Sara Pope Named America East Conference Volleyball Player of the Year
CAMBRIDGE, MASS. -- Sophomore Sara Pope was named the America East Conference Volleyball Player of the Year, as announced by the league office on Thursday. Junior Viktoriia Stroilo also earned a major award, bringing home Defensive Player of the Year honors for the Great Danes, who won the league's regular season title for the fifth straight year.
Pope, who won Player of the Week accolades three times this season - including the final weekly award this past Monday - finished the regular season ranked fifth in kills per set with 3.34. Pope finished with double-digit kills in 17 matches, including a career-high 24 against New Hampshire. She also recorded a .209 hitting percentage on the season, including five matches hitting over .300.
Stroilo led the league in digs all season, averaging 5.22 digs per set. She finished with double-digit dig totals in all but two matches this season, including the last 18 consecutive matches. Stroilo also recorded 22 service aces on the season, including four in a non-conference match versus Colgate.
Joining Pope on the All-Conference First Team is senior setter Gabby Whitworth. Whitworth, who was a middle hitter for all of her prior career, was converted to a setter to start the conference season, and averaged 11.03 assists throughout the regular season. Whitworth, who also averaged 1.18 kills and 1.35 digs per set, earned Setter of the Week accolades once.
Also on the All-Conference Second Team with Stroilo is senior outside hitter Traci Vandegrift. She became one of the Great Danes' best all around players, averaging 2.42 kills and 3.41 digs while also recording 55 blocks and a team-high 24 service aces.
Freshman middle blocker Tatum Jungsten was named to the All-Rookie Team after leading UAlbany with 64 total blocks on the season. She also averaged 1.08 kills per set in her first season with the Great Danes.
Top-seeded UAlbany will play #4 New Hampshire in the second semifinal at University Gymnasium on Friday evening at 7 p.m.