Junior Kayla Walker was named to the All-MWC Volleyball Team in just her first season as a Cougar.
COLORADO SPRINGS -- Two Cougars were honored Tuesday by the Mountain West Conference as senior middle blocker Rachel Dyer and junior rightside hitter Kayla Walker received All-MWC accolades. The award is Dyer’s third-straight honor while newcomer Walker made an impact in her first season in the league after transferring from Pepperdine.
“It’s a big tribute to both players and a compliment to our program,” said BYU head coach Shay Goulding. “Rachel has been recognized by the conference three years in a row now, which says a lot about her contributions throughout her career and the legacy she leaves behind at BYU. Kayla has played multiple roles for our team this season and has established herself as a leader going into next year.”
The pair helped BYU earn a 14-12 overall and 7-9 league record during the regular season, including a win over No. 15 Colorado State.
Dyer, now a three-time All-MWC selection, finished the year fifth in the league and first for the Cougars with a .316 hitting percentage. She was also second on the team and ninth in the conference averaging 1.09 blocks per set. Her 2.32 kills per set was third on the team. The Encinitas, Calif., native led the Cougars in blocks 12 times, hitting percentage eight times and kills five times while posting one double-double on the year. She also recorded double-digit kills in 12 matches with a season high of 14. Her performance in BYU’s last weekend of play earned her MWC Player of the Week honors as she led the Cougars to wins over No. 15 Colorado State and Wyoming, tallying 10 kills and 10 blocks against the Rams.
“It’s an honor to be recognized,” said Dyer. “It’s a great way to end my career, and I’m really grateful for my teammates that made it possible for me to do well this year.”
Walker was a major contributor for BYU in just her first season with the team as she led the Cougars with 3.03 kills per set, which also ranked sixth in the league, and came in fourth in blocks (0.91) and fifth in digs (2.10). The Kaysville, Utah, native came on especially strong in the last 10 matches of the year after switching to the rightside position, tallying four of her seven double-doubles during that span and leading the Cougars in kills seven times out of a total of 13 matches in which she paced BYU offensively. She finished the season ranked fifth in the MWC in points (3.64) and was the only Cougar to tally more than 20 kills in match this season, which she did twice while posting double-digit winners 17 times.
“It’s definitely an honor and a compliment,” said Walker. “I have amazing teammates, and I couldn’t have done anything without them.”
The Mountain West All-Conference Volleyball awards are selected by the league's nine head coaches. New Mexico senior Jeanne Fairchild and Utah senior Lori Baird were named Co-Players of the Year, while UNLV’s Cursty Jackson was voted Freshman of the Year, and Utah’s Beth Launiere was selected Coach of the Year. In addition to Dyer, Colorado State’s Mekana Barnes and Ashley Fornstrom, New Mexico’s Jeanne Fairchild, UNLV’s Melody Nua, and Utah’s Lori Baird were repeat selections from last year. Utah’s Emillie Toone is a member of the 2008 all-Conference team after being a 2006 selection. She sat out the 2007 season due to injury. BYU’s Walker was joined on the squad by Colorado State’s Tessa Nelson, New Mexico’s Jade Michaelsen and Gayle Tripp, San Diego State’s Lauren Salisbury, TCU’s Nirelle Hampton and Christy Hudson, UNLV’s Camille Cunningham, and Utah’s Karolina Bartkowiak and Kathryn Haynie as first-time honorees.
2008 MOUNTAIN WEST ALL-CONFERENCE VOLLEYBALL TEAM
Name School Class Position Hometown
Rachel Dyer!** BYU Sr. MB Encinitas, Calif.
Kayla Walker BYU Jr. RS/OPP Kaysville, Utah
Mekana Barnes!** CSU Sr. MB Highlands Ranch, Colo.
Tessa Nelson CSU Jr. MB Balaton, Minn.
Jeanne Fairchild!* UNM Sr. OH Albuquerque, N.M.
Jade Michaelsen UNM So. S Tucson, Ariz.
Lauren Salisbury SDSU So. MB Southlake, Texas
Nirelle Hampton TCU Sr. S Gainesville, Fla.
Christy Hudson TCU So. RS Yorba Linda, Calif.
Melody Nua!* UNLV Sr. S Lakewood, Calif.
Lori Baird!** Utah Sr. MB Murray, Utah
Karolina Bartkowiak Utah So. RS Aurora, Ill.
Kathryn Haynie Utah Sr. OH North Salt Lake City, Utah
Emillie Toone* Utah Sr. MB American Fork, Utah
Setter – Ashley Fornstrom, Colorado State!* Sr. Cheyenne, Wyo.
Co-Libero – Gayle Tripp, New Mexico Sr. Rio Rancho, N.M.
Camille Cunningham, UNLV Sr. La Canada, Calif.
Co-Players of the Year
Jeanne Fairchild, New Mexico
Lori Baird, Utah
Freshman of the Year
Cursty Jackson, UNLV
Coach of the Year
Beth Launiere, Utah
!notes repeat selection
*notes two-time selection
**notes three-time selection