ASU Volleyball players, coach earn Sun Belt Conference honors

From Arkansas State University

Western Kentucky's Jordyn Skinner was named the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year to headline the 2011 All-Sun Belt Conference Volleyball Teams, as announced at the conference championship banquet in Miami.

Skinner is one of the top all-around players in the league and the only player in the Sun Belt to rank among the top 10 in kills, digs and service aces. Skinner has recorded 18 double-doubles this season and has 26 matches with double-digit kills and 21 with double-digit digs. The Grand Rapids, Mich., native leads WKU with 401 kills, is second with 361 digs – most in the league among non liberos – and third with 77 blocks.

The junior outside hitter was named a National Player of the Week by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) on Sept. 13 after finishing one kill shy of a school record with a career-high 30 kills against Xavier. Skinner makes her second appearance on the All-Conference First Team as she was also selected as a sophomore. She was also named the SBC Player of the Week and Defensive Player of the Week on two separate occasions.

Joining Skinner is teammate Ashley Potts, who was named the league's Defensive Player of the Year and earned a spot on the All-SBC Second Team. Potts has tallied 455 digs this season, averaging 4.33 per set, which ranks second in the conference. Potts has tallied double-digit digs in 26 matches this season – including a season-high 25 against Belmont and UALR – while only committing 19 receiving errors on the season. The Louisville, Ky., native has also been a critical player in WKU's service game, recording 19 service aces this season.

Lady Topper teammates sophomore setter Melanie Stutsman – the 2010 SBC Freshman of the Year – and senior middle hitter Tiffany Elmore were also selected to the All-Conference First Team. Lindsay Williams, another senior middle hitter, was named to the All-SBC Second Team.

UALR's Edina Begic was named the Freshman of the Year after leading the Trojans in kills (415) for an average of 3.88 per set, ranked third in the league. Begic recorded her career-high in kills against Arkansas State with 32 and her career-high in digs with 22 twice with the last coming against Louisiana-Lafayette. The freshman outside hitter from Bosnia has recorded 20 double-digit kill matches, 11 double-digit dig matches, and leads the team in double-doubles with 11. Begic also leads the team in service aces, averaging 0.36 per set and has started every set this season.

Arkansas State head coach Justin Ingram was vote the Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year after directing the Red Wolves to the West Division title in 2011. Under Ingram's guidance, ASU has won at least a share of the West Division crown in each of the last three seasons, including this year's outright divisional crown. Ingram led the Red Wolves to a 21-9 overall record and a perfect 8-0 home slate.

ASU put three on the All-Conference Teams: senior middle hitter Cayla Fielder was selected to the First Team, and sophomore middle blocker Ashley Tipps and junior setter Allison Kearney were named to the Second Team.

Middle Tennessee also posted three players to the All-SBC teams. Outside hitters junior Ashley Adams and senior Maria Szivos were First Team selections, and senior middle blocker Oyinlola Oladinni was named to the league's Second Team.

Rounding out the All-Conference teams are First Team selections Denver junior middle blocker Faimie Kingsley and FIU junior outside hitter Jovana Bjelica, and North Texas freshman outside hitter Eboni Godfrey and Troy sophomore libero Courtney Cohen on the Second Team.

First Team

Cayla Fielder, Arkansas State

Faimie Kingsley, Denver

Jovana Bjelica, FIU

Ashley Adams, Middle Tennessee

Maria Szivos, Middle Tennessee

Tiffany Elmore, WKU

Jordyn Skinner, WKU

Melanie Stutsman, WKU

Second Team

Edina Begic, UALR

Ashley Tipps, Arkansas State

Allison Kearney, Arkansas State

Oyinlola Oladinni, Middle Tennessee

Eboni Godfrey, North Texas

Courtney Cohen, Troy

Ashley Potts, WKU

Lindsay Williams, WKU

Freshman of the Year: Edina Begic, UALR

Defensive Player of the Year: Ashley Potts, WKU

Player of the Year: Jordyn Skinner, WKU

Coach of the Year: Justin Ingram, Arkansas State