Samantha North earned American Volleyball Coaches Association All-West Region first team honors for the second straight year, and she was joined on the prestigious all-region list by first-time honorees Blair Bjorkman and Bethany Huston.
The Pacific Lutheran trio joined 11 other athletes who were named to the all-region first team, including three players from Chapman University, the team that PLU faces at 12:30 p.m. Friday in an opening round match of the Division III regional tournament. PLU enters the tournament as the No. 7 seed, while Chapman is No. 2.
PLU and Chapman had the most players named to the all-region first team, and Chapman also had two named to the honorable mention all-region list. California Lutheran, the regional tournament host and No. 1 seed, had two players named to the first team and another to the honorable mention list.
North (Gig Harbor, Wash. / Gig Harbor HS), a sophomore setter, was the West
Region Freshman of the Year and a first team selection in 2011. North's season came to an unfortunate and premature end on Oct. 19 when she suffered a knee ligament injury during warmups prior to PLU's home match against Linfield. Her final season statistics showed averages of 10.14 assists, 2.89 digs and 0.56 blocks per set. North also averaged 1.32 kills while compiling a .301 attack percentage and earlier this week earned first team All-Northwest Conference recognition for the second consecutive season.
Bjorkman (Puyallup, Wash. / Puyallup HS), the team's libero, has had a remarkable senior season, leading the conference and ranking 25th among all Division III players with an average of 5.78 digs per set. She also leads PLU with a total of 32 services aces, and like North was named first team all-conference.
Huston (Kennewick, Wash. / Kamiakin HS), a junior middle blocker, currently ranks fourth in the nation with an average of 1.34 blocks per set, and she leads the Lutes with 2.56 kills per set while hitting .263. Earlier this week she joined North and Bjorkman on the all-conference first team.
"All three of them have had great years and have played important roles as leaders and in us winning the conference title," head coach Kevin Aoki said of the honored PLU trio. North, Bjorkman and Huston helped the Lutes to a 20-5 regular season record and to the Northwest Conference crown with a 14-2 mark.
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