Dec. 11, 2002
University of Notre Dame volleyball freshman Lauren Kelbley, who became the first Irish player to earn the BIG EAST Rookie of the Year award earlier this season, was named the American Volleyball Coaches Association Northeast Region Rookie of the Year on Wednesday. A second-team all-BIG EAST selection this season, Kelbley led the team in hitting (.351) while piling up 298 kills and 116 blocks. The 116 blocks the Bascom, Ohio, native accumulated this season rank fourth on the all-time Notre Dame list for freshman blocks in a season.
Kelbley also earned all-region honors, joining teammate Emily Loomis on the 12-player squad. Loomis led the Irish in kills this season, ending up with 400 (3.70 per game). It is just the 13th time in Notre Dame volleyball history a player has posted 400 or more kills. Loomis, from Fort Wayne, Ind., also hit .277 with 25 aces, 208 digs and 108 blocks. She was selected to the first-team all-BIG EAST squad and led Notre Dame to the BIG EAST Championship while nabbing the tournament’s most outstanding player award.
Junior setter Kristen Kinder was named to the all-region honorable mention team. The Fresno, Calif., native has now earned all-region mention for the last two seasons. Kinder helped the team to a .265 team hitting mark (which was ranked in the top 30 nationally during much of the season). Her final numbers were 1,187 assists (11.30 per game), 120 kills (1.14 per game), 218 digs and 61 blocks.
All three players will return for the Irish next year, as the seven-time BIG EAST Champions will return their deepest and most talented team for the 2003 season.
2002 Northeast All-Region Team:
Lauren Kelbley, Fr., MB, Notre Dame
Emily Loomis, So., OH, Notre Dame
Alyson Coler, Jr., OH, New Hampshire
Marcela Gamarra, Sr., OH, Miami (Fla.)
Mallorey James, So., S, Miami (Fla.)
Karla Kucerkova, Jr., OPP, American
Kaego Ogbechie, So., MB, Harvard
Alison Runk, So., S, Temple
Valeria Tipiana, So., OPP, Miami (Fla.)
Erin Treadway, Jr., OH, Dayton
Susan Westbrock, Sr., MB, Dayton
Xu Yun, So., OH, Temple
Regional Freshman of the Year: Lauren Kelbley, Notre Dame, MB
Honorable Mention: Cutrina Biddulph (American, MB, Fr.), Shayla Bush (Rutgers, OH, Jr.), Kristen Kinder (Notre Dame, S, Jr.), Elisabeth Kwak-Heffernan (Penn, OH, Jr.), Ana Lang (Virginia Tech, OH, Sr.) and Cheryl Stinson (Virginia Tech, MB, Sr.)