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North, Huston, Bjorkman Headline All-NWC Volleyball List

Bethany Huston
Bethany Huston

Conference champion Pacific Lutheran placed three players - setter Samantha North, middle blocker Bethany Huston and libero Blair Bjorkman - on the 2012 All-Northwest Volleyball First Team.

Additionally, Bjorkman earned NWC Libero of the Year honors, and head coach Kevin Aoki was selected as NWC Coach of the Year.

Correcting incorrect information from an earlier release, junior outside hitter Haley Urdahl (Oregon City, Ore. / Clackamas HS) earned honorable mention All-Northwest Conference accord.

North (Gig Harbor, Wash. / Gig Harbor HS), a sophomore, was the only conference player to repeat first team honors from the 2011 season. Unfortunately, North's season came to a premature end on Oct. 19 when she suffered a knee ligament injury during warmups prior to PLU's home match against Linfield.

North finished her season averaging 10.14 assists, 2.89 digs and 0.56 blocks per set. She also averaged 1.32 kills while compiling a .301 attack percentage. Among all Division III players she ranks 29th in assists per set. North was the 2011 AVCA West Region Freshman of the Year and also earned first team all-region honors.

Huston (Kennewick, Wash. / Kamiakin HS), a junior middle blocker who led all of Division III in blocks per set a year ago, currently ranks fourth in the nation with an average of 1.34 blocks per set. An honorable mention all-conference choice last year, Huston leads the Lutes with 2.56 kills per set while hitting .263.

Like Huston, Bjorkman (Puyallup, Wash. / Puyallup HS) received honorable mention all-conference recognition in 2011. This year, the senior ranks 25th in the nation with an average of 5.78 digs per set. She has her best performances in conference play against NWC runner-up Puget Sound, averaging nearly 9.0 digs per set in the two matches. Bjorkman, who leads PLU with a total of 32 services aces, was one of only four seniors to receive all-conference honors at any level.

Urdahl was one of the Lutes' top players with averages of 2.46 kills and 3.21 digs per set.

Aoki, who has led Pacific Lutheran to Northwest Conference championships in 1999, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2012, has posted a 302-142 record in 17 years as head coach. He has now earned NWC Coach of the Year honors seven times - 1999, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2012.

Pacific Lutheran, 20-5, continues its season at 12:30 p.m. Friday when it faces Chapman in an opening round match of the NCAA Division III regional tournament in Thousand Oaks, Calif.

- PLU -