GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNCG volleyball closed the book on another successful season Friday night at the annual year-end banquet. The Spartans finished the 2017 season 19-12 and 11-5 in Southern Conference play for the fourth-straight season. UNCG earned its first-ever postseason appearance as a Division I program, earning a spot in the National Invitational Volleyball Championship (NIVC).
Several individuals etched their names into the record books this season. Senior Ashley Muench earned the program’s first-ever Southern Conference Player of the Year award. Muench finishes her career second in career kills per set average with 3.45 through her time at UNCG. She’s also only the second player to reach the 1,500 career kill plateau. After recording her 1,000th career dig against UCF in the NIVC, she is one of just a handful of players who have earned 1,000 career kills and 1,000 career digs.
A pair of returning players has already begun to leave their legacy in the UNCG record book. Junior Christina Gregory reached earned her 1,000th career dig in the non-conference season against American in early September. She’s also moved up to second in career digs per set average (4.08). Gregory was named the Southern Conference’s Defensive Player of the Week twice during the season and tied a SoCon record with her third Defensive Player of the Month honor in November.
Another junior putting her name in the record book is Allison Penner. Penner recorded her 3,000th career assist in a victory over The Citadel on October 13th. Only five other players have reached the 3,000-career assist mark. She’s currently fourth all-time in career assists, recording 3,497 career assists. She also currently holds the top assists per set average in school history at 10.79. Along with her production on the court, Penner earned the Spiro Best Teammate Award. This award is completely based on player voting. The team votes for the teammate that they respect the most as a teammate. She earned second team CoSIDA Academic All-America honors for her efforts this year.
Along with the career milestones, there were several individual awards handed out. Two players received the team’s Most Improved Award, given to the player or players that exhibit the most growth in their game over the past year. Those winners were sophomores Emily Keilen and Mikaela Weidmann.
Redshirt sophomore Rebecca Rice took home two awards Friday evening. Rice earned the coaches award and the Spartan Strength Award. The Coaches Award is given to the player or players that demonstrate a great work ethic, is always willing to learn and is willing to spend extra time honing their skills. The Spartan Strength Award is given to the player or players that exhibit the most gains in their physical strength and fitness over the past year.
Senior Katie Wagner also took home a pair of awards. Wagner earned the Stacy Kosciak Leadership Award, given to the player or players that demonstrate excellent leadership skills in communication, consistent work ethic and integrity. Wagner and freshman Maria Esch both earned the Spartan Academic Award, given to the player or players with the highest cumulative GPA. Each recorded a 4.0 GPA.