LEWISTON, Idaho - Carroll College's Christina Smetana, a 5-foot-10 senior middle blocker from Helena, Mont., was named the Frontier Conference's Volleyball Player of the Year while her coach Maureen Boyle and Lewis-Clark State College's Jennifer Greeny shared Coach of the Year honors, FC Commissioner Kent Paulson announced during a conference tournament social at the Lewis-Clark State College Activity Center on Thursday night.
Also, Westminster's 5-5 junior Tahnie Blymiller, from Taylorsville, Utah, was selected the Libero of the Year, while teammate Talita Kresser, a 6-1 senior middle blocker from Sao Paulo, Brazil, was chosen the Newcomer of the Year. The final individual award, the Freshman of the Year, went to Great Falls 6-2 outside hitter Kelsey Vanuden, who is from Thousand Oaks, Calif.
All eight conference teams were in attendance for the tournament social, which is a prelude to the Frontier Conference Tournament that begins on Friday. The single-elimination tournament features four first-round matches on Friday with the semifinals and championship match on Saturday.
Great Falls, which tied with Carroll and Lewis-Clark State for the regular-season title with 11-3 conference records, had the most representatives on the all-conference First Team with three of the 12 players. LCSC, Carroll, Westminster, and Rocky Mountain had two players each, while Montana Tech had the final player.
Great Falls was represented by Tosha Nunes, a 6-1 sophomore outside hitter from Fallon, Nev., Cali Buck, a 6-0 senior middle blocker from Choteau, Mont., and Jennifer Petersen, a 5-8 senior setters from San Jose, Calif.
Joining them on the first team from Lewis-Clark State was senior 5-10 outside hitter Anile Clemente from Sao Paulo, Brazile, and senior Dani Barrett, a 6-2 middle blocker from Port Angeles, Wash. Clemente was the conference's Player of the Year last season and was co-Player of the Year as a sophomore.
Carroll's two representatives were Smetana and Sammy Priddy, a 6-0 junior outside hitter from Missoula, Mont., while Westminster was represented by Blymiller and Erika Evans, s 5-10 junior outside hitter from Layton, Utah.
Rocky Mountain was represented by Sara Brunner, a 5-9 sophomore middle blocker from Redcliff, Alberta, and Kristin Barott, a 5-11 sophomore setter from West Richland, Wash.
The final player on the First Team is Montana Tech's Katie Daly, a 6-0 junior middle blocker from Butte, Mont.
Smetana led the conference in kills, averaging 3.3 per set, and has 399 kills on the season. She also led the conference in blocks at 1.3 per set and 153 on the season. Her block total and blocks per game average ranked 16th in the NAIA, while her .368 hitting percent ranks No. 19.
Name to the conference's Second Team were Maureen Frauenholt, a 5-8 sophomore libero from Carroll; Kaylee Bossert, a 6-0 junior middle blocker from Montana State-Northern; Lauryn Herrick, a 5-11 sophomore outside hitter from Lewis-Clark State; Vanuden of Great Falls; Jillian Stanek, a 6-1 sophomore middle blocker from Rocky Mountain; and Jodi Hogart, a 5-7 senior setter from Montana Tech.
Joining Vanuden on the All Freshman squad were Allyse Cruise and Shersteen Cline of Montana Tech, Megan Evans of Westminster, Stephanie Shumaker of Lewis-Clark State, and Jamie Elenbaas of Rocky Mountain.
The awards were voted on by the eight conference head coaches.
Each head coach also announced a Champion of Character award winner from the team. The winner best exemplifies the five characteristics of respect, integrity, responsibility, sportsmanship, and servant leadership, which compose the core values of the program. The winners were Katie St. John of Carroll, Barrett of LCSC, Jordan Merrill of Montana State-Northern, Janet Friesz of Montana Tech, Theresa Bennett of Montana Western, Buck of Great Falls, Ashley Welborn of Rocky Mountain, and Evans of Westminster.
The Co-Coach of the Year honor marks the third straight time Greeny has won or shared the award, while Boyle won the award for the second time in her five years at the Saints' helm.
The pairings for the conference tournament are below.
All matches at the LCSC Activity Center
All times Pacific
G1: Noon - No. 1 Great Falls (11-3, 25-8) vs. No. 8 Montana Western (0-14, 4-17)
G2: 2 p.m. - No. 4 Rocky Mountain (8-6, 19-10) vs. No. 5 Westminster (6-8, 9-19)
G3: 6 p.m. - No. 2 Lewis-Clark State (11-3, 20-7) vs. No. 7 Montana State-Northern (4-10, 7-13)
G4: 8 p.m. - No. 3 Carroll (11-3, 25-8) vs. No. 6 Montana Tech (5-9, 11-16).
G5: 11 a.m. - G1 winner vs. G2 winner.
G6: 1 p.m. - G3 winner vs. G4 winner.
G7: 7 p.m. - G5 winner vs. G6 winner (championship)