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Diehl a Spalding First, Named SLIAC Volleyball Player of the Year

Diehl a Spalding First, Named SLIAC Volleyball Player of the Year

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.

First Team              
Name     School   Yr   Hometown/High School
Jessica Diehl
    Spalding   Sr   Louisville, Ky./Assumption
Hannah Marshall
    Westminster   Jr   Wildwood, Mo./Lafayette
Kersten McDonough
    Fontbonne   Sr   Pacific, Mo./Pacific
Allyson Mitchell
    Greenville   Jr   Gurnee, Ill./Warren
Katie O'Toole
    Webster   Sr   St. Louis, Mo./Luthern South
Kayla Reeg
    Westminster   Sr   St. Louis, Mo./Oakville
Savannah Sells
  Sr   Highland, Ill./Highland
Second Team              
Name     School   Yr   Hometown/High School
Katelyn Cosgrove
    Spalding   Sr   Louisville, Ky./Butler
Sophia Hathaway
  So   South Pasadena, Calif./South Pasadena
Victoria Heitzman
    Spalding   Sr   Louisville, Ky./Whitefield Academy
Elizabeth Kelley
    Westminster   Fr   Omaha, Neb./Pappilion-Lavista
Amanda Kiso
    Westminster   Sr   Jefferson City, Mo./Blair Oaks
Sierah Ruffner     Greenville   Sr   Vandalia, Ill./Vandalia
Jory Siebenmorgen
    Webster   Sr   Eureka, Mo./Eureka
Emily Tippetts     Principia   So   Austin, Texas/Westwood
Third Team
Name     School   Yr   Hometown/High School
Alyssa Cosgrove     Spalding   Fr   Louisville, Ky./Butler
Cierra Howard
    Iowa Wesleyan
  Sr   Bellevue, Neb./Bellevue West
Emily Knowles
    Webster   Sr   Belleville, Ill./Mascoutah
Kirsten Laune
    Greenville   Sr   Ashland, Neb./Ashland
Mariana Rogers
    Fontbonne   Sr   Munster, Ind./Munster
Lynsey Wehrenberg
    Fontbonne   Sr   Columbia, Ill./Columbia

All-Sportsmanship Team

Name   School
Alexis Dick
Haley Holzem
Megan Schaller
Emily Thebeau
Maggie Earney
  Iowa Wesleyan
Morgan Heinz
Cha Cha Fisher
Amanda Patterson
Emily Knowles
Chyanne Schwerdt
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