DAYTON, Tenn. – Prior to Wednesday’s Appalachian Athletic Conference Volleyball Tournament Opening Round matches in Kingsport, Tennessee at the MeadowView Marriott Conference Resort & Convention Center, the league announced the 2019 All-AAC Volleyball and individual awards.
Receiving Bryan’s lone All-Conference honor was junior defensive specialist/libero Rheagan Kean. Kean’s outstanding effort on the court earned her a spot on the All-AAC 2nd Team.
Representing Bryan on the All-Freshman Team was outside hitter/defensive specialist Gigi Ford. Earning the title of AAC Champions of Character Team for the second consecutive year was opposite Paige Randolph.
Eleven other Lions were recognized because of their efforts in the classroom, earning the title of All-Academic team, which was the most of any other AAC school.
Kean’s remarkable play for the Lions this season helped her in earning five AAC Defender of the Week awards. Out of the 12 weekly editions for conference volleyball awards on the year, Kean has been the most constant defender to make the list amongst her fellow AAC competitors. The Chattanooga native led the conference in both total digs and digs per set, bringing national attention to Bryan volleyball ranking 2nd in the country in total digs (789) and 4th in digs per set (6.52).
As a freshman, Ford compiled 302 total kills and 2.58 kills per game, which is second highest on the team. She led the team with 46 service aces, recorded 408 digs which were only second to Kean, put up 11 solo blocks, and aided in 25 blocking assists for a total of 36 blocks.
Bryan finished the regular season 20-12 overall and 13-7 in AAC play, good enough for third in the north division standings and a No. 5 seed in the conference tournament. Placing first in the north division was Milligan College (Tenn.), earning them the No. 3 seed in the conference tournament, followed by Union College (Ky.) in the No. 4 spot. From the south division, Reinhardt University (Ga.) leads the conference overall and sits in the No. 1 seed entering the tournament. Behind them is Point in the No. 2 seed.
Winning the conference individual awards were Milligan College’s Kellee Geren who was named Player of the Year and Setter of the Year, St. Andrews University’s (N.C.) Karina Lozada who was Libero of the Year, Columbia International University’s (S.C.) Megan Lung who was Freshman of the Year, and Reinhardt University’s Brian Goodhind who was honored as Coach of the Year.
To be voted to the AAC Champions of Character Team, an individual must represent the five core values of the NAIA Champions of Character program: integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship, and servant leadership. One player from each team is selected, and it was Randolph who most represented these values for the Bryan squad.
The Lions had eleven members make the All-Academic Team: Rebecca Camacho, Rheagan Kean, Jennifer Keck, Macenzie Krause, Megan Malone, Anna Owens, Emily Peterson, Sidney Pierce, Paige Randolph, Jaleigh Rogan, and Janie Smith. Bryan led the conference with eleven players selected, followed by Truett McConnell University (Ga.) and Point University (Ga.) with ten, respectively. These awards are presented to all student-athletes who excel in the classroom. Nominees must be an active member and student-athlete of the varsity team, be a sophomore or upperclassman, and attain a grade point average of 3.25 or higher.
Bryan opens up tournament play on Thursday, Nov. 14 at 5pm against Union, who stands at 18-19 overall and 15-5 in AAC action.
For the complete list of 2019 AAC volleyball awards, click here.