CVB: USD headlines Summit League volleyball honors

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – The 2019 Summit League volleyball regular season has come to an end and league officials have announced the annual volleyball all-league award honorees Thursday.

South Dakota garnered four of the five individual award winners. Senior Anne Rasmussen claimed the Defensive Player of the Year honor, sophomore Madison Jurgens notched the Setter of the Year award, freshman Elizabeth Juhnke received the Freshman of the Year accolade and, at the helm of the Coyotes, Leanne Williamson took home the Coach of the Year award. Denver junior Lydia Bartalo notched the final individual honor and was named the league's Player of the Year in a vote by the nine head coaches.

Rasmussen, who claimed the defensive honor for the second-straight season, was honored as the defensive player of the week for a league-best seven times during the season, giving her 13 in her career, which is a league-record on the defensive side and second-most in league history. She leads USD's defensive effort and sits atop the league in digs per set (4.94) and ranks third in total digs (494). She enters the championship sitting eighth in league history in career digs with 1,889.

The Coyote offense is guided by Jurgens who leads the league and ranks fifth and ninth nationally in assists per set (11.78) and total assists (1,178), respectively. Earlier this season, she earned her 2,000th-career assist making her the seventh Coyote in program history to reach the accomplishment.

Juhnke took home the Freshman of the Year award after an impressive rookie campaign. The Coyote newcomer took home two offensive athlete of the week honors in her first season and she currently leads the league in kills per set (4.13) and sits second in total kills (413). Her 4.13 kills per set currently ranks 36th in the nation.

Bartalo secured one offensive player of the week award this season and enters the championship with the most services aces among league players at 42. She has helped the Pioneers rank 20th nationally in aces per set (1.73), a figure that leads the league. DU also ranks second in blocks per set (2.21) and team service aces (175) thanks to her efforts in those categories.

Williamson secured the second Coach of the Year honor of her career after guiding the Coyotes to their first outright Summit League regular-season title after earning a share of a title in 2016. Her squad logged a perfect league winning percentage with a 16-0 record, joining five other Summit League teams that have achieved that feat. Williamson's team went 27-1 overall, 10-0 at home and are currently riding a 24-match win streak.

South Dakota and Omaha both paced the field with five total all-league mentions while Purdue Fort Wayne secured four. On the all-league team, the Coyotes had Rasmussen for the third straight year and first-time recipients Jurgens and newcomers Juhnke and Sami Slaughter. Teammate Madison Harms was named to the all-league honorable mention team as well as the all-freshman team along with Juhnke.

The Mavericks saw Isabella Sade land on the all-league team for the second consecutive year. Omaha teammates Anna Blaschko, Sadie Limback, and Sami Clarkson joined her while Claire Mountjoy was named to the all-league honorable mention squad. Clarkson also earned a spot on the all-freshman team.

Purdue Fort Wayne's Katie Crowe was the only Mastodon named to the all-league team while teammates Sydney Boerst and Rachael Crucis earned spots on the honorable mention list. Crucis was also named to the all-freshman team with fellow Mastodon Sidney Schiller.

Completing the all-league team is two-time honoree Denver's Bartalo and teammate Tina Boe.

Individual Awards
Player of the Year
Lydia Bartalo, Denver

Defensive Player of the Year
Anne Rasmussen, South Dakota

Setter of the Year
Madison Jurgens, South Dakota

Freshman of the Year
Elizabeth Juhnke, South Dakota

Coach of the Year
Leanne Williamson, South Dakota

2019 All-Summit League Volleyball Team
First Team
Anna Blaschko, Omaha, MB
Anne Rasmussen, South Dakota, DS
CeCe Madison, Oral Roberts, OH
Elizabeth Juhnke, South Dakota, OH
Isabella Sade, Omaha, OH
Katie Crowe, Purdue Fort Wayne, OH
Lydia Bartalo, Denver, OH
Madison Jurgens, South Dakota, S
Sadie Limback, Omaha, RS
Sami Clarkson, Omaha, S
Sami Slaughter, South Dakota, OH
Tina Boe, Denver, MB

Honorable Mention
Ashley Brueggeman, North Dakota, OH
Claire Mountjoy, Omaha, DS/L
Ellie Anderson, Denver, S
Madison Harms, South Dakota, MB
Rachael Crucis, Purdue Fort Wayne, L
Sydney Boerst, Purdue Fort Wayne, MB

Freshman Team
Brianna Green, Denver, MB
Elizabeth Juhnke, South Dakota, OH
Kalea Fobert, Denver, OH
Madison Harms, South Dakota, MB
Rachael Crucis, Purdue Fort Wayne, L
Sami Clarkson, Omaha, S
Sidney Schiller, Purdue Fort Wayne, OH