Juniata's Amelia Kepler was named Player of the Year and Susquehanna's Sarah Paluck was chosen as Specialist of the Year. Susquehanna's Erin Byrne was voted Rookie of the Year, while Juniata head coach Heather Pavlik and her staff have been named Coaching Staff of the Year.
Kepler has had an outstanding year for the eighth ranked Eagles. A two-time First Team selection, Kepler averaged 2.95 kills per set this season with 3.50 kills per set in conference play. She is considered one of the best blockers for Juniata and finished with 0.52 blocks per set in the regular season.
Paluck leads the Landmark in digs this season in overall matches and conference matches. She finished the regular season with 646 digs or 5.30 per set. Paluck is also a threat behind the line with 41 service aces in 36 matches.
Byrne was initially recruited as a setter for Susquehanna, but turned out to be a terrific right side hitter for the Crusaders. She had 3.25 kills per set during the regular season to go along with 60 aces and 259 digs. Byrne also added 68 blocks for 0.58 per set.
Kepler's teammate, Amy Miller, joins her on the First Team. Miller has tallied 2.32 kills per set this season with a .240 hitting percentage. She also leads Juniata in aces with 38. Miller's also has great defensive skills demonstrated by her 269 digs. Scranton junior Julia Crilly leads the Landmark in kills and kills per set. She finished the regular season with 3.37 kills per set including six matches against nationally ranked opponents.
Susquehanna's Hayley Dunkel and Juniata's Nakita Gearhart were selected First Team middle hitters. Dunkel ranked second in the Landmark for hitting percentage at .326. She averages 2.16 kills per set and put away 97 blocks in 36 matches. Gearhart was extremely dominant at the net in conference play with a .421 hitting percentage and 0.88 blocks per set. She finished the regular season with 2.19 kills per set.
First Team setter honors go to Juniata's Kelly Reynolds. The freshman stepped in and made an impact immediately. Her effect is demonstrated by her 9.98 assists per set and Juniata's .265 hitting percentage in the regular season against a number of nationally ranked teams.
While a part of two Coaching Staff of the Year awards as an assistant, this marks Pavlik's first Landmark honor as head coach. She has led the nationally ranked Eagles to a 30-4 record thus far with a 5-0 Landmark record. Juniata earned its 33rd consecutive NCAA tournament bid on Monday. The Eagles will host an eight-team regional this weekend with the winner advancing to the quarterfinals.
Listed below are the 2013 All-Landmark Volleyball Teams.
|Player of the Year||Specialist of the Year||Rookie of the Year||Coach of the Year|
The 2013 Landmark Volleyball All-Conference Teams:
|First Team||Second Team|
||San Diego, Calif.||Megan Chalk
||Sr.||Severna Park, Md.|
||Rochester, N.Y.||Bridget Kulesh
||Kane, Pa.||Mary Paige Nesfeder
||Pottsville, Pa.||Mar-Jana Phillips
||Upper Saint Clair, Pa.|
||Nesquehoning, Pa.||Brittani Young||Juniata
* 2012 First Team All-Landmark