Jessica Diehl becomes the first player in Spalding University history to be named the SLIAC Volleyball Player of the Year. Diehl is joined on the 2016 All-Conference award winner list by her coach, Bridget Yates, who was named the Coach of the Year. In addition Katie O'Toole, from Webster University, was named the Defensive Player of the Year and Westminster College's Elizabeth Kelley was named Newcomer of the Year. Principia College also received the 2016 SLIAC Team Sportsmanship Award.
Diehl, a senior from Louisville, Ky., was the main force for the Golden Eagle attack that ranked first in the conference in hitting percentage. Diehl averaged 3.15 kills per set during conference play, hitting .436, while also recording 48 total blocks; ranking in the top ten in all three categories. Diehl had 19 matches, including 11 conference matches, with double digit kills. She put her name in the NCAA Division III record books earlier this year when she finished with an .818 hitting percentage in a match, the ninth highest percentage in Division III history.
The 2016 SLIAC Defensive Player of the Year award goes to Webster's Katie O'Toole. O'Toole, a senior libero from St. Louis, Mo., has the cog for a Gorlok defense that led the league in digs during conference play. O'Toole amassed 639 digs this season, with 373 coming during SLIAC matches. She averaged 5.65 digs per set, ranking second in conference play. O'Toole also became the program's career leader in digs earlier this season. She is the third Gorlok player to receive the Defensive Player of the Year award, joining Sarah Bailey (2010) and Sam Kersting (2013).
The 2016 SLIAC Newcomer of the Year is Elizabeth Kelley from Westminster College. Kelley, a freshman from Omaha, Neb., is the seventh player in program history to take home the conference award. Kelley finished conference play averaging 2.19 kills and 0.61 blocks per set while hitting a conference best .471 during SLIAC competition. On the year she averaged 1.97 kills per set while hitting .444 and totaled 54 blocks. Kelley hit .400 or above in 18 of her 29 matches this season.
This is the second time in her career that Coach Yates has been named the SLIAC Coach of the Year, also winning in 2014. This year she led Spalding to a 21-9 overall record and a 13-5 record in the SLIAC. The 21 wins this season are the program's most since 2010 and this marks the team's second appearance in the SLIAC Volleyball Tournament. Yates has been at the helm for the Golden Eagles for 19 years and recently surpassed the 400 win mark for her coaching career.
This is the fifth time in program history, and second straight year, that Principia College has received the Team Sportsmanship Award. The award is given to the team whose players, coaches and fans best exhibit the principles of good sportsmanship. The SLIAC also recognizes one individual from each team, selected by his coach and teammates, who throughout the season best displays the ideals of sportsmanship. The 2016 All-Sportsmanship Team includes Alexis Dick, from Blackburn College; Haley Holzem, from Eureka College; Megan Schaller, from Fontbonne University; Emily Thebeau, from Greenville College; Maggie Earney, from Iowa Wesleyan University; Morgan Heinz, from MacMurray College; Cha Cha Fisher, from Principia College; Amanda Patterson, from Spalding University; Emily Knowles, from Webster University; and Chyanne Schwerdt, from Westminster College.
||Webster||Sr||St. Louis, Mo./Luthern South
||Westminster||Sr||St. Louis, Mo./Oakville
||So||South Pasadena, Calif./South Pasadena
||Spalding||Sr||Louisville, Ky./Whitefield Academy
||Westminster||Sr||Jefferson City, Mo./Blair Oaks
|Sierah Ruffner||Greenville||Sr||Vandalia, Ill./Vandalia|
|Emily Tippetts||Principia||So||Austin, Texas/Westwood|
|Alyssa Cosgrove||Spalding||Fr||Louisville, Ky./Butler|
||Sr||Bellevue, Neb./Bellevue West
|Cha Cha Fisher