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Leah McNary (left) and Lauren Smith (middle) earned All-East Region honorable-mention accolades.
Courtesy: J Duncan Photography

Volleyball Has Four Earn All-Region Honors From AVCA

OMAHA, Neb. -- Four Creighton Volleyball players have been awarded All-Region honors by the American Volleyball Coaches Association, it was announced today. Kelli Browning and Michelle Sicner earned First Team All-East Region acclaim, while Leah McNary and Lauren Smith earned honorable-mention accolades.

The four players to earn All-Region attention is one shy of the number of Creighton players to earn All-Region honors from the AVCA from 1994-2012.

A junior middle blocker from Waukesha, Wis., Browning averaged 2.45 kills and a BIG EAST-best 1.53 blocks per set for the Bluejays. She hit .323 on the year and ranks ninth nationally in blocks per set. Browning is a two-time all-conference performer and earns joins Megan Bober (2010, 12) as the second player in Creighton history to earn First-Team All-Region acclaim on multiple occasions.

A junior setter from Omaha, Sicner averaged 10.00 assists, 2.68 digs, 1.47 kills and 0.97 blocks per set while also hitting .300 for Creighton in 2013. Sicner led CU with 16 double-doubles and four triple-doubles during the year, which also saw her earn AVCA National Player of the Week honors on October 15. Sicner was recognized as a Second-Team All-BIG EAST selection this fall.

A junior outside hitter from Tarpon Springs, Fla., McNary led Creighton with 3.04 kills per set while earning First Team All-BIG EAST plaudits in 2013. McNary topped CU with 22 matches of 10 or more kills in 2013.

Smith is a redshirt freshman middle blocker from Lincoln, Neb. Smith was a two-time BIG EAST Freshman of the Week and was named to the All-Tournament Team at three different events. Smith was fourth on the team with 2.24 kills per set and also ranked second with 1.16 blocks per set and third with a .276 hitting percentage. Smith is the first player in CU history to earn All-Region recognition as a freshman.

Xavier's Abbey Bessler was named East Region Freshman of the Year, while American's Barry Goldberg was honored as East Region Coach of the Year after leading the Eagles to their first Sweet 16.

Players and coaches honored by the AVCA in today's announcement will be eligible for a spot on the All-America team, which will be announced next week.

Creighton finished the 2013 season last Saturday with a 23-9 overall record while winning an NCAA Tournament match for the third time in four seasons. The Bluejays are coached by Kirsten Bernthal Booth.

2013 AVCA Division I All-Region Teams and Region Coaches of the Year
East Region
First Name    Last Name    School    Position    Year
Abbey    Bessler    Xavier University    OH    Fr.
Kelli Browning**    Creighton University    MB    Jr.
Romana    Kriskova    VCU    OH    So.
Kristyna    Lindovska    American University    OH    Jr.
Ashley    Neff***    Florida State University    MB    Sr.
Michelle Sicner    Creighton University    S    Jr.
Mo    Simmons    Clemson University    OH    Sr.
Natalia    Skiba    Northeastern University    L    Jr.
Alex    Smith    Xavier University    MB    Sr.
Aubree    Smith    Xavier University    S    Jr.
Erica    Stahl    Butler University    MB    Jr.
Vendula    Strakova    Hampton University    RS    Jr.
Elise    Walch    Florida State University    RS    Sr.
Nicole    Walch    Florida State University    OH    So.
Freshman of the Year:  Abbey Bessler, Xavier, OH
Coach of the Year:  Barry Goldberg, American

Honorable Mention
First Name    Last Name    School    Position    Year
Leah McNary    Creighton University    OH    Jr.
Morgan    Peterson    Butler University    S    Sr.
Silvi    Uattara    Syracuse University    OH    So.
Lauren Smith    Creighton University    MB    Fr.
Kendall    Polan    Yale University    S    Sr.
Belle    Obert    Butler University    OH    Jr.
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