Nov. 16, 2017
Pioneer Movement | Summit League Release | Denver Ticket Office
DENVER— Ahead of the Summit League Tournament, set to take place at Hamilton Gymnasium from Friday to Sunday, the league announced this year’s award winners at the banquet held Thursday night.
Denver led the league in taking home eight awards on the night, highlighted by three on the all-league team, two on the all-freshman team, two honorable mentions and a Coach of the Year award.
Junior outside hitter Becca Latham, senior right-side hitter Kayla Principato and junior middle blocker Emma Willis were named to the 2017 Summit League All-League Team, while seniors Cassie Baird and Cassidy Rooke earned honorable mention.
Middle blocker Tina Boe and setter Ellie Anderson were recognized on the all-freshman team.
Head coach Tom Hogan was named Coach of the Year after guiding the Pioneers to a program-best 12-2 league record. Through his two years at the helm, Hogan has compiled a 25-5 (.833) record in the Summit League, with the Pioneers winning the last two regular season titles, as well as the 2016 Summit League Tournament Championship.
Latham had the best hitting percentage in the league, posting a .349 mark for the entire season and a .363 in Summit League play. The Austin, Texas, native is third in points per set in league play at 3.70 and fourth in points with 185.0. She is also fourth in the number of conference kills and kills per set at 163 and 3.26, respectively. She earned Offensive Player of the Week twice this season as a result of her performance in league matches. Latham leads the team in kills (288), kills per set (3.16), points (322.5) and points per set (3.54) on the year. Statistically, her overall results rank fourth in kills and points, fifth in points per set and sixth in kills per set amongst league players. The outside hitter has played in 91 of Denver’s 92 sets this year, starting in 12 matches, and has had the team-high in kills in 13 matches, while tying for a team high in another. In matches that she has started, DU is 12-0. She has recorded double-digit kills in 17 matches, 10 of which were against Summit League opponents, with the Pioneers going 16-1 overall and 9-1 in league play in such instances. Latham also ranks third on the team in total blocks with five solo and 59 assisted blocks. This is the second Summit League award for Latham, who was named to the Summit League All-Freshman Team in 2015.
For Principato, it’s the third-straight season that she has been named to the all-league team. The right-side hitter has appeared in all sets this season, and started the first 17 matches for the Pioneers. She is second on the team in kills (251), kills per set (2.73) and points (282.5) on the season, and has had the team-high in kills in eight matches, while tying for the team-high in three. Denver is 11-1 when she records double-digit kills, including a perfect 6-0 in league play. She is also fourth on the team in total blocks with 59 (two solo, 57 assisted). Amongst league players, Principato ranks eighth in overall kills and kills in league play with 128. Her 2.73 kills per set places her ninth in the league, and her 2.51 kills per set in league play ranks 10th. The Rockville Centre, N.Y., native is hitting .236 to date and .211 in league contests. Principato also earned Offensive Player of the Week in the first week of competition, marking the second time she has won the distinction in her career.
After receiving honorable mention last season, Willis earned a place on the all-league team for the first time in her career. The junior middle blocker was a clog at the net this season, leading the Pioneers with 104 total blocks behind seven solo and 97 assisted blocks (1.13 blocks per set). Starting in all 26 matches and playing in all sets to date, she had a team-high in total blocks in 13 matches. She leads the league in overall assisted blocks and blocks per set, and is third in total blocks. When just taking into account Summit League matches, she is second in assisted blocks (49), fourth in total blocks (53) and fifth in blocks per set (1.04). The middle blocker also has registered 163 kills on the season, which places her fourth on the team, and is hitting .259, the third-best hitting percentage on the team.
Baird earned honorable mention for the second time in her career, previously making the team in 2015. The outside hitter has started all 26 matches this season and has played in 82 sets. She leads the team in service aces with 30, is third in kills (186, 2.27 k/s) and digs (224, 2.73 d/s) and is fifth in blocks (42, five solo and 37 assisted). The Indianapolis, Ind., native ranks second in overall service aces amongst the Summit League, but is second when just factoring in league matches with 21. She is second in service aces per set at .37 overall and .44 in league play. Baird has led the team in service aces in six matches, including three of the last four.
Rooke received honorable mention for the first time on the back of a great year for the senior. The libero/ defensive specialist has started all 26 matches this season, and has played in 85 sets. She leads the team with 347 digs on the year, averaging a team-high 4.08 digs per set. From Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., Rooke led the team in digs in 17 matches, of which 12 times were against Summit League teams, and eight of the last 10 matches. Statistically, she ranks eighth in the league in digs and sixth in digs per set. In league play, she had 219 digs and averaged 4.29 d/s, which ranks fourth and fifth, respectively amongst league players.
In their first seasons as Pioneers, Boe and Anderson made an instant impact on the Crimson and Gold, resulting in a spot on the league’s all-freshman team.
From Plymouth, Minn., Boe has started all 26 matches for Denver thus far, playing in 90 sets. The middle blocker has 87 total blocks, six solo and 81 assisted, averaging .97 blocks a set on the season, which is the second-best on the team in all categories. She has led the Pioneers in total blocks in seven matches, five in solo blocks, and six times in assisted blocks. Amongst league players, her stats rank fourth (assisted blocks), sixth (b/s), and ninth (total blocks). Offensively, she registered 120 kills on the season, 78 in league play, and is hitting .305 on the season and .319 in league matches. Her hitting percentages rank sixth in the league, and second on DU.
Anderson has been just as effective, appearing in 86 sets and starting in the last nine matches, in which the Pioneers have gone 9-0. The Cedar Rapids, Iowa, native has recorded double-digit assists in all but one match this season, and has five double-doubles. Denver is 5-0 when Anderson registers a double-double. Anderson led the team in assists in 10 matches, including eight in Summit League play and seven of the last 10 matches. She is second on the team in assists (461, 5.36 a/s), and service aces (24), but leads the team in assist percentage at .432. The setter is also fourth on the team in digs with 168, averaging 1.95 digs per set. Her numbers rank ninth in assists and assists per set in the league. When just taking into account league matches, Anderson ranks fourth in service aces with 16, fifth in service aces per set (.32), seventh in assists (281), and ninth in assists per set (5.62).
The Summit League Tournament begins tomorrow at 3 p.m. MT with No. 4 North Dakota State and No. 5 Omaha squaring off. After the conclusion of the match, No. 3 South Dakota and No. 6 Fort Wayne will play. The winner of the first match will play No. 1 Denver on Saturday at 3 p.m. and the winner of Friday’s second match will play No. 2 Oral Roberts at 6 p.m. The championship match will take place on Sunday at 2 p.m.
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