Trio Receives Top Honors from Big Sky Conference

Nov. 20, 2007

Three Eastern Washington University volleyball players earned All-Big Sky Conference honors on Tuesday (Nov. 20), as sophomore Hayley Hills was named to the first team, freshman Alysha Cook earned second team honors and junior Mandy Daniels was named the Libero of the Year. Daniels also earned honorable mention accolades.

Hills (Quesnel, B.C.), who was one of just two players to be unanimous selections (Sacramento State's Lindsay Haupt was the other), has recorded 4.41 kills per game so far this year, which not only is the third-highest average among Big Sky players this year but would place her fourth in the EWU single-season record book. Meanwhile, her total number of kills, 459, is nearing the top-five list for all-time Eastern players. Lizzy Mellor (2005) is fifth with 478, while Kim Exner sits fourth (484 in 1997) and third (492 in 1996).

The Correlieu Secondary graduate is also second on the Eagles in digs per game with 2.56, fourth in service aces per game with 0.21 and fifth in blocks per game with 0.43. Hills not only earned Co-Big Sky Player of the Week accolades on Oct. 22, but she was also named to the all-tournament team at each of the three preconference tournaments that Eastern participated in. These included the Sheraton Four Points Wildcat Classic, the PowerAde/Asics Classic and the Waikiki Beach Marriott Volleyball Classic.

Her best kill output came against Idaho State on Sept. 15, when she had 30, just four off the school record (set at 34 by Kim Exner against Portland on Sept. 6, 1996).

Cook (Kennewick, Wash.) earned Big Sky Conference Co-Player of the Week accolades after helping lead the Eagles to 3-0 sweeps of Boise State and Portland State on Nov. 8 and 10, respectively. For that week she averaged 4.17 kills and hit .333 (25-7-54). Cook also had 1.50 blocks per game. Against the Vikings, she had 15 kills, seven blocks and hit .353 (15-3-34). That block total is the fourth most in a match by an Eagle this year.

The Kennewick High School graduate has played well for Eastern Washington all season, as her 2.92 kills per game average is the second-highest on the team. She is also third on the squad in blocks per game with 0.74.

Daniels (Spokane, Wash.) has already clinched one single-season school record and is closing in on another in an incredible year for the libero. She has 4.93 digs per game, which is going to break the previous school mark of 4.62, held by Andrea Verdoljak who posted that average in 2005. Daniels' total dig total of 513 is just 27 off the school record of 540, also set by Verdoljak in her incredible 2005 campaign.

The University High School graduate has had 20+ dig totals on 14 occasions so far this season. Her most incredible dig total came against Sacramento State on Friday (Nov. 16), when she had 33 in a four-game match with the Hornets. Not only is that sum the most by an Eagle since Verdoljak had 34 on Oct. 11, 2005, but it is a school record for digs in a four-game match.

Daniels is the first Eastern player to ever earn sole honors as Libero of the Year (Verdoljak was named Co-Libero of the Year in 2004).

Hills, Cook, Daniels and the rest of the Eagles will play Northern Arizona in a Big Sky quarterfinal contest at 11:30 a.m. on Friday (Nov. 23) in Sacramento, Calif.

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