On Wednesday, the Big East announced its 2018 postseason volleyball awards. There are no individual awards for Marquette this season, but four Golden Eagles made it onto the league’s all-conference teams. Seniors Anna Haak and Jenna Rosenthal were named to the 12 woman First Team along with junior Allie Barber, while sophomore Martha Konovodoff was included in the six woman Second Team. It is the third straight First Team honors for both Barber and Rosenthal and both women were included in the list of seven unanimous choices.
Here’s the league office’s writeup on the team as a whole relative to their honors:
Marquette, the two-seed in the BIG EAST Volleyball Championship, moved up to a program-best AVCA Coaches Poll ranking, coming in at No. 16 this week. The Golden Eagles claim three spots on the all-conference first team. Last year’s Player of the Year, Allie Barber, was a unanimous pick, along with teammate Jenna Rosenthal. Anna Haak is the third Golden Eagle on the first team. Barber leads the league in kills (4.74) and points (4.96) per set. She is also second on the BIG EAST’s hitting percentage list at .375, while Rosenthal leads the category at a .434 clip. As a team, Marquette leads the league in three categories which include assists (14.17), hitting percentage (.319) and kills (15.38). The Golden Eagles are fourth in the country in aces per set, fifth in assists and kills per set and eighth in hitting percentage.
And here’s how the Marquette press release discussed the women. First Barber:
Barber led the BIG EAST with 4.74 kills per set in BIG EAST matches and had the second-highest hitting percentage behind teammate Rosenthal, at a .371 clip in league matches. She owns three of the top-five highest kill records in three-set matches this season, including 20 kills in a sweep at Butler. Of Marquette’s 15 conference victories this season, 14 of those were straight set sweeps.
Haak earns her first major BIG EAST accolade in her final season as she ranked 12th in the BIG EAST with 2.90 kills per set in conference matches and collected 3.12 digs per set. She also served 15 aces in the BIG EAST season. At Butler, Haak totaled 22 digs, which is the second-most in a three-set match this season.
Rosenthal ends her final BIG EAST season as a unanimous selection to the first team and led the league with a .434 hitting percentage, while turning in 2.72 kills per set and 0.92 blocks. She tallied eight blocks in a sweep over DePaul, which is the second-highest total for blocks in just three sets this season, while her hitting mark of .706 against Xavier and .667 against Villanova rank second and third, respectively in the BIG EAST this season.
And finally, Konovodoff:
Konovodoff picks up her first post season award as a member of the All-BIG EAST second team. She was named BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week on four occasions this season and ranked fifth in digs with 4.85 per set. Konovodoff was fourth in league play with 0.40 service aces per set and out-dug the opponent libero in 13-of-17 league matches.
Let’s turn our attention to the individual awards, shall we? Three of them are expected and one is nonsense.
Player of the Year: Jaali Winters, Outside Hitter, Creighton
Libero of the Year: Amanda Sanabia, St. John’s
Freshman of the Year: Efrosini Alexakou, Outside Hitter, St. John’s
Coaching Staff of the Year: St. John’s
It’s that fourth one that annoys me. Yes, St. John’s finished in a tie for sixth in the preseason coaches poll, and yes, they’re the #3 seed in the conference tournament. It’s their first appearance in the conference tournament since The Reformation and first overall since 2012. I am not trying to take anything away from what the Johnnies and head coach Joanne Persico have accomplished this season.
Creighton’s undefeated. 18-0. They beat every single other team in the league, and they did so after being picked to finish second in the Big East this year. I understand why the coaches voted for the team that overachieved way more than anyone else and I understand why they opted to celebrate the team that made a big breakthrough this season. I get it. But I also hate that style of voting. Kirsten Bernthal Booth and her staff ran the table in the league. They’re the best coaching staff. End of discussion.
The other three votes were as expected, at least according to my awards picks. Sure, I had Konovodoff taking the Libero trophy, but I acknowledged that the votes could go in Sanabia’s direction. They did, and that’s fine.
Here’s the rundown on the all-league teams.
All-BIG EAST First Team
^ Bri Lilly, Butler, Sr., MB
^ Jaali Winters, Creighton, Sr., OH
^ Taryn Kloth, Creighton, Sr., OH
Madelyn Cole, Creighton, Jr., S
^ Symone Speech, Georgetown, Sr., MB
^ Allie Barber, Marquette, Jr., OH
Anna Haak, Marquette, Sr., OH
^ Jenna Rosenthal, Marquette, RS-Sr., MB
Efrosini Alexakou, St. John’s, Fr., OH
^ Erica Di Maulo, St. John’s, Jr., S
Amanda Sanabia, St. John’s, Jr., L
Abby Thelen, Seton Hall, Sr., OH
All-BIG EAST Second Team
Megan Ballenger, Creighton, Jr., MB
Alyssa Sinnette, Georgetown, Sr., OH
Martha Konovodoff, Marquette, So., L
Allison Impellizeri, Providence, Sr., MB
Clare Delaplane, Villanova, Fr., OH
Regan Lough, Villanova, Jr., L
I hit on five of my six all-league picks in terms of the First Team, missing only on Konovodoff because she didn’t end up as Libero of the Year. I’m kind of surprised to see Di Maulo get a unanimous vote over Madelyne Cole when it comes to the two setters on the squad, and I would have figured that Alexakou’s high ranking on the points and kills charts would have propelled her to a unanimous choice, especially after the year that the Red Storm had. Oh well.