COLORADO SPRINGS -- BYU middle blocker Nina Puikkonen and rightside hitter Sunny Tonga were named to the NCAA Division I West All-Region Team Wednesday by the American Volleyball Coaches Association.
The Cougar stars were two of 12 players selected to the West team. Overall, 96 student-athletes were named to eight region teams by the AVCA. Eight region freshmen of the year and coaches of the year were also selected.
Puikkonen, a junior, has earned the region honor in each of her three seasons at BYU. She is the only player in the West Region and one of only nine players nationally to have earned the designation for a third time, and she is one of four juniors to have been selected for a third staight season. One player, Kendra Haselhorst of the Central Region, earned her fourth award as a senior at Illinois State University. Puikkonen, a 1999 AVCA All-American and one of four Cougars to earn All-Mountain West Conference honors earlier this year, leads BYU in kills (459), blocks (208) and hitting percentage (.364) and is second in digs (225) and service aces (38).
Tonga, a sophomore, was tabbed to the team for the first time. The all-conference hitter is second to Puikkonen in kills (347) and hitting percentage (.327). She is also second in assists (75) and third in blocking (125).
"This is a nice honor for Nina and Sunny," said BYU coach Elaine Michaelis, whose 26-6 team is in Nebraska to compete in the NCAA Central Region semifinals Friday. "They are obviously both very deserving. It is a compliment to them and to our team."
In addition to Puikkonen and Tonga, the Mountain West Conference was also represented on the team by Colorado State's Courtney Cox and Angela Knopf -- each earning the honor for the first time. Pacific middle blocker Jennifer Joines was named the West Region Freshman of the Year while Pacific coach John Dunning was a repeat winner of the region's coach of the year award after guiding his team to its current 28-3 record.
Players named to the all-region teams will now be considered for the 2000 AVCA All-America teams named in conjunction with the NCAA Final Four next week. Freshman of the year winners were chosen among true freshmen only.
AVCA NCAA DIVISION I ALL-REGION TEAMS
Courtney Cox Colorado State University OH Jr.
Joslynn Gallop San Jose State University MB Sr.
Kara Gormsen University of the Pacific S Sr.
Maja Gustin University of Hawai'i MB Fr.
Melanie Hathaway Cal Poly OH Sr.
Jennifer Joines University of the Pacific MB Fr.
Lily Kahumoku University of Hawai'i OH So.
Angela Knopf Colorado State University MB Jr.
Nina Puikkonen *** Brigham Young University MB Jr.
Brooke Rundle ** UC Santa Barbara S Jr.
Sunny Tonga Brigham Young University RS/Opp So.
Cheryl Weaver ** Long Beach State University MB Jr.
West Region Freshman of the Year: Jennifer Joines, Pacific, MB
West Region Coach of the Year: John Dunning, Pacific
Kelle Branting Kansas State University MB Sr.
Greichaly Cepero University of Nebraska S So.
Erin Gibson Texas A&M University OH Jr.
Elizabeth Gower University of Colorado S So.
Kendra Haselhorst**** Illinois State University MB Sr.
Amber Holmquist University of Nebraska MB So.
Jenny Kropp University of Nebraska MB Jr.
Melissa McGehee Texas Tech University RS/Opp So.
Jenna Moscovic ** Texas A&M University S Jr.
Laura Pilakowski University of Nebraska OH So.
Colleen Smith Texas Tech University OH Sr.
Liz Wegner Kansas State University OH Jr.
Central Region Freshman of the Year: Stevie Nicholas, Baylor University, OH
Central Region Coach of the Year: John Cook, Nebraska
Kyleen Bell Georgia Tech MB Jr.
Ajola Berisha ** American University OH Sr.
Norisha Campbell Florida State University MB Jr.
Krista Dill Duke University MB Fr.
Kele Eveland Georgia Tech S Fr.
Trina Maso de Moya ** Wake Forest University OH Jr.
Aline Pereira George Mason University OH Fr.
Nicole Reis Univ. of North Carolina OH Fr.
Casey Simpson ** Univ. of North Carolina OH Sr.
Jill Sonne Duke University RS/Opp So.
Jodi Steffes *** Clemson University RS/Opp Jr.
Deanna Zwarich University of Virginia MB Sr.
