The Northwest Missouri State University volleyball has risen to the upper echelon of the MIAA and the program took another step toward elite status with the release of the league’s 2018 all-conference squads.
Senior Maddy Bruder was named the MIAA Player of the Year and head coach Amy Woerth was tabbed the league’s Coach of the Year. It marks the first time since 1984 that the Bearcats captured both the player and coach of the year awards when Mary Beth Bishop was the MIAA MVP and Susie Homan was the MIAA’s best coach.
Bruder becomes the third Bearcat volleyball player to be named the MIAA’s Player of the Year. Mary Beth Bishop (1984) and Jill Quast (2000) are the only other previous Bearcats to be honored as the league’s top player.
Woerth guided the Bearcats to a program best 14 MIAA wins in 2018. The previous record of 11 MIAA wins was set in 2017. The Bearcats tied for third in the final MIAA standings and hosted a first-round match in the league tournament. Woerth saw the Bearcats reach 22 wins – the second 20-win season since 1999 – and 15th overall 20-win season in program history. Northwest registered eight road victories, which ranks as the third-best total in the school’s record book. Overall, Northwest went 22-8 on the season.
Not only did Northwest land two of the specialty awards, the Bearcats had three players on the MIAA’s First Team and two more players honored on the MIAA’s Second Team. Bruder (Firth, Nebraska) was joined on the first team by senior middle hitter Sofia Schleppenbach (Dallas, Texas) and sophomore setter Maddy Ahrens (Appleton, Wisconsin). Senior libero Olivia Nowakowski (Kansas City, Missouri) and sophomore outside hitter Hallie Sidney (Chesterfield, Missouri) secured second-team all-MIAA honors.
Bruder becomes the first Northwest player to be a four-time first-team all-MIAA performer. Jill Quast (1998-2000) and Kelly Greenlee (1983-1985) had been the only other previous three-time first-team all-MIAA honorees before Bruder bested them with her fourth straight first-team tag in 2018.
Bruder led the MIAA in kills (4.26 per set) and ranked No. 17 in the nation in that category. Bruder blew away the competition in MIAA matches by averaging 4.30 kills per set with 275 kills in 64 sets. Bruder notched a team-best 17 double-doubles, including 12 in MIAA play.
Schleppenbach was Northwest’s leader in service aces (35), solo blocks (8), block assists (80), total blocks (80) and hitting percentage (.343). Her .342 hitting percentage in league matches ranked second in the MIAA. Schleppenbach has 12 double-figure kill matches, including a season-high 16 kills at Central Missouri (10/20). Schleppenbach earned honorable mention all-MIAA honors in 2017.
Ahrens led the MIAA in assists (11.48 overall; 12.20 MIAA only). Ahrens’s MIAA total of 12.20 assists per set is nearly a full point higher than second place Ally Offerdahl (Central Missouri), who posted 11.22 assists per set in MIAA matches. Ahrens set a pair of career highs with 67 assists and 20 digs in a five-set match at No. 3-Nebraska-Kearney on Nov. 3. Ahrens ranks second on the team in service aces (33) and double-doubles (15). Ahrens is the fifth sophomore in school history to post 1,000 or more assists in a season with 1,171 this year.
Nowakowski earned second team all-MIAA after previously being named to honorable mention status in 2016 and 2017. Nowakowski led the Bearcats in digs (503 – 4.75 digs/set). She posted seven matches of 20 or more digs and four matches of 30 or more digs in 2018. Nowakowski notched a season-high 40 digs at No. 3 Nebraska-Kearney on Nov. 3. She ranked third on the team with 29 service aces. Nowakowski finished her career ranked No. 3 on Northwest’s all-time digs list with 1,763.
Sidney ranked second in the MIAA in kills per set in conference matches only (3.53 kills/set). Sidney had seven double-doubles this season, including a 19-kill, 17-dig performance at No. 3-Nebraska-Kearney on Nov. 3. Sidney registered a season-high 27 kills against Nebraska-Kearney in Bearcat Arena on Sept. 29. She also posted 24 kills and 18 digs in a five-set match vs. Central Oklahoma on Oct. 5. Sidney has produced 16 double-figure kill matches in 2018. She ranked second on the team in kills (335 – 3.16 kills/set).
