WVWC’s Denison earns MEC All-Conference volleyball honors

BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. – The Mountain East Conference today announced its 2023 volleyball postseason awards and all-conference teams following a vote of the league’s head coaches.

Wheeling setter Karly Niesen was named the MEC Player of the Year for the second-consecutive season, while West Liberty’s Nyia Setla repeated as the league’s Libero of the Year. Notre Dame College outside hitter Sydney Bray was voted the league’s Freshman of the Year, and West Virginia State first-year head coach Hillary Hurley is the league’s Coach of the Year.

Niesen, a senior from Cincinnati, Ohio, led the league in assists (1,149) and assists per set (11.6) during the regular season. The setter also chipped in 62 kills, 50 total blocks, 12 aces and 288 digs during the 2023 season. She had a season-high 64 assists against Palm Beach Atlantic on Sept. 8 and turned in 15 performances of 40 assists or more. She also had 15 double-double performances on the year (assists/digs). Niesen ranks fourth nationally in assists per set this season.

Setla, a junior from Northville, Mich., had 573 digs and averaged 5.03 digs per set on the year to lead the Hilltoppers defensively. She also chipped in 110 assists and 37 services aces for the Hilltoppers this season. She had double-digit digs in all but one match this season and had 13 performances of 20 digs or more. She recorded a season-high 30 digs against Ashland on Sept. 1.

Bray, a right-side from Woodstock, Ga., led the league in kills per set (3.85) and points per set (4.54) as a freshman for Notre Dame College. On the year, Bray recorded 343 kills, 245 digs, 49 blocks, 27 aces and 20 assists. She reached double-digit kills in 19 matches this season, including a season-high 25 against Glenville State on Oct. 13. She also recorded 10 double-double (kills/digs) performances on the season. Bray ranks 29th in the country in kills per set and 23rd nationally in points per set.

Hurley, in her first season leading the Yellow Jackets, led her team to a record of 24-4 overall and 14-1 in league play. West Virginia State won the MEC South Division Championship by a three-game margin and currently ranks sixth in the NCAA Atlantic Region Rankings.

In addition to the 2023 award winners, the league also announced it all-conference teams on Wednesday afternoon (listed below).

2023 MEC Individual Awards
Player of the Year: Karly Niesen (Wheeling)
Libero of the Year: Nyia Setla (West Liberty)
Freshman of the Year: Sydney Bray (Notre Dame)
Coach of the Year: Hillary Hurley (West Virginia State)
2023 All-MEC First Team
OHSage BearnsonCharleston
RSSydney BrayNotre Dame
SKarly NiesenWheeling
LNyia SetlaWest Liberty
OHJacklyn SimmsWest Virginia State
LJosie SkinnFairmont State
MHMady WintersWheeling
OHTylah YeomansWheeling
MH/RSDiamond’Nique YoungWest Virginia State
2023 All-MEC Second Team
OHJoey BorelleFairmont State
OHBeverly BraunFrostburg State
SKiersten EggletonWest Virginia State
OHRiley KindallWheeling
MHKatarzyna NiderlaGlenville State
RS/MHPia SelkeCharleston
RSEmma ShepherdCharleston
OHMeg WilliamsConcord
2023 All-MEC Honorable Mention
MH: Emily Denison (West Va. Wesleyan), Emma Ludwig (Fairmont State)
OH: Samantha Comer (Notre Dame)
OH/DS: Katelynn Fritz (West Liberty)
RS: Olivia McAtee (West Liberty)
S: Sarah Grainger (Glenville State), Maria Hernandez (Charleston), Dakoda Keni (West Liberty), Jayme Zoeckler (Notre Dame)
2023 MEC All-Freshman Team
RSSydney BrayNotre Dame
OHRiley HoffCharleston
SDakoda KeniWest Liberty
MHValencia WilderWest Virginia State
MHKatie WilkingWheeling
OHMeg WilliamsConcord
OHEllie ZuroFairmont State

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