KOKOMO, Ind. — The University of Rio Grande received two first-team selections and one second team honoree on the 2021 All-River States Conference Volleyball Team, which were announced Friday during the RSC Volleyball Championship at the Student Activities and Event Center.
The awards, which were voted on by the 13 RSC volleyball head coaches, included the All-RSC First & Second Teams, in addition to the individual awards for student-athletes and coaches and the RSC Champions of Character Team.
Representing Rio Grande on the first team were sophomore outside hitter Amanda Rarick (Canal Winchester, OH) and junior middle hitter Jess Youse (Pettisville, OH), while freshman setter Avery Huntzinger (Canal Winchester, OH) captured second team kudos.
Rarick finished with a team-best 339 kills, while Youse tallied 282 kills in addition to 111 blocks (35 solo, 76 assists). Rarick’s kill total ranked fourth in the RSC, while Youse was fourth among conference leaders in blocks and seventh in kills.
Huntzinger finished with 897 assists — a figure which ranked third in the league — and was second on the team with 21 service aces.
Rio Grande assistant coach Jordan Walker was also named RSC Assistant Coach of the Year. The Rio Grande, Ohio native and former RedStorm player is in her first year on the Rio coaching staff and was awarded for her impact on the program.
IU Kokomo senior middle hitter Erinn Adam highlighted the All-RSC First Team with her second consecutive RSC Player of the Year honor. Adam leads the RSC with a .365 attack percentage and 1.20 blocks per set. She has 332 kills for fourth in the conference.
IU East second-year freshman Reece Shirley was named the RSC Setter of the Year for the second time in as many seasons. She leads the conference with 9.34 assists per set and 932 total for the year.
IU Southeast junior Lexie Fisher was voted RSC Defender of the Year. The Grenadiers’ libero, Fisher has a conference-best 532 digs and 5.43 digs per set.
Midway (Ky.) University’s Aubry Koester was named RSC Freshman of the Year. An outside hitter, Koester leads the Eagles with 202 kills and was the only true freshman on the 14-member All-RSC First Team.
Other first team honorees included setter Kaley Lyons, middle hitter Sidney Gerig, libero Alyvia Smith and outside hitters Alysha Tullar and Lorelei Porter of IU Kokomo; outside hitter Jessica Swimm and middle hitter Teah Barrett Matthews of IU East; and St. Mary-of-the-Woods outside hitter Hannah Zuege.
Midway head coach Jonea Rima was voted RSC Coach of the Year. She led the Eagles to runner-up in the RSC West Division and a No. 2 postseason seed at 22-3 overall, 14-3 RSC.
The RSC Champions of Character Team was named with one player from each team being selected. The team member who best represents the NAIA’s five character values of respect, responsibility, integrity, servant leadership and sportsmanship was nominated by their head coach.
Rio Grande’s representative on the list was freshman defensive specialist Lauren Noland (Canal Winchester, OH).
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.