Regular Season Champion Pioneers Dominate NEC Volleyball Postseason Awards

Complete NEC Postseason Release (PDF)

Fairfield, CT  Courtney Kidd-Kadlubek (Santa Barbara, CA) was named the 2010 Northeast Conference Player and Setter of the Year at the annual awards banquet on the eve of the NEC Tournament.  Dianis Mercado (Vega Baja, Puerto Rico) was voted as the league's Rookie of the Year after a stellar freshman season.  Elise Sage (Greenwood Village, CO) joins Kidd-Kadlubek and Mercado on the All-NEC first team as the sophomore middle hitter led the NEC in hitting percentage.  Head coach Rob Machan won his second consecutive coach of the year honor after leading Sacred Heart to its first regular season league championship and setting a school record with 27 wins in 2010. 

Kidd-Kadlubek was unanimously voted to receive both awards in a season that saw her lead the conference's most efficient attack.  The senior captain ranks seventh in the NCAA, and tops in the league, with 11.87 assists per set.  Kidd-Kadlubek has been the foundation of the SHU offense for four seasons, holding the school record for assists with 4,510 and counting. 

Mercado owned the Molten/NEC Rookie of the Week award in 2010, getting six of the total 12 nods.  The powerful outside hitter ranked first on the team and third in the conference with 3.51 kills per set.  Mercado also chipped in on defense, registering 16 double-doubles in her freshman season.  The Puerto Rico native had her hottest stretch from September 11 to October 16, tallying double-digit kills in 14 of 15 matches.

Sage rounded out the Pioneer contingent on the All-NEC first team as the Pioneers most efficient attacker this season.  The six-foot middle player led the league with a .372 hitting percentage and was even more dangerous against conference opponents, swinging .437.  This year Sage registered 15 kills on six occasions and twice went over the 20 mark.  Sage earned four Molten/NEC Player of the Week awards in 2010 and was a second team selection last season.

Junior Jessica Colberg (Long Beach, CA) and sophomore Johanna Ovsenek (London, Ontario) also took home hardware, earning spots on the All-NEC second team.    Colberg, the most critical piece to the SHU roster according to head coach Rob Machan, led the Pioneers and ranked sixth in the league with 4.03 digs per set.  The junior libero proved was the key to the SHU defense that held opponents to a league best .106 hitting percentage in 2010.  Ovsenek boasted the fourth best hitting percentage in the conference, hitting at a .323 pace.  The 5-11 middle hitter recorded double digit kills on 11 occasions.
 
NEC Coach of the Year Rob Machan leads the top seeded Pioneers into the NEC Tournament this weekend in search of the program's first trip the NCAA tournament.  Semifinal matches are slated for Saturday, November 20 at 4:00 and 6:30 pm with the championship match slated for 3:00 pm on Sunday, November 21.  Sacred Heart takes on #4 Central Connecticut State in the first game of the tournament at 4:00 pm tomorrow.