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Volleyball Lady ‘Cats left out of MEC postseason honors

BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. — The Mountain East Conference today announced its all-conference teams and top honorees for the 2021 season with West Virginia State’s Jenna Dufresne earning Player of the Year honors and Wheeling’s Audrey Francis being selected as the league’s Libero of the Year. Wheeling’s Mady Winters was named the MEC Freshman of the Year, and WVSU’s Kris Kern was tabbed as the Coach of the Year.

Dufresne, a senior from Bedford, Ind., earned Player of the Year honors after ranking among the league leaders in multiple categories and helping WVSU to a second-straight South Division title. She ranks eighth in the country with 4.34 kills per set, and contributes 4.68 points per set — 12th-best in the nation. She hit .312 on the year and also had 41.0 blocks and contributed 223 digs (2.39 digs/set) for the Yellow Jackets.

Francis is the Libero of the Year for an astounding fifth-straight season. The Sidney, Ohio, native leads the league in both total digs (696) and digs per set (6.76), both of which rank among the top five in the country. She had double-digit digs in all but one match this season, including nine matches of 30 or more digs. The two-time MEC Defensive Player of the Week this season is the NCAA Division II active leader in career digs (3,366).

Kern is the MEC Coach of the Year for the first time after leading West Virginia State to the South Division title. The Yellow Jackets have a 27-3 record this fall, including a 15-1 mark in conference play, and are the hosts for the MEC Tournament for a second-straight year. In his fifth season at WVSU, Kern has helped overhaul a program that had 21 wins combined in the three seasons prior to his arrival and has led them 97 wins during his tenure. He has also put WVSU in contention for NCAA postseason play with the Yellow Jackets being ranked sixth in the most recent Atlantic Region rankings.

In addition to the individual awards, the MEC also released its all-conference teams. Fairmont State, West Virginia State and Wheeling each had two first-team selections, while Davis & Elkins, Frostburg State and West Liberty placed one member on the first team.

West Virginia Wesleyan did not have a player earn postseason honors.

The All-MEC teams are selected by a vote of the league’s coaches.

2021 MEC Individual Awards
Player of the Year: Jenna Dufresne (W.Va. State)
Libero of the Year: Audrey Francis (Wheeling)
Freshman of the Year: Mady Winters (Wheeling)
Coach of the Year: Kris Kern (W.Va. State)
2021 All-MEC First Team
OHBeverly BraunFrostburg State
MBMadison ClaytonWest Liberty
OHJulia DiPaolaFairmont State
OHJenna DufresneW.Va. State
LAudrey FrancisWheeling
SLilianna KeberFairmont State
OHMacie MagallonDavis & Elkins
MHGrace MartinW.Va. State
RSLexi ReinertWheeling
2021 All-MEC Second Team
OHSage BearnsonCharleston
OHGabrielle BullockW.Va. State
MHMcKenzie CarpenterCharleston
RSMolly JandrisDavis & Elkins
SMaria HernandezCharleston
LAmelia KaeberleinNotre Dame
SKarly NiesenWheeling
LNyia SetlaWest Liberty
2021 All-MEC Honorable Mention
S: Brilane Manchego (DE)
S/RS: Kirsten Bogunovich (WLU)Kiersten Eggleton (WVSU)
MB: Lexi Smith (WU), Mady Winters (WU)
OH: Keara Lewis (FAIR), Hannah Steele (CU)
OPP/RS: Kelsey Palmer (NDC)
2021 MEC All-Freshman Team
OHRiley CudnikWest Liberty
DS/LKarli EdwardsFairmont State
RSReagan PhillipsCharleston
MBGracjana RozanskaDavis & Elkins
OHHannah SteeleConcord
MBAJ ThompsonFrostburg State
MBMady WintersWheeling

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