SPARTANBURG, S.C. - The Western Carolina volleyball team had a pair of student-athletes honored Tuesday afternoon with the announcement of the annual All-Southern Conference teams. Senior Katie O'Connor was named Second Team All-Conference while MaKenzie White earned a spot on the conference's All-Freshman team.
O'Connor boasts the top hitting percentage in the Southern Conference this season at .396 while leading the Catamounts in both kills per set (2.57) and blocks per set (0.96). The Cartersville, Ga., native has posted 14 double-digit kill performances this season including a career-high 21 kills against Furman on Senior Night. The 21 kills came on just 31 swings as O'Connor had a .677 hitting percentage for the match which ranked as the fifth highest single match attack percentage in program history. She also has 14 matches with four or more blocks this season including a high of eight which she achieved against Wofford. She will conclude her career as the Western Carolina career block assists record holder while ranking among the top-two in several other categories including hitting percentage, total blocks and blocks per set.
White had a tremendous first regular season in Cullowhee. The freshman ranks third on the team in both kills per set (2.11) and blocks per set (0.63). The Norcross, Ga., native posted four double-digit kill performances during the regular season including a high of 19 against Samford. She also had five matches with four or more blocks and had at least one block in all but two matches this season. She posted a season-high five blocks against UNC Asheville. White follows in the footsteps of sophomores Aleah Keaton and Abigail Veit who were named to the All-Freshman team a season ago.
The last time WCU volleyball placed a student-athlete on the All-Conference Second Team was in 2014 when the Catamounts advanced to the Southern Conference Championship semifinals.
O'Connor, White and the rest of the Catamounts will set their sights on the 2017 Southern Conference Championship which starts this Friday in Cullowhee. Western Carolina enters as the No. 7 seed and will face the No. 2 seed ETSU in the quarterfinals on Friday, Nov. 17 at 5 pm inside the Ramsey Center.
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2017 SoCon Volleyball All-Conference Team
Co-Players of the Year - Ashley Muench, UNCG, Sr., OH; Catie Cronister, Wofford, So., OH
Libero of the Year - Marija Popovic, ETSU, Fr.
Rayna Taylor Freshman of the Year - Marija Popovic, ETSU, L
Coach of the Year - Michelle Young, Furman
All-Conference First Team
Leah Clayton, ETSU, So., OH
Rylee Milhorn, ETSU, Sr., OH
Jamila Johnson, Furman, Jr., OH
Ashely Muench, UNCG, Sr., OH
Allison Penner, UNCG, Jr., S
Catie Cronister, Wofford, So., OH
Colleen Reilly, Wofford, Jr., MB
All-Conference Second Team
Meg DeMaar, Furman, Sr., L
Nicole Mack, Furman, So., OH
Christen Sikora, Furman, Sr., OH
Paige Alsten, Mercer, Jr., MB
Krista Boesing, Samford, Jr., OH
Ally Ford, Chattanooga, R-So., OH
Katie O'Connor, Western Carolina, Sr., MB
Sharlissa De Jesus, The Citadel, OH
Marija Popovic, ETSU, L
Courtney Hoffman, Furman, MB
Holly Behrends, UNCG, OH
Megan Kaufman, Chattanooga, L
MaKenzie White, Western Carolina, MB
Riley Coonan, Wofford, MB