MINNEAPOLIS – Middle blocker Heather Gneiting was named national Freshman of the Year and a program-record six BYU women’s volleyball players received All-America honors, including first-teamers Roni Jones-Perry and Lyndie Haddock-Eppich, the American Volleyball Coaches Association announced Wednesday.
A native of Pleasant Grove, Utah, Gneiting is the first BYU player to be selected the national Freshman of the Year. Also named a third-team All-American, Gneiting is among the nation’s best in hitting percentage (.393) and blocks per set (1.53). Gneiting has 219 kills, 158 blocks and 18 aces this season.
Jones-Perry, the Pacific South Region and West Coast Conference Player of the Year, collected the second AVCA All-America honor of her career after taking third-team recognition last season. The senior outside hitter is No. 4 in the nation in both kills and points per set and No. 10 on BYU’s career kills list at 1,465.
Haddock-Eppich’s first-team selection is the first All-America honor of her career. The senior is the only setter in the country to average at least .80 kills per set, 11.00 assists per set, 2.5 digs per set and .90 blocks per set this season. Haddock-Eppich helped BYU rank No. 1 in the nation in hitting percentage this season.
An AVCA All-America honorable mention last year, junior Mary Lake was named to the second team this season for her efforts on the BYU defense. The Cougar libero has 407 digs so far this season, helping BYU rank No. 2 nationally in opponent hitting percentage. Lake is second on the Cougars’ career digs list with 1,487.
Sophomore Kennedy Eschenberg and junior McKenna Miller were also named All-America honorable mention. Eschenberg has 200 kills and 138 blocks this year while Miller had 250 kills, 53 digs, 38 blocks and 21 aces in only 77 sets.
With a record of 31-1, the Cougars are currently in Minneapolis in preparation for the team’s Final Four contest against No. 1 Stanford on Thursday, Dec. 13, at 6 p.m. CT on ESPN.