BATON ROUGE – Freshman Briana Holman helped lead LSU back to the NCAA Volleyball Tournament and her strong play earned her Player of the Year honors on the All-Louisiana Louisiana Sports Writers Association College Volleyball team announced last Saturday.
Holman, one of several young stars on this year’s team, also shared the Freshman of the Year honors in even voting with Tea Juric of Tulane.
The Green Wave had three members on the first team and the Coach of the Year selection Sinisa Momic who led Tulane to the nation’s largest turnaround from 2012 to 2013.
The teams were nominated by the volleyball sports information staff members around the state and on the final ballot, the voters were asked to select their top 12 players in the state with their top choice getting 12 points, second 11 and so on. The voters then selected first and second team Libero choices to wrap up the two teams.
Keelie Arenson of Northwestern State was chosen as First Team Libero which also serves as the choice as Libero of the Year. Celeste Ramirez of UNO wrapped up the special awards by being named Newcomer of the Year for first-year Louisiana players.
Holman, who had seven first-place votes and was 12 points shy of a unanimous selection on the 11 ballots that could vote for her, posted 3.07 kills per set and led the Southeastern Conference with 1.55 blocks per set. The Desoto, Texas native’s blocks per set average was fourth nationally and first among freshman. Holman had 184 blocks, the most by an LSU player since 2007 with four double doubles of kills and blocks. She was an All-SEC selection and an AVCA Honorable Mention All-American.
Arenson of Northwestern was voted top Libero after being voted Libero of the Year in the Southland Conference. The junior from Tomball, Texas was a repeat selection on the SLC first team. She topped her own single-season digs record of 618 with 712 in 2013 and her average of 5.70 digs per set is No. 4 in the nation.
Ramirez of UNO, who came to the school from Blinn JC, led the Privateers as team setter with 571 assists and was also first on the team in attack percentage with a .215 average.
Momic earned Coach honors after turning the Green Wave from 6-12 in 2012 to 28-4 in 2013. She was named the Conference USA Coach of the Year, the first time a Green Wave coach has won the conference honors. Momic coached a team, picked 10th in the league, to a second place finish, losing in the conference tournament championship match.
Along with Holman, outside hitter Juric and libero Arenson were senior middle blocker Cori Martone and senior setter Mel Mandelbaum, both of Tulane; junior middle blocker Moira Kirk of Xavier; and, sophomore outside hitter Cati Leak of LSU.
The second team consists of setter Malorie Pardo of LSU; outside hitter Taylor Reuther of Xavier; outside hitters Ashley Elrod and Stacey Defrancesco of Northwestern State; setter Andrea Hole of Louisiana-Lafayette; outside hitter Malina Sanchez of McNeese State; and, libero Marcela Araya of ULM.
ALL-LOUISIANA LSWA COLLEGE VOLLEYBALL TEAM
FIRST TEAM (SIX TOP VOTE GETTERS AND TOP LIBERO)
Briana Holman, LSU/MB/Fr./Desoto, Texas/.337 Hit Pct., 188 blocks, All-SEC, AVCA A-A HM
Cori Martone, Tulane/MB/Sr./Baton Rouge, La./388 kills, .289 C-USA, First Team All-C-USA
Tea Juric, Tulane/OH/Fr./Republic of Croatia/C-USA Freshman of Year, 446 kills, .277 Hit Pct.
Mel Mandelbaum, Tulane/S/Sr./Clovis, Calif. /C-USA Setter of Year, 1,332 assists, Top 10 NCCA in aps
Moira Kirk, Xavier/MB/Jr./Dallas, Texas/Hit .436 during 20-gm win streak, AVCA All-Mid-South HM
Cati Leak, LSU/OH/So./Guntersville, Ala./361 kills, .203 Hit Pct, 280 digs, Team best 3.19 kps
Keelie Arenson, Northwestern State/L/Jr./Tomball, Texas/SLC Libero of Year, 5.70 dps (4th NCAA)
Player of the Year – Briana Holman, LSU
Voting – Holman 7, Martone 3, Kirk 2
Libero of the Year – Keelie Arenson, Northwestern State
Voting – Arenson 6, Araya 4, Weaver 1, Smith 1
Freshman of the Year – (tie) Briana Holman, LSU; Tea Juric, Tulane
Voting – Holman 6, Juric 6
Newcomer of the Year – Celeste Ramirez, UNO
Voting – only nominee
Coach of the Year – Sinisa Momic – Tulane
Voting – Momic 8, Hannah Lawing (Xavier) 2, Hugh & Stephanie Hernesman (Northwestern State) 1, Heather Mazeitis-Fontenot (Louisiana-Lafayette) 1
Malorie Pardo, LSU/S/Jr./League City, Texas/1,317 assists, 19 double doubles-2nd most in SEC
Taylor Reuther, Xavier/OH/Jr./Metairie, La./All-AVCA Mid-South, 3-time All-Louisiana selection
Ashley, Elrod, Northwestern State/OH/Fr./Arlington, Texas/SLC Freshman of Year, 14 double doubles
Andrea Hole, Louisiana-Lafayette/S/Jr./Oslo, Norway/2nd-team All-SBC, 18 double doubles
Malina Sanchez, McNeese/OH/So./Lake Jackson, Texas/2nd-team All-SLC, 426 kills, 317 digs
Stacey Defrancesco, Northwestern State/OH/Jr./The Woodlands, Texas/repeat First Team All-SLC
Marcela Araya, ULM/L/Jr./San Jose, Costa Rica/549 digs, school mark
OH – Eva Allen, Loyola; Kayla Burling, Nicholls; Kayla Mashburn, Nicholls; Caiti O’Connell, Northwestern State; MB – Tonice White, Louisiana-Lafayette; Chantelle Gardner, Louisiana-Lafayette; Desiree Elliott, LSU; S – Maria Coelho, Louisiana Tech.