CULLOWHEE, N.C. - The Western Carolina volleyball team had three members named to the North Carolina Collegiate Sports Information Association (NCCSIA) All-State teams following the conclusion of the 2017 season. Senior Jo-Leigh VerVelde earned a spot on the first team while senior Katie O’Connor and freshman Gabby Gray took second team nods. This marks the second-straight year VerVelde and O’Connor have appeared on the all-state squads.
Nominations were submitted by North Carolina sports information professionals and voted on by NCCSIA members.
VerVelde was a second team All-State selection last season. In 2017, she appeared in 26 of WCU’s 30 matches while leading the team in assists and service aces. The senior tallied 15 double-doubles throughout the year while posting a career-high 53 assists against ETSU. She also posted a season-high of 25 digs at UNCG. The Oostburg, Wis., native had a pair of matches with four service aces including a neutral site contest with New Orleans and a conference match versus Samford. She finished her career ranking tied for seventh in the WCU record book for career digs, eighth in assists and ninth in service aces and block assists.
O’Connor, a 2017 Southern Conference Second Team All-Conference selection, was a second team middle blocker selection on the all-state squad for the second-straight season. The senior finished her WCU career as the record holder for block assists with 372. She also ranks second in career attack percentage (.337), total blocks (434) and blocks per set (0.96). Her .390 attack percentage in 2017 is the top single season mark in WCU program history. She also holds two of the top six single season block assists marks at WCU while holding three of the top seven attack percentages. This past season she led the Catamounts in attack percentage, solo blocks, block assists and total blocks while ranking second in kills per set. She tallied 13 double-digit kill performances including a career-high 21 against Furman. She also posted 20 matches with three or more blocks including eight against Wofford.
Gray led the way offensively for the Catamounts in 2017 as she tallied 2.59 kills per set. The freshman had 12 matches with double-figure kills including a high of 21 against ETSU. She also had 10 matches with double-figure digs including five double-doubles. Her season-high in digs was the 19 she had against Samford.
Founded in 2002, the North Carolina Collegiate Sports Information Association (NCCSIA) is comprised of sports information professionals from NCAA Division I, II, III, NAIA and independent institutions from the state of North Carolina. The purpose of the organization is to promote collegiate athletics at all schools. Membership is open to anyone affiliated with a college, university or conference located in North Carolina, and whose area of responsibility lies within sports information.