BYU seniors McKenna Miller and Mary Lake ended their West Coast Conference careers in style.
On Monday, Miller was voted the 2019 Player of the Year while Lake secured WCC Libero (formerly Defensive Player) of the Year honors for the third straight year.
San Diego senior Anna Newsome collected inaugural Setter of the Year honors, while teammate opposite hitter Grace Frohling earned WCC Freshman of the Year accolades for the Toreros. USD’s Jennifer Petrie was selected as the Coach of the Year for the sixth time. All five major individual awards — including the all-conference and all-freshman teams — were voted on solely by the WCC’s 10 head coaches.
Miller was the focal point of the one of the most efficient offenses in the country as the Cougars ranked 19th nationally in attack percentage (.275). The outside hitter averaged 4.71 kills per set, good for 11th among Division I leaders and was fifth in points per set (5.47). During conference play, Miller averaged 3.59 kills per set on .310 attacking. Miller is the fifth Cougar to earn Player of the Year honors and second consecutive to two-time All-American and 2018 National Player of the Year finalist Roni Jones-Perry.
Lake is the third Cougar to capture Libero of the Year (formerly Defensive Player of the Year) honors and is the second student-athlete to do so in three consecutive seasons, joining current AVP professional Betsi Metter won three straight honors (2011-13) for LMU. Lake ranked eighth among conference leaders in digs (3.55 per set) while keying one of the league’s top defensive units. Lake finished the regular season with 1,877 career digs — the most in BYU history and good for third place on the WCC all-time chart.
BYU freshman Whitney Bower – who graduated from high school a year early to join the Cougars this summer – was named to the All-WCC first team as a setter. She totaled 1016 assists (9.58 per set), 264 digs (2.49 per set) and 37 aces while adding 81 kills and hitting .390.
Junior middle blocker Kennedy Eschenberg earned first team honors while contributing 183 kills (1.73 per set) and 124 blocks (1.17 per set) while hitting .349. Sophomore middle blocker Heather Gneiting made the first team as well. This season Gneiting totaled 219 kills (2.07 per set) and 136 blocks (1.28 per set) while hitting .308.
Kate Grimmer joined Bower on the WCC All-Freshman team after contributing 114 kills (1.68 per set) and 48 blocks.
Newsome enjoyed a remarkable senior campaign guiding the Toreros to its first outright WCC Championship since 2013 and 11th overall. Under her orchestration, San Diego boasted a potent offense ranked seventh nationally in attack percentage (.286) and 21st in kills per set (14.07) — both numbers tops in the WCC. Newsome averaged 10.12 assists per set during conference play to go along with 2.33 digs and 0.30 blocks per set.
Frohling made an immediate impact for the Toreros in her debut season. The opposite hitter averaged 2.39 kills on .259 attacking to go along with 0.65 blocks and 0.34 service aces during WCC action. Frohling is the first San Diego student-athlete (ninth overall) to capture top frosh honors and the first since 2017, joining teammate Roxie Wiblin (2017).
This is the sixth WCC Coach of the Year honor for Petrie, who propelled San Diego its 11th WCC Championship in 2019, matching Pepperdine for most in conference history. Along the way, Petrie collected her 400th career victory, directed the Toreros a 13-match winning streak and a pair of 9-match strings. San Diego opens play in its 10th straight NCAA Volleyball Championship on Friday, Dec. 6, against Washington State in Hawaii.
This year’s first team features four student-athletes making a repeat appearance, led by BYU’s Lake and Miller making their third straight all-conference squad. Pepperdine senior outside hitter Hannah Frohling (older sister of USD’s Grace Frohling) and 2018 National Freshman of the Year Heather Gneiting appear on the first team for the second time. For the first time in conference history 11 of the 12 capturing first team honors will compete in the NCAA Tournament.
BYU and San Diego will compete in the 2019 NCAA Tournament as announced Sunday on ESPNU. This is the ninth straight year that at least two WCC programs have advanced to the NCAA Tournament. In addition, Santa Clara earned a berth in the 2019 NIVC Tournament beginning Wednesday, Dec. 4.