COLORADO SPRINGS -- Junior middle blocker Angela Knopf earned Mountain West Conference Volleyball Player of the Year honors. Knopf, a two-time All-MWC team member, currently leads the conference in hitting percentage at .447 and ranks second in the nation in that category. She is also fifth in the nation in blocks per game (1.67). A four-time MWC Player of the Week, Knopf recorded her first career triple-double last week with 15 kills, 14 blocks and 10 digs in a five-game victory at San Diego State. A native of Troutdale, Ore., Knopf averaged 3.22 kills per game while helping the Rams to their first outright regular season conference championship with a 13-1 record. Colorado State, ranked fourth in the latest USAToday/AVCA Top 25 poll, enters this week's McLeodUSA MWC Volleyball Championship as the No. 1 seed.
Colorado State head coach Tom Hilbert garnered MWC Coach of the Year accolades for the second straight year after leading the Rams to a 27-2 record, including a 14-0 mark at home. Hilbert has a 108-19 record at Colorado State in four years and has led the Rams to the NCAA tournament the past three years. Overall, Hilbert is 282-91 in 12 seasons as a head coach.
Utah middle blocker Kim Turner took MWC Freshman of the Year honors. A native of Chandler, Ariz., Turner led the Utes with 236 kills and 91 blocks while playing in 82 of 91 games this season. She is currently eighth in the MWC in hitting percentage at .272.
Colorado State junior Allison Peckham was named MWC Setter of the Year and San Diego State junior Jessica Allen was the MWC Defensive Specialist award winner. A native of London, Ontario, Canada, Peckham racked up 1,177 assists on the year and currently leads the conference at 12.93 assists per game. Peckham was a second team All-MWC honoree last season. Allen, hailing from Tahoe, Calif., totaled 195 digs and 44 kills as a defensive specialist. She played in 100 of 103 games for the Aztecs this season, helping the team to a fourth-place conference finish at 9-5--the schoolÂ¹s best league mark since 1997.
Four BYU players earned All-MWC honors: juniors Jackie Bundy (MB) and Nina Puikkonen (MB), sophomore Sunny Tonga (MB) and freshman Karina Puikkonen (S). Nina Puikkonen, a two-time All-MWC selection, has been one of the top three blockers in the nation for the past eight weeks, while Bundy currently ranks 11th. Nina Puikkonen, the only MWC player to earn National Player of the Week honors (Sept. 11), earned MWC Player of the Year last year while Tonga was the 1999 MWC Freshman of the Year.
Colorado State senior Summer Jennings (MB), and CSU juniors Courtney Cox (OH) and Soraya Santos (MB) were also named All-MWC honorees. Cox, a second team selection in 1999, leads the conference in kills per game with 4.17. Santos trails teammate Angela Knopf at No. 2 in the conference for hitting percentage (.373).
San Diego State landed a pair of players on the All-MWC team in senior Amy Hallquist (OH) and sophomore Melissa Wright (S), and Utah was represented by senior Lucie Turkova (S) and freshman Kim Turner (MB). UNLV junior Amber Graham rounded out the 2000 All-MWC Volleyball Team, which is selected by the MWC coaches.
All-Mountain West Conference Volleyball Team (*notes repeat selection)
Name School Class Position Hometown
Jackie Bundy BYU Jr. MB Sacramento, Calif.
*Nina Puikkonen BYU Jr. MB Murray, Utah
Karina Puikkonen BYU Fr. S Murray, Utah
Sunny Tonga BYU So. OH Allen, Texas
*Courtney Cox CSU Jr OH Longmont, Colo.
Summer Jennings CSU Sr. MB Honolulu, Hawai`i
Soraya Santos CSU Jr. MB Vitoria, Brazil
Amy Hallquist SDSU Sr. OH Phoenix, Ariz.
Melissa Wright SDSU So. S Muncie, Ind.
Lucie Turkova Utah Sr. S Brno, Czech Republic
Kim Turner Utah Fr. MB Chandler, Ariz.
Amber Graham UNLV Jr. MB Las Vegas, Nev.
*Setter: Allison Peckham, CSU, Jr., London, Ontario, Canada
Defensive Specialist: Jessica Allen, SDSU, Jr., Tahoe, Calif.
Player of the Year:
Angela Knopf, CSU, Jr., MB, Troutdale, Ore.