NOTES: The five players named to the first and second teams represents the most Northwest players named to the all-MIAA volleyball teams in the history of Bearcat volleyball … the previous best of four was set in 1984, 1985 and 2015 … it’s the first time since 1984 that Northwest has had three players named to the MIAA’s First Team.
2018 All-MIAA VOLLEYBALL SELECTIONS
Player of the Year – Maddy Bruder – Northwest Missouri
Freshman of the Year – Hannah Engelken – Central Missouri
Coach of the Year – Amy Woerth – Northwest Missouri
Outside Hitter: Kylie Hohlen – Central Missouri – Sr.+
Outside Hitter: Taylor Bevis – Central Oklahoma – Sr.*
Outside Hitter: Julieanne Jackson – Nebraska Kearney – Jr.
Outside Hitter: Maddy Bruder – Northwest Missouri – Sr.*
Outside Hitter: Genna Berg – Washburn – So.
Outside Hitter: Erica Montgomery – Washburn – Jr.
Middle Blocker: Audrey Fisher- Central Missouri – So.
Middle Blocker: Jordan Spence – Central Oklahoma – Sr. ^
Middle Blocker: Tatum Graves – Emporia State – Sr.
Middle Blocker: Sofia Schleppenbach – Northwest Missouri – Sr.
Middle Blocker: Allison Maxwell – Washburn – So.
Setter: Lindsey Smith – Nebraska Kearney – Sr. ^
Setter: Maddy Ahrens – Northwest Missouri – So.
Setter: Shayla Conner – Washburn – Sr.
Libero/Defensive Specialist: Dominique Lipari – Central Oklahoma – Jr.
Libero/Defensive Specialist: Ellie McDonnell – Nebraska Kearney – Sr.
Libero/Defensive Specialist: Faith Rottinghaus – Washburn – So.
Tie in Voting
*-Four-Time First-Team Selection
^- Three-Time First-Team Selection
+-Two-Time First-Team Selection
Outside Hitter/Right Side: Yuchen Du – Emporia State – So.
Outside Hitter: Stephanie Doak – Missouri Western – Jr.
Outside Hitter: Kendall Schroer – Nebraska Kearney – Sr.
Outside Hitter: MK Wolfe – Nebraska Kearney – So.
Outside Hitter: Hallie Sidney – Northwest Missouri – So.
Outside Hitter/Right Side: Lauren Regier – Pittsburg State – Sr.
Middle Blocker: Sadie Kosciuk – Lindenwood – So.
Middle Blocker: Rachel Losch – Missouri Western – Sr.
Middle Blocker: Anna Squiers – Nebraska Kearney – So.
Setter: Ally Offerdahl – Central Missouri – So.
Setter: McKenzie Fyfe – Central Oklahoma – Sr.
Setter: Bre Becker – Fort Hays State – Jr.
Setter: Lauren Murphy – Missouri Western – Jr.
Libero/Defensive Specialist: Olivia Nowakowski – Northwest Missouri – Sr.
Central Missouri: Rylee Neigenfind – OH, Hannah Engelken – MB, Carly Offerdahl – L/DS
Central Oklahoma: Karyn Chrisman – RS, Amanda Desch – RS, Haley Deschenes – OH, Malia Kaaiohelo – MB,
Emporia State: Taylor Otting – OH, Emma Dixon – S, Allie Maloney – L/DS,
Fort Hays State: Azlyn Cassaday – OH
Lindenwood: Alexa Pressley – OH, Ally Clancy – S
Missouri Southern: Alicia Pickett – MB
Missouri Western: Shellby Taylor – RS, Ali Tauchen – MB, Audrey Keim – L/DS
Pittsburg State: Emily Reiger – MB, Lauren Dunn – L/DS
Southwest Baptist: Bailey Baumann – L/DS
Washburn: Makayla Maxwell – MB
— Northwest Athletics —