Women’s Volleyball Team Completes Historic SeasonPosted by Janae Melvin on February 16, 2016 in Blessington, Championship, KCAC, NAIA, National, Tournament, volleyball The Ottawa University women’s volleyball team wrapped up a successful 2015 season that saw the team tie a school record with 34 wins and a victory in the opening round of the NAIA National Tournament for the first time in program history. The team finished the season ranked 23rd in the NAIA Women’s Volleyball Coaches Top 25 Poll.
“It was a fantastic year for our team,” said head coach Melissa Blessington. “It is amazing how hard these girls worked to accomplish the things that they did. I am proud of the seniors on our team; they all left their stamp on this program. Every player was responsible for this record-breaking season and I am grateful that they are Braves.”
OU won the KCAC regular season title with a school record 19 conference victories and only one loss. The Braves also won the KCAC Tournament Championship, competing against Kansas Wesleyan University for the fourth straight season in the tournament Championship Game. OU took a 3-1 victory over the Coyotes.
The Braves earned a NAIA National Tournament opening round victory over nationally ranked Wayland Baptist University, 3-0. It was the second time in three years that OU had played WBU in the opening round. The win earned the team a trip to Sioux City, IA, for tournament pool play and the opportunity to take another step towards a national title.
The team played hard and left everything on the court, but came up short in all three of their pool play matches losing 3-1 to Missouri Baptist, 3-1 to No. 10 Rocky Mountain and 3-1 to No. 15 College of Idaho. While it wasn’t quite the ending the women were hoping for, it was a turning point for a program that is on the rise.
OU brought home plenty of hardware this season. Coach Blessington was named KCAC Coach of the Year, senior Janaya Fox earned KCAC Player of the Year honors, junior Bethany Farres was named KCAC Setter of the Year, and senior Hannah Sittig earned KCAC Libero of the Year. Fox, Farres, and Sittig also earned KCAC First Team Honors while juniors Angela Roberts and Jade Rohach were named KCAC Second Team. Juniors Keri Tanking, Avery Enzbrenner, and Caitlin Doran earned Honorable Mention All-KCAC honors.
At the national level, Fox became the program’s first NAIA Third Team All-American and earned American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) First Team Honors. Farres also AVCA All-American First Team honors and was a NAIA Honorable Mention selection.
The Braves excelled in the classroom as well with Tanking being named a CoSIDA Academic All-American Second Team College Division and Enzbrenner, Taking, and seniors Brea Frederick and Christa Hill were named Daktronic Scholar Athletes.