Volleyball Closes the Book on Successful 2016 Season
GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNCG volleyball’s 2016 season ended with a heartbreaking five-set loss in the second round of the Southern Conference Tournament on Nov. 20. Although the final outcome wasn’t what the team and staff had planned, the 2016 season marked several team and individual performances that will add to the UNCG volleyball record book, and help build a foundation for several years.
The Spartans finished the season with an 18-13 overall record, and finished 11-5 in the Southern Conference. It is the third-straight season the team finished with an 11-5 SoCon record, while it earned the first-ever two-seed in the SoCon Tournament that was held in Birmingham, Ala., hosted by the Samford Bulldogs. It is the third-straight season that UNCG has finished with an 11-5 record in SoCon play.
Alexis Mourier (Elkview, W.Va./George Washington), Jessica Brezwyn (Darien, Ill./Hinsdale South), Sara Hohman (Zionsville, Ind./Cathedral) and Chinwendu Ngwadom (Raleigh, N.C./Chicago State) end their careers as one of the most winning classes to go through UNCG. The senior class ends their UNCG career as the class with the most wins in conference play, having earned 43 victories in the last four seasons.
Four Spartans garnered All-Southern Conference accolades. Ashley Muench (Hurdle Mills, N.C./Orange) and Allison Penner (Aurora, Neb,/Aurora) notched first team honors, with Christina Gregory (Louisville, Ky./Sacred Heart Academy) and Jasmine Jones (Stafford, Va./Brook Point) earned second team honors. Gregory also took home the SoCon’s Libero of the Year award; the second-straight season UNCG has earned the award.
UNCG’s defense also ranked among one of the top in the nation, averaging 17.82 digs per set. That average led the SoCon and ranked seventh in the country in that category. UNCG placed in the top ten in several other team categories, including team digs (fifth), team attacks per set (eighth) and team assists (ninth).
Four players earned 250 kills on the season, the first time on record that four players have hit the 250 mark. UNCG’s defense also had five players earn at least 250 digs throughout the season the first time five players have earned 250 digs. Several seasons had four players have reached the 250 dig plateau, with the last such occurrence in 2010.
Muench led the Spartan offense, collecting 471 kills on the year, averaging 3.89 per set. The per set average ranks third best in a single season in school history. Jones was second on the team with 285 kills, hitting at a team-best .314 average throughout the season. Jones led the conference with a .377 hitting average in conference matches. She was also named to the All-Tournament Team following the SoCon Tournament. In the Aug. 27th match with Eastern Kentucky, Jones tied a school record; recording 11 blocks in the match.
Mourier (Elkview, W.Va./George Washington) and Brezwyn (Darien, Ill./Hinsdale South) notched 250 and 251 kills, respectively. Brezwyn earned SoCon Offensive Player of the Week honors on Sept. 12.
Penner helped pace the offense, earning 1,172 assists on the season, the eighth-best single season total. Her 10.95 per set average ranks as the fifth-best season in school history. Penner now owns the fourth, and fifth-best assists per set seasons at UNCG. The per set average led the SoCon and was 30th nationally in that category. She also ranked 35th in the nation in total assists.
Gregory led the Spartan defense with 619 digs ranking fourth in school history in digs in a season. Her 5.25 per set average set a new school record for a single season per set average. She ranked 13th in the country in digs per set, and 10th nationally in total digs. Gregory earned SoCon Defensive Player of the Month twice (September and October) during the season, the first time that a Spartan has earned the award twice in their career. She earned the SoCon Defensive Player of the Week honor three times (Oct. 3, Oct. 17, Oct. 24), tied for the most in a single season.
Other contributors to the defense included Muench, who notched 318 digs, and earned SoCon Defensive Player of the Week honors on Oct. 24. Penner and Ronni Katarzynski (Winfield, Ill./West Chicago) each earned 272 digs, average 2.54 and 2.37, respectively. Anna Romaniszyn (Port Orange, Fla./Spruce Creek) added 258 digs throughout the season, her third-straight season topping the 150 mark.
The accolades don’t just include competition on the court, prior to the season, the team earned its first American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Team academic Award after posting the highest team GPA in seven years.