Volleyball Earns Four Spots On All-America Team
(Posted November 14, 2005)
Huntingdon, PA - Juniata volleyball players Katie Laucks (West York/York), Stephanie Kines (Towson/Towson, Md.), Rachael Schatz (West Perry/Elliotsburg) and Amber Thomas have all been selected to the 2005 American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division III All-America Team. Laucks and Kines were both selected to the first-team for the second time in their careers, while Thomas was a second-team choice and Schatz earned third-team honors. All four players also earned AVCA Mid-Atlantic All-Region recognition last week. Thomas was selected as the AVCA Division III Freshman of the Year, the first Juniata player to earn that honor since its inception in 2002.
This season marks the first time that Juniata has earned four All-Americans in the same season. The Eagles have earned three All-America honors eight times, but had never placed four players on the team in one season. The Division III All-America Team expanded from 24 players to 36 players in 2002.
Laucks a senior middle hitter claims All-America and All-Region honors for the third time in her career and was one of just three three-time All-Americans on the 2005 team. A four-year starter she has enjoyed one of her most productive seasons as a senior, as she ranks third on the team with 370 kills for an average of 3.56 kills per game. She is also second on the tam in blocks with 82 and third in aces with 46. Her .390 hitting percentage through 36 matches is the highest of her career. Laucks had reached double figures in kills 23 times this season, including 10 of the team's last 11 matches. She has also earned at least two blocks in 23 matches, and was selected as the AVCA/Sports Imports Division III Player of the Week on one occasion during the season. Laucks also collected All-Conference honors on the year.
Kines earns All-America honors for the second time, while this marks her third appearance on the All-Region Team. The junior middle hitter now been picked as a first-team All-American in both 2004 and 2005. She leads the team in kills, blocks and points. She is also second in serve aces and hitting percentage for Juniata on the year. Her 407 kills are just 37 shy of her career-best and she has already established a new career high with 121 blocks on the season. Her 56 serve aces are also a new career best. Kines was selected as the Commonwealth Conference Player of the Week four times during the season. She recorded at least 10 kills in 22 matches on the season, and bested the 20-kill plateau twice. Both of her 20-kill efforts came in wins over nationally-ranked opponents. Twenty-nine times this season Kines has produced at least two blocks, and has turned back four or more attacks 19 times.
In her first season as a full-time starter Schatz has developed into one of Juniata's most consistent offensive and defensive weapons as she earned the first All-America and All-Region honors of her career. The junior outside hitter has established new career highs in every category, most notably kills where she ranks second on the team with 382. She is third on the team in blocks, with another career-best of 81. Her other career-highs include 438.5 points, which is third-best on the team, and 81 digs. Her 382 kills are 143 more than her previous single-season high. Schatz pounded out a new career-high with 22 kills in a win over Carnegie Mellon, one of 20 occasions in which she reached double figures in kills. Her hitting percentage of .298 is also a career best. She recorded a season-high of six blocks in a win over Division II Ashland, and had five blocks on two occasions.
Thomas has piled up honors in her first season of collegiate volleyball while making a big offensive and defensive impact for Juniata. The freshman outside hitter has now been selected as the Division III, Mid-Atlantic Region and Commonwealth Conference Rookie of the Year, while also becoming the first Juniata freshman to earn All-America honors since the 1991 season. She is fourth on the team in kills in her first year, piling up 345 finishes with a .278 hitting percentage. She is also second on the team with 243 digs and is averaging 2.31 digs per game. Thomas has also produced 47 blocks and 37 aces on the year, giving her 410.5 points which is fourth-best on the squad. She opened her career with a 20-kill effort in a win over Wittenberg in the team's season-opener and has reached double figures in kills 17 times, including another 20-kill effort. Thomas also earned 10-plus digs eight times, and has posted six "double-doubles" with 10 or more kills and digs in the same match.
After winning its first-two NCAA Tournament matches to earn the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship, Juniata will continue play in the NCAA Tournament against Colby College in Salem, Va. on Thursday at 8:30 pm.
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