(Posted November 3, 2005)

Huntingdon, PA - After closing the regular season with a 31-1 record and posting a 7-0 mark in conference play, the Juniata College women's volleyball team earned five spots on the Commonwealth Conference All-Conference Team, as voted by the league's eight head coaches. Junior middle hitter Stephanie Kines (Towson/Towson, Md.) was picked as the Commonwealth Player of the Year, while also grabbing first-team honors. Joining her on the first team was senior middle hitter Katie Laucks (West York/York). Junior Rachael Schatz (West Perry/Elliotsburg), sophomore Tara McMinn (Huntingdon/Huntingdon) and freshman Amber Thomas (Conestoga Valley/Ephrata) all garnered second-team recognition. Thomas was also tabbed as the Conference Rookie of the Year.

This marks the third All-Conference selection for Kines, and is the second time she has earned first-team honors. A first-team All-American last season Kines leads Juniata with 377 kills and 109 blocks and is second with 51 serve aces. The ace and block totals are both career highs and have helped her lead Juniata with 492 points on the season. She also has a career-best 100 digs in 2005. She is tied for the team and Commonwealth lead with her .382 hitting percentage and ranks in the conference top-five in kills, aces and blocks. With her efforts this season she has moved into the Juniata career top-10 in blocks and she also moved past the career 1,000-kill plateau in her junior season.

Laucks earns All-Conference recognition for the fourth time in her career, and captures first-team recognition for the third-consecutive season. She becomes just the third Juniata player to receive All-Conference laurels in each of her four seasons. She ranks third on the 2005 team with 349 kills with an average of 3.46 kills per game while tying for the team lead with a .382 hitting percentage. She is also second on the team with 78 blocks, marking the fourth-consecutive season she has posted 75 or more blocks and more than 310 kills. She ranks eighth in Juniata history in both career kills and blocks, one of just four Juniata players to rank in the career top-10 in those two categories. She ranks in the top-10 in the conference in kills, blocks and aces.

Schatz claims All-Conference recognition for the first time in her career. After moving into the starting lineup for most of her sophomore season she has become a consistent offensive weapon at outside hitter in her junior year. She has notched new career-bests in every statistical category, with 349 kills, 76 blocks and 71 digs this season. Her kill total ranks second on the team, while she's third on the squad in blocks. She also boasts an impressive .314 hitting percentage which is third-best on the team. Schatz established a new career-high with 22 kills in a win this season over Carnegie Mellon.

McMinn is another first-time All-Conference performer. The sophomore libero has picked up where she left off after earning NCAA All-Tournament Team honors during her freshman season. She has been a key part of Juniata's defensive success by recording a team-best 434 digs in her second season. She is averaging 4.34 digs per game in 2005 and has now piled up more than 800 digs in two seasons. As one of the team's primary passers she also holds a solid .889 passing percentage. McMinn established a new career-best with 28 digs in Juniata's season-opening win over Wittenberg, which was one of seven matches in which she has produced 20 or more digs. She has also added a career-best 22 serve aces in 2005.

Thomas has made an immediate impact for the Eagles at outside hitter in her freshman campaign. She is fourth on the team in kills with 305, good for a 3.18 kills per game average. She reached 20 kills twice on the season with both efforts coming against nationally-ranked opponents. Her 215 digs ranks third on the team while she is fourth in blocks with 44 and is sixth with 30 aces. She has a .276 hitting percentage, and her passing percentage ranks second among the primary passers. Thomas has reach double figures in digs seven times, and has five "double-doubles" in which she recorded 10 or more kills and 10 or more digs in the same match.

Juniata has a record of 32-1 through its first 33 matches and is ranked second in the latest American Volleyball Coaches/CSTV Division III Top-25 Poll. The Eagles will look to earn their 25th-consecutive conference championship when they host Lebanon Valley in the Commonwealth Championship on Saturday. A win would earn the Eagles an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament.


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Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.