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Amber Thomas named AVCA Division III Player of the Year

(Posted November 14, 2007)

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. - Juniata College outside hitter Amber Thomas (Ephrata, Pa./Conestoga Valley) has been named the 2007 Division III American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Player of the Year. The award was announced this evening at the 2007 NCAA Division III Championship awards banquet in Bloomington, Ill., which was held in conjunction with the NCAA Division III Championship, to be held November 15-17 on the campus of Illinois Wesleyan University. The junior hitter is the second consecutive Eagles volleyball player honored with the award, and the third in four years. Stephanie Kines won the award last season, and Carli Dale earned the honor in 2004. \"I am kind of stunned at the moment,\" Thomas said. \"I am thankful for the talent God has given me and the opportunity to play for Juniata . I owe it all to my coach, teammates, my dad and my mom, who I know is watching all of my games.\" This high distinction caps off the numerous awards Thomas has won during the season. Recently, she was named an AVCA Division III First-Team All-American for the second time, and her third AVCA All-America honor in three years. She also was named Landmark Conference Player of the Year, earned Sports Imports/AVCA Division III National Player of the Week on Sept. 17, and was named to her third AVCA All-Mid-Atlantic Region team. Going into this week\'s NCAA national quarterfinals, Thomas is averaging 4.37 kills per game, which ranks her among the nation\'s leaders. Add to that a .340 hitting percentage and 2.76 digs per game, and Thomas\' all-around game has been impressive in 2007. She leads the Juniata team in both kills and digs. Thomas\' accolades personify Juniata\'s dominance in Division III women\'s volleyball over the last four years. She is trying to lead her team to their fourth consecutive NCAA championship match. The Eagles are attempting to win their third national championship in four years, and want to become the first team since Central College in 2000 to win a second consecutive national title. The last two times Juniata athletes were honored with the Division III AVCA National Player of the Year award, the team went on to win the national championship. Thomas and Juniata will square off with Amherst College Thursday as they begin their quest for their third championship. Division III AVCA National Players of the Year 2007 Amber Thomas, Juniata College 2006 Stephanie Kines, Juniata College 2005 Courtney Rose, Emory University 2004 Carli Dale, Juniata College 2003 Amy Smith, University of La Verne 2002 Rebecca Rotello, Washington University 2001 Allison Erickson, Wisconsin-Whitewater 2000 Candace Wilson, Central College 1999 Abbie Brown, Central College 1998 Abbie Brown, Central College 1997 Jennifer Martz, Washington University 1996 Amy Ward, Wisconsin-Oshkosh 1995 Shelley Swan, Washington University 1994 Amy Albers, Washington University 1993 Amy Albers, Washington University 1992 Lisa Becker, Washington University Anastasia Nikas, Stony Brook University 1991 Elizabeth Tan, UC San Diego 1990 Kathy Bersett, Washington University 1989 Lori Nishikawa, Washington University 1988 Lori Nishikawa, Washington University 1987 Janet Hughes, UC San Diego 1986 Anne Westerkamp, Benedictine University 1985 Sherri Petrick, Benedictine University -30-

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Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.