Cal Poly Volleyball headline Big West Conference postseason awards

Posted at 11:54 PM, Nov 20, 2018

Junior opposite hitter Torrey Van Winden was named Big West Player of the Year, freshman setter Avalon DeNecochea received Co-Freshman of the Year honors, head coach Sam Crosson was named Big West Coach of the year for the second year in a row and a total of six Cal Poly volleyball players received all-conference first team, honorable mention and all-conference freshman team nods, the Big West announced Tuesday.

Torrey Van Winden, along with senior Adlee Van Winden and sophomore Madilyn Mercer all were named to the All-Big West First Team. Senior libero Katherine Brouker, freshman middle blocker Meredith Phillips and DeNecochea all received honorable mention honors. Phillips and DeNecohcea were also named to the Big West All-Freshman team.

For Adlee Van Winden, this was the third time in her career she was named to the first team. It was the second time for Torrey Van Winden and the first for Mercer after receiving honorable mention honors last year. It was also the second year in a row Brouker received honorable mention.

Torrey becomes Cal Poly’s fifth Big West Player of the Year recipient and second in a row after Taylor Nelson garnered the award last season. The Napa native, in her second season at Cal Poly, helped lead the No. 14 Mustangs to a 25-2 overall record in the regular season, a 15-1 record in the Big West, a second straight conference title and NCAA Tournament appearance. She finished the regular season with a 5.07 kills per set average which is the second highest in a single-season in school history, surpassing her 4.83 average from last season. Her 5.07 kills per set average was good for second in the Big West and third in Division I. She also led the Big West in hitting percentage with a .365 clip, which is the ninth highest single-season hitting percentage in program history and was named Big West Player of the Week four times this season. In addition, She was second on the team in digs with 2.80 per set, third in blocks with .84 per set and third in aces with 20. In Cal Poly’s 27 matches, she recorded 12 double-doubles and nine times finished with 20 or more kills. It is the second time in program history Cal Poly has taken home the award in back-to-back years after Kylie Atherstone did so in 2006-07.

Winning Co-Freshman of the Year alongside UC Irvine’s Abby Marjama, DeNecochea becomes the first Mustang since Adlee Van Winden in 2015 and the fifth in program history to win the award. Taking over for reigning Big West Player of the Year and four-year starter Taylor Nelson at setter, the Mustangs offense didn’t miss a beat with DeNecochea. She directed the offense to a Big West leading .295 hitting percentage while averaging 10.32 assists per set, good for second in the conference. She also averaged 1.70 digs per set (fourth on the team), finished fourth on the team in total blocks with 44, and was tied for first on the team in service aces with 22. She also recorded three double-doubles on the season and was named Big West Freshman of the Week three times.

In his seventh season at the helm of the Mustangs’ program, Crosson guided Cal Poly (25-2) to its second straight Big West title with a 15-1 record. With the conference crown, Cal Poly also earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season, the first time that has happened at Cal Poly since 2006-07. He also guided the No. 14 Mustangs to its best start in program history this season at 19-1, a perfect 10-0 record at home, and its first win over an AVCA top-10 team since 2007 when the Mustangs took down No. 9 UCLA back-to-back nights. He also crossed the 100-win mark at Poly earlier this season after a home sweep over UC Davis. The Mustangs dominated their opponents this season, with 18 of the 25 wins coming in sweeps. They dropped just five sets in conference and 11 the entire season. Crosson, collecting his second consecutive Big West Coach of the Year honor, becomes just the second coach in Cal Poly history to win the award in consecutive years after Jon Stevenson did so in 2006-07.

Adlee Van Winden finished the regular season 10th in the Big West and second on the team in kills per set with a 2.84 average. She’s also third on the team in digs per set at 2.53, tied for first in service aces with 22 and fifth in total blocks with 34 and led the team in solo blocks with 13. She recorded seven double-doubles and three times finished with 20 or more kills in a match. She is currently sixth in career kills in program history with 1,345 and ninth in career kills per set average.

Mercer led the Big West in blocks with a 1.11 average. She finished with five or more total blocks in a match seven times this season, including a career-high 11 October 26 against Hawai’i. Her 11 block assists were just two shy of tying the program record for most block assists in a match. That performance earned her the first Big West Defensive Player of the Week honor of her career. She was also fifth on the team in kills with 1.73 per set and 10th in the Big West in hitting percentage at .289.

Brouker finished fourth in the Big West in digs per set with a 4.58 average to lead the team. In conference matches, she averaged nearly five digs per set at 4.98. Against Pepperdine in the first match of the season, she tied her career-high with 28 digs. She was named Big West Defensive Player of the Week November 5 after averaging 5.17 digs per set in wins over UCSB and UC Irvine. She currently sits fourth in program history in career total digs and career digs per set average at 3.95.

Starting every match this season at middle blocker, Phillips finished third on the team in total kills with 155. She was also fifth in the Big West in hitting percentage with a .325 average. In addition, she was second on the team in blocks with 79 and recorded double-figure kill numbers in three matches and had five or more blocks in a match six times.

-Provided by Cal Poly