In a tough season for the University of Hawaii at Hilo women’s volleyball team, freshman Bria Morgan put up big power numbers and led the Pacific West Conference and NCAA Division II with 5.16 kills per game.
For her strong performance, Morgan, a 5-foot-11 outside hitter from Soquel, Calif., has been named the PacWest Freshman of the Year in balloting of league coaches.
The All-PacWest teams were announced Tuesday and conference champion Brigham Young University-Hawaii had four players honored as well as longtime coach Wilfred Navalta.
BYUH’s Shih Ting Chen, a 5-10 sophomore outside hitter/middle blocker from Taiwan, repeated as the PacWest Player of the Year and she was joined on the first team squad by teammates Ying Chun Chen, a 5-7 sophomore setter, and Lauren Hagemeyer, a 6-1 junior outside hitter from Ridgway, Colo. Teammate Melanie Manutai, a 5-4 junior libero out of Moanalua High School on Oahu, earned second-team honors.
Navalta was named the PacWest Coach of the Year, leading the Seasiders (21-3 overall) to the league title with an unbeaten 16-0 record.
Also selected to the All-PacWest first team were Cal Baptist’s Ingrid Carmona, a 5-11 senior outside hitter from the Dominican Republic; Fresno Pacific’s Rupia Inck, a 6-1 sophomore outside hitter from Brazil; and Grand Canyon’s Mackenzie Phelps, a 5-10 sophomore libero, and Kristen Preach, a 5-10 senior setter from Phoenix, Ariz.
Phelps was chosen the PacWest Setter of the Year and Fresno Pacific’s Kathleen Anderson, a 6-1 junior middle blocker, the PacWest Newcomer of the Year.
Morgan was named to the All-PacWest second team. Besides her 5.16 kills per game,she also averaged 2.54 digs and 5.60 per game in a productive first year under Vulcans head coach Tino Reyes.
Morgan is joined on the second team by BYUH’s Manutai, Fresno Pacific’s Anderson, Erica Adachi, a 5-9 senior setter, and Hannah Butler, a 5-7 freshman libero; Azzusa Pacific’s Jackie Landers, a 5-11 junior outside hitter; and Cal Baptist’s Malika O’Brien, a 6-1 freshman middle blocker.
Hawaii Pacific University’s Chelsey Buyuan, a 5-6 junior libero and former Waiakea High standout, topped the seven-member third team.
Morgan was the only UHH player to be honored by the conference.
The Vulcans finished the year with a 4-17 overall record and 4-11 mark in the PacWest.