Nov. 12, 2012
CHICAGO - A quartet of Loyola women's volleyball players were recognized today as the Horizon League handed out its postseason awards. Senior Anna Eytchison was named Horizon League Newcomer of the Year while earning spots on the both the All-Horizon League and Horizon League All-Newcomer teams while Brittany Brown, Stephanie Kinane and Kathleen Vogel joined her on the All-Newcomer Squad. Cleveland State's Kara Koch was named Player of the Year, Taylor Root of Valparaiso was named Defensive Player of the Year for the third time and the Vikings' Chuck Voss earned the Coach of the Year nod.
The awards cap a terrific season for Eytchison, a graduate student who transferred to Loyola for her final season of eligibility. The Columbia, Ill. native finished the regular season second in the Horizon League with 446 kills (4.37 kills per set), a figure that has her 33 shy of Nichol Amberg's single-season record during the rally-scoring era (2001-present). She has recorded 20 or more kills in 11 matches this season and her average of 5.02 points per set is good for 14th nationally. In addition, she is Loyola's first All-Horizon League player since Sarah Singer in 2008 and the first Rambler to be named Horizon League Newcomer of the Year since Courtney Ashley back in 2003.
"I could not be happier for Anna," said head coach Chris Muscat. "Anna came to Loyola with the intention of making a difference and helping create a culture and foundation for success for future teams. She is a very talented and gifted athlete that values the team and has truly left her mark on the future of Loyola volleyball."
The trio of talented freshmen join Eytchison on the Horizon League All-Newcomer Team. Brown gave the Ramblers a big lift from the setter position, finishing third in the league in assists (1,052, 10.12 aps), and recorded Loyola's first triple-double since 2006 with 10 kills, 29 assists and 10 digs in Loyola's road win over Milwaukee.
"Brittany is one of the rising stars in this program," stated Muscat. "She has excelled in multiple roles this season and, as she continues her development as a setter, I believe that she will be one of the very special group of players that have set in this program. She is always looking to be an impact player in those dare to be great moments and we love her aggressiveness."
A two-time Horizon League Defensive Player of the Week honoree, Kinane was terrific as Loyola's back-row anchor this season. She is currently third in the Horizon League with 530 digs (5.10 dps) and she enters the postseason just 32 shy of Ann Deelo's single-season record of 562 set back in 2006.
"Stephanie's vision, athletic ability, and volleyball IQ make her a very special player within our defensive systems," continued Muscat. "Her ability to make the big play provides a really gritty, tenacious mentality for our team that will anchor our back row play for many years to come.
Vogel rounds out the group after a terrific freshman campaign on the outside. The Prairie Village, Kan. native is third on the team in kills (246, 2.46 kps) and second in the Horizon League in aces (28, 0.28 aps) heading into tournament play. Vogel reached double figures in kills in 12 of 13 matches during one stretch this season and gives the Ramblers another solid six-rotation player.
"Kathleen is a very skilled left-side that we have asked to do a lot of things this season," concluded Muscat. "She has been a major contributor to this team's success. The blue collar culture that we have established at Loyola is due in large part to players like Kathleen, which makes her the heart and soul of Loyola volleyball. Her grittiness and will to win is infectious."
Loyola finished the regular season with a 16-11 record, an improvement of 12 wins from the 2011 season, and enter the Horizon League Championship as the No. 4 seed. The Ramblers will take on fifth-seeded Green Bay in a first round match on Friday (Nov. 16) at 4 p.m. CT in Cleveland.