Senior middle blocker Erin Kirby, junior outside hitter Bridget Shanahan and sophomore Laura Beach of the Wyoming volleyball team were recognized Monday as members of the 2014 MW All-Conference Team and other postseason honors were announced by the league office. Kirby earned her fourth-consecutive honor, while for Shanahan and Beach, it is their first career honor. It’s also the first time since 2012 that three Cowgirls have been selected all-conference in the same season. The Mountain West All-Conference volleyball awards are selected by the league’s 11 head coaches.
“Having three players honored on the all-conference team is exciting for Wyoming,” head coach Chad Callihan said. “It indicates that we had some great individual performers but to garner three recipients means we also had a successful season as a team. Congratulations to all three individuals. They’ve worked incredibly hard the past year and it’s nice to see them recognized for their efforts.”
Senior Deedra Foss of Colorado State was named Player of the Year, Sierra Nobley of Boise State was selected Freshman of the Year, Kaitlyn Oliver of Boise State was the Newcomer of the Year, while UNLV’s Cindy Fredrick was voted Coach of the Year.
Kirby was selected to her fourth All-MW team in as many seasons. She is the second player in school history and the third in MW history to earn conference honors four-consecutive seasons. She started and played in every match in 2014 for the Cowgirls plus 116 sets. She finished the season ranked first in the MW in overall hitting percentage (.422, 284, 57-538) and seventh in blocks (1.22 bps). In conference matches, she hit a league-high .391 (.166-39-325) and averaged 1.20 blocks per set, which was eighth. Her season-hitting percentage ranked ninth in the nation. Her career-hitting percentage of .354 (989-235-2131) ranks first all-time in school history, while the 714 career blocks is first all-time in school and Mountain West history.
Shanahan earned her first career All-MW honor at the outside hitter position. She led the team in kills overall (3.33 kps) and in league matches (3.06 kps), which ranked third and sixth, respectively. Shanahan played in all 31 matches with 28 starts and 116 sets. This season, she recorded double-figures in 24 of 31 matches and led the team 18 times in kills. Besides kills, she also led the team in points 3.29 points per set and tallied 42 digs and 31 blocks in conference matches.
Beach, a middle blocker from Lakewood, Colo., is also a first-time selection for All-MW honors. She finished her season averaging 2.64 kills and 1.06 blocks while hitting .406 (306-65-593) overall. In league play, she averaged 2.66 kills, 1.14 blocks and hit .355 (186-45-397). Beach ranked second overall, third in conference matches and 13th national in hitting percentage.