VB: SCAC releases postseason volleyball awards

Courtesy: SCACSports.com

In exclusive all‐conference voting by the head coaches of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC), Georgia Mullins of Colorado College was selected SCAC Player‐of‐the‐Year while CC Tiger head coach Rick Swan was named SCAC Coach‐of‐the‐Year. Complete Release

Colorado College earned four of the league’s five major awards as Isabella Lipacis was named Freshman of the Year and Isabelle Aragon-Menzel was selected the league’s inaugural Setter of the Year, a new honor initiated by the conference prior to the 2020-21 season.

In the same balloting, Kaylyn Latin of University of St. Thomas was selected SCAC Backrow Player‐of‐the‐Year for the second consecutive year.

A junior middle hitter from Olathe, Kansas, Mullins currently leads the SCAC in hitting percentage (.424), points per set (4.1) and total blocks (54) and is in the top five in kills (170 – third), kills per set (3.27 – second), points (211 – third), solo blocks (12 – third), assisted blocks (42 – second) and blocks per set (1.04 – second). She was a three-time SCAC Offensive Player-of-the-Week (Weeks 2, 3 and 5) and earned Defensive Player-of-the-Weeks in Week 6 – the only player in the league to earn multiple POTW honors during this year’s abbreviated season. She earned AVCA Division III National Player-of-the-Week honors in Week 3 when she hit .510 and averaged 3.38 kills per match in a two-match sweep of then No. 1 Trinity.

Mullins selection as SCAC POTY marks the sixth time in the last seven years a Colorado College student-athlete has taken home the league’s highest honor. Abbe Holtz won the award in 2014 and 2016, Courtney Birkett received the honor in 2015, Lizzy Counts was the league’s Player-of-the-Year in 2017 and Marguerite Spaethling won the award in 2018. Mullins received six first-place votes from the coaches in this year’s balloting for Player-of-the-Year while Trinity University’s Avery Tuggle, last season’s POTW, picked up the remaining three first-place votes.

Isabella Lipacis, a freshman outside hitter from Piedmont, Calif., was a six-rotation outside hitter for Colorado College, leading all first-year players while averaging 3.00 kills (fourth in the SCAC) and 3.5 points (third in the SCAC) per set. She played with amazing consistency and poise all season, hitting .249 (12th in the conference; third among first-year players) while adding 0.32 service aces per set (fifth in the conference). She was named the SCAC Defensive Player-of-the-Week in Week 4 following a pair of three-set victories over Southwestern.

Lipacis, who picked up eight first-place votes in the balloting, is the seventh CC student-athlete to earn SCAC Freshman-of-the-Year honors – the most for one program since the award was established prior to the 2001 season. Maddie Fate of Trinity received the remaining first-place vote.

CC’s Isabelle Aragon-Menzel, a senior from Chanhassen, Minn., earned the league’s inaugural Setter-of-the-Year award after serving as the team’s primary setter while mostly running a 5-1 and occasionally a 6-2. The team’s captain and floor leader, she assisted the team to league-best totals in both hitting percentage (.277) and kills per set (14.23). Aragon-Menzel averages a league-best 9.17 assists per set and is second on the team with 180 digs. She was the league’s Defensive Player-of-the-Week in Week 3 when CC took a pair of matches from then No. 1 Trinity.

Aragon-Menzel received seven votes from the league’s coaches in earning Setter-of-the-Year. Lexie Acevedo of Trinity and Katelyn Whitehead of Southwestern received one vote each.

Kaylyn Latin, a senior libero from Houston, Texas, was selected the league’s Backrow Player-of-the-Year for the second consecutive year after leading the SCAC during the regular season in digs (407) and digs per set (7.14) – the second-highest average in league history. If players from Division III transitioning teams were included in the national rankings, her digs per set total would currently rank second. Latin reached double figures in digs in every match and recorded 30 or more digs five times this season – including a season-high 48 digs in a five-set victory over Schreiner on April 10. The 48 digs are tied for the fifth-most in a single match in league history.

Latin’s selection as SCAC Backrow Player-of-the-Year marks the first time a player has won the award in back-to-back years since Texas Lutheran’s Megan Lee earned Backrow POTY accolades in 2013 and 2014. She is just one of four student-athletes to win the award more than once. In this year’s balloting, Latin received seven votes from the coaches while Peyton Hummel of Colorado College and Mari Prazak of Austin College received one first-place vote each.

Coach Rick Swan guided Colorado College to a regular season mark of 14-0 and the top seed in the SCAC tournament, marking the third time in the last six years the Tigers finished on top of the conference standings. Currently ranked atop the AVCA Division III national rankings, CC will take on the nation’s second-ranked team, Trinity University, in Saturday’s conference tournament final. The owner of a 628‐215 career record (.745), Swan is the winningest coach in CC volleyball history and has guided the Tigers to a school‐record 22 consecutive appearances in the NCAA Division III playoffs. His 178 conference wins and .886 conference win percentage place him second all-time in league history in both categories.

The award marks the sixth time Swan has been recognized by his peers as the conference’s Coach‐of‐the‐Year – earning the award previously in 2010, 2012, 2015, 2017 and 2018. The six COTY honors place him second in league history – trailing only current Trinity head coach Julie Jenkins who has 14.