Aoki Makes it Three in a Row; Hanna Two-Time Player of the Year
For the second straight year, Kevin Aoki and Beth Hanna have earned the top awards in Northwest Conference volleyball.
Aoki received Coach of the Year recognition from his peers for the third straight season and the fifth time since 1999. He has compiled a 222-116 record while leading the Lutes to the conference title, their third in a row - including a shared title with Linfield in 2006 - and the fifth in 10 seasons.
Conference coaches named Hanna, a sophomore outside hitter from Clackamas, Ore., as repeat winner of Player of the Year honors. Hanna was joined on the all-conference first team by setter Sarah Beaver, a sophomore from Gresham, Ore. Brenna Archibald, a junior libero from Seaside, Ore., earned second team honors while Kelsie Moore, a freshman outside hitter from Oregon City, Ore., was named to the honorable mention list.
Hanna becomes the first player since Whitworth's Julie Weatherred in 2001-02 to win back-to-back Northwest Conference Player of the Year honors. Hanna easily led all players in kills per set in conference play with 4.36 and she ranked sixth in hitting percentage at .226 and 10th in digs with 4.02 per set. Last year, Hanna became the first freshman to earn Northwest Conference Player of the Year honors, and she later received first team West Region and first team All-America recognition, as well as being named national Freshman of the Year in Division III volleyball.
Beaver took the reins of the PLU offense from graduated two-time first team all-conference setter Gina Di Maggio and averaged 10 assists per set in conference matches. Archibald finished first in the conference in digs per set with 5.16 and second in aces per set with 0.45, while Moore finished 10th in conference with an even 3.00 kills per set.
Pacific Lutheran, 20-6 overall, faces Nebraska Wesleyan, 19-9, at 7 p.m. Thursday in the first round of the NCAA Division III West Region volleyball tournament scheduled for Nov. 13-15, at the University of La Verne in La Verne, Calif.
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