East Region Freshman of the Year: Kele Eveland, Georgia Tech, S
East Region Coach of the Year: Jolene Nagel, Duke University
Lindsey Berg ** University of Minnesota S Jr.
Nicole Branagh *** University of Minnesota OH Sr.
Lizzy Fitzgerald University of Wisconsin S Jr.
Stephanie Hagen ** University of Minnesota MB Jr.
Mishka Levy Penn State University OH So.
Sherisa Livingston *** University of Wisconsin MB Jr.
Jenny Maastricht ** University of Wisconsin OH Sr.
Emily Sallee Ball State University S Sr.
Joanne Saunders Fairfield University OH Jr.
Katie Schumacher ** Penn State University RS/Opp Jr.
Betsy Spicer ** University of Illinois MB Sr.
Katie Virtue Ohio State University S So.
Mideast Region Freshman of the Year: Jennifer Bowman, Northern Illinois, S
Mideast Region Coach of the Year: Pete Waite, University of Wisconsin
Lea Beckemeyer Southeast Missouri State OH Sr.
Michelle Collier ** University of South Florida OH Jr.
Laura Dallenbach Univ. of Wisc.-Milwaukee OH Jr.
Krista Haukap ** Southeast Missouri State OH Sr.
Colleen Hunter Saint Louis University MB So.
Kara Jakusz DePaul University S Jr.
Stacey Mercer University of Louisville MB So.
Renee Nash Loyola University Chicago S Sr.
Rachelle Paul University of South Florida MB Sr.
Kelly Price Loyola University Chicago OH Sr.
Chrissy Schurla ** Univ. of Wisc.-Milwaukee MB Jr.
Jennifer Wittenburg University of Houston OH Sr.
Midwest Region Freshman of the Year: Lindsey Spoden, Wisc-Milwaukee, S
Midwest Region Freshman of the Year: Nancy Mueller, University of South Florida
Sara Bachus Xavier University RS/Opp Jr.
Denise Boylan *** Notre Dame S Sr.
Kera Carter Rutgers University OH Sr.
Katie Ferriell University of Dayton MB Jr.
Christi Girton ** Notre Dame OH Sr.
Rebecca Hasson University of Massachusetts MB Sr.
Alma Kovaci *** Temple University OH Sr.
Kristy Kreher ** Notre Dame RS/Opp Jr.
Carla Muntz ** University of Dayton S Sr.
Carrie Norris University of Pittsburgh S So.
Stefanie Rewitz Hofstra University OH So.
Olga Roudovski St. John's University OH Sr.
Northeast Region Freshman of the Year: Robyn Kuraski, St. John's, S
Northeast Region Coach of the Year: Jojit Coronel, George Washington University
Elisabeth Bachman *** UCLA MB Sr.
Amanda Burbridge Arizona State University OH Sr.
Dana Burkholder ** University of Arizona S Jr.
Ynez Carrasco Santa Clara University OH Sr.
Marisa DaLee ** University of Arizona MB Sr.
Jennifer Fopma Pepperdine University MB So.
Sarah McFarland *** Loyola Marymount Univ. OH Sr.
Nicole Oehlman Loyola Marymount Univ. S Fr.
Jennifer Pahl Univ. of Southern California MB Jr.
Kristee Porter *** UCLA OH Jr.
April Ross Univ. of Southern California OH Fr.
Logan Tom ** Stanford University OH So.
Pacific Region Freshman of the Year: April Ross, USC, OH
Pacific Region Coach of the Year: Jerritt Elliot, University of Southern California
Aury Cruz University of Florida OH Fr.
Berna Dwyer University of South Carolina MB So.
Michelle Green ** University of Alabama OH Sr.
Megan Hosp University of South Carolina S So.
Benavia Jenkins University of Florida MB Fr.
Erica Lear University of Tennessee S Jr.
Nicole McCray University of Florida MB So.
Cally Plummer University of South Carolina RS/Opp So.
Eftila Tanellari University of Arkansas OH Jr.
Tara Thomas Western Kentucky Univ. OH Jr.
Ariana Wilson ** University of Tennessee OH Jr.
Libby Windell ** University of Arkansas MB So.
South Region Freshman of the Year: Aury Cruz, University of Florida, OH
South Region Coach of the Year: Mary Wise, University of Florida
* denotes total number of years selected to All-Region Team