Four Hilltoppers recognized by AVCA
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -
Lauren Matthews was named the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) South Region Player of the Year, for the third time in her career on The Hill, in addition to three Hilltoppers earning All-Region status and a fourth collecting honorable mention recognition.
Matthews, along with Paige Briggs landed an All-Region spot for the fourth-straight season, while redshirt-freshman Callie Bauer collected her first AVCA All-Region honor. Katie Isenbarger landed Honorable Mention All-Region for the second time in her career.
Having only become the only Hilltopper to ever repeat as an AVCA Region Player of the Year. Matthews also earned the honor following the 2019 and 2021 campaigns.
As the NCAA’s hitting percentage leader last season and 14th in the nation in hitting percentage at .406 in 2022, Matthews collected 467 kills (4.21 per set) on the season, marking her second all-time in WKU history with 1,882 kills in her career on The Hill. She is the top blocker in program history, stuffing 530 in her five seasons and averaged 1.03 blocks at the net in 2022. Matthews produced a career-high night with 30 kills on a .377 hitting clip and tied the school record with 13 blocks against No. 21 Rice. She was named the Conference USA Player of the Year for the third time in her career and tabbed C-USA First Team All-Conference honors for the fourth straight season. She has been named All-Region in 2019, 2020, and 2021 and named South Region Player of the Year in 2019 and 2021. She was named Honorable Mention All-American in 2019, Second Team All-American in 2020, and Third Team All-American in 2021.With Matthews’ Region Player of the Year honor, WKU Volleyball has now seen a player win the award five of the last six seasons, beginning with Alyssa Cavanaugh in 2017. Matthews also collected Conference USA Player of the Year honors this season, while earning First Team All-Conference and All-Tournament Team for the fourth-straight season.
Briggs has collected All-Region, First Team All-Conference and All-Tournament Team recognition for the third-consecutive season as well. Briggs is hitting .324 for the season which ranks third in the nation among outside hitters. She is third in the league in kills/set (3.77) and 3rd in points/set (4.47). She is one of the most complete players in the country averaging 2.40 digs per set, totaled 58 blocks (.52 per set), earned 43 service aces, along with a 2.3 (3.0 scale) passing average while passing two in every rotation as a six rotation player. She was named C-USA First Team All-Conference for the third consecutive season. Briggs was also named Honorable Mention All-American in 2020. Briggs was also the AVCA South Region Player of the Year for the 2020-21 campaign in the spring of 2021, and South Region Freshman of the Year in 2019.
Bauer set her team to the second-highest hitting percentage in the nation at .318 on the season. The Hudson, Mich. native was the conference leader in assists per set in all matches with 11.15, totaling 1171 in her first season as WKU’s starting setter. She ranks 12th nationally in overall assists per set, 24th nationally in total assists, and has 1.77 digs per set through the season. Bauer completed the only triple-double in Conference USA this season (10 kills,10 digs, 39 assists) against Northern Kentucky. She was named C-USA Freshman of the Year, C-USA First Team All-Conference and was named to the C-USA All-Freshman Team.
Isenbarger also earned Second Team All-Conference for the third-consecutive season and was tabbed to Honorable Mention All-Region for her efforts for the second time on The Hill. She hit .363 in her fifth-year campaign in 110 sets, while picking up 1.23 blocks a set which ranks 48th in the nation and first in college volleyball for middle hitters. Isenbarger picked up a season-high 13 kills on 19 swings with no errors, good for a .684 hitting clip against North Texas in the C-USA Tournament Semifinal. She was named C-USA Second Team All-Conference for the third consecutive season and was named All-Region in 2020.
Bauer, Briggs, and Isenbarger were all named to Conference USA’s volleyball All-Academic Team this season for their efforts in the classroom and on the court.
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