Lively was also tabbed to the NEWMAC First Team along with senior libero Heidi Yohe. Teammates Aylene Ilkson and Bethany Stosz were honored for their play this season with second-team honors.
Lively becomes the first Springfield women’s volleyball player to win the NEWMAC Player of the Year since Alesia Vaccari won the award in 2004. The Royalston, Mass. native has been an impact player at the net all year for the Pride as she has pounded out 497 kills, averaging just over four per game. In the seven tournaments’ the Pride competed in this season, she was named to the All-Tournament team in every single one, and was named the MVP twice. She was also selected as the NEWMAC and ECAC Player of the week on two occasions.
Yohe, a product of Deer Park, Wash. made the switch from the Pride’s opposite hitter to it’s libero and didn’t miss a beat as she picked up first-team honors. The senior sits second on the team in digs with 488 and leads the team in aces with 63. One of the Pride’s primary passers, she owns a serve reception percentage of .956 after receiving 593 serves this season.
Ilkson caps off her illustrious career at Springfield with second-team honors for the second-straight season. The senior co-captain was a true leader this season as she made her impact felt all over court. Ilkson will finish her career third all-time in SC history in digs, and has led the team with 509 this season. A primary passer for the Pride, the Baldwin, N.Y. native owns a reception percentage of .933, receiving 683 serves this season. She is third on the team with 260 kills as well as an outside hitter.
Stosz, last season’s NEWMAC Rookie of the Year, had another great season for the Pride as she garnered second-team honors for the second time. The Amherst, Mass. native has continued to make her presence felt as she continued to shatter blocking records at Springfield, breaking her record she set last season for block assists in a season with 106 this year. She has also posted a team-best 56 solo blocks as she leads the team with 160 total blocks in 2008. She added 197 kills as one of the Pride’s middle blockers.
With Giaquinto picking up Co-Rookie of the Year honors, this marks the second-straight season that the Pride had the top first year in the conference after Stosz was honored last season. Appearing in 98 games, the Massapequa, N.Y. product had a solid first year at opposite hitter. Finishing with 117 kills and 57 total blocks, Giaquinto was a major factor in why the Pride posted over two blocks a game throughout the season.
For Dearing, this marks the first time since 2003 he has been honored by the conference as it’s top coach. Under his direction, the Pride has racked up 31 wins thus far and is currently riding a 17-match winning streak. Heading into this weekend’s NCAA Regional, Springfield sits as the top team in the New England region.