Nov. 19, 2009
TOLEDO, Ohio-The Ohio volleyball team was bestowed the Mid-American Conference's top two honors and four spots on the league's first team Thursday night during the conference's awards banquet in Toledo.
Senior Ellen Herman was named MAC Player of the Year for the second consecutive season, the first to do since Ohio's Laura Hageman did so in 2003 and 2004. The Bobcats have captured league MVP honors in seven of the past eight seasons. Head Coach Ryan Theis was also named MAC Coach of the Year, the fifth time in the last seven seasons that Ohio has claimed that award.
"It was an honor to be voted Coach of the Year by the league's head coaches," said Theis. "A special thanks goes to (asst.) Kyle (Weindel), (asst.) Meghan (Keck), (asst.) Jenny (Manz Theis) and athletic trainer Kelly Hockenburger."
Herman, a Toledo native, is currently sixth in the nation in points per set (5.25) and eighth in kills per set (4.69). The 6'1 outside hitter, who is also Ohio's all-time leader in kills and points, is second on the team in digs per set (2.4) and is averaging 0.52 blocks per set.
Theis has powered the Bobcats (23-5, 15-1 MAC) to yet another MAC regular season title, amassing a 28-4 league mark over his first two seasons in Athens. Under his watch this season, Ohio led the MAC in hitting percentage, opponent hitting percentage, assists, kills, blocks, match won-lost percentage, hitting percentage by opponents, kills by opponents, assists by opponents, aces by opponents, blocks by opponents and digs by opponents. Under Theis, the Bobcats are 42-3 when hitting .200 or better, and 34-4 when holding opponents under the .200 mark.
Senior Meghan Simons and juniors Sue Jacobi and Michelle Jantsch joined Herman in collecting All-MAC first team honors.
Simons finished the regular season ranked 25th nationally in blocks per set (1.31) and 91st in hitting percentage (.332). A 2008 first team selection, Simons (Lancaster, Ohio) proved to be both an offensive and defensive threat at her middle blocker position this season.
Jacobi ranked fourth in hitting percentage (.334) in league contests and eighth overall in kills per set (3.22) and points per set (3.66). The Louisville, Ky. native also led Ohio in solo blocks with 12.
Jantsch, a native of Mission Hills, Kansas, led the league in assists per set (11.63). Jantsch was the quarterback, of sorts, for the Ohio offense, which had the highest team hitting percentage (.308) in the conference since 1985 and one of the top five in conference history. With Jantsch's help, Ohio averaged 14.92 kills per set.
"It was terrific to see four of our players get on first team, including Ellen as Player of the Year," Theis said. "It was such an honor to coach this group - we hope to keep playing for as long as possible. The MAC put on a terrific banquet and we thank Jeff Bacon and his staff for it."
Ohio will face eighth-seeded Ball State in the MAC Quarterfinals Friday at 4:30 p.m.