November 27, 2008

Hills Named Big Sky Player of the Year

Nov. 27, 2008

Hayley Hills of the Eastern Washington University volleyball team has been named the Most Valuable Player of the Big Sky Conference after an outstanding season for the outside hitter. Chenoa Coviare, a middle blocker, earned mention to the second team. Receiving honorable mention accolades were Alysha Cook, Ashley Hamilton and Mandy Daniels.

Hills becomes the fifth Eagle in school history to earn Big Sky MVP honors, following Keva Sonderen (2004), Janelle Ruen (2002), Kim Exner (1998 and 1997) and Juli Argotow (1989). She has had an impressive season and is averaging 4.56 kills per set, an average that leads the conference and ranks her eighth in the NCAA Division I ranks.

The junior has posted five of the six best kill performances by any Big Sky player this year. Her high of 30 came in a 3-1 win over Idaho State on Oct. 23. It not only tied for the second-best total in school history but is also the only 30-kill performance from a Division I player this year.

Coviare has had a solid year, as well. Offensively, she is hitting at a .253 clip (213-91-483), while, on the defensive end, the sophomore had an average of 1.05 blocks per set. She ranks sixth and fourth in the league in those two respective categories, as well as 106th nationally in blocks per set.

Cook has been an all-around solid player for Eastern Washington. She is hitting at a .223 clip (244-109-606) and has recorded 0.79 blocks per set and 0.45 digs per stanza.

Hamilton is averaging 9.80 assists per set, the fifth-highest average in the league. She is also helping the team tally 12.94 assists per set, the 24th-highest average nationally.

Daniels has had some amazing matches this year, including a 34-dig output on Friday (Nov. 21), a pivotal 3-1 road win over Sacramento State. That mark is tied for the second-highest dig total in school history. Her career average of 4.45 digs per set is also on pace to set the school record.

This season marks the 12th-straight season at least two Eagles have been honored on All-Big Sky teams. It marked the first time since 2003 five players were included on the first team, second team and honorable mention list.

The Eagles, the league's regular-season champion, play either Montana or Weber State in a Big Sky semifinal at 5:30 p.m. on Friday (Nov. 28). Portland State, by virtue of its 2007 regular-season title, is hosting the Championship this year.

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