Wyoming's Smith Garners MWC Co-Freshman of the Year Honors

Nov. 18, 2004

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

The All-Mountain West Conference Volleyball awards as selected by the league's eight head coaches were announced yesterday in conjunction with the start of the Mountain West Conference Volleyball Championship in Fort Collins, Colo. The championship begins today (Thursday, November 18) and runs through Saturday, November 20, at Moby Arena on the Colorado State University campus.

Colorado State senior Melissa Courtney was named Player of the Year, while UNLV's Maria Aladjova and Wyoming's Rachel Smith were voted Co-Freshmen of the Year. Utah's Beth Launiere collected her first-ever MWC Coach of the Year honor.

Courtney, a native of Lakewood, Calif., earned her second straight player of the year honor guiding the Rams to a 13-1 record in conference play, and a share of their fifth consecutive MWC regular season crown. Courtney owns the MWC season record for assists with 693 (conference matches 2002) and leads the MWC with 13.64 assists per game this season. She also averages 0.31 service aces and 2.33 digs per game.

UNLV outside hitter Maria Aladjova, from Sophia, Bulgaria, earned a share of MWC Freshman accolades after ranking third in the MWC in kills per game (3.73), tallying a hitting percentage of .230 and averaging 0.72 digs per game. She also reached double-figure kills in 18 of her first 19 matches this season.

Smith, an outside hitter from Thousand Oaks, Calif., ranked third in kills per game in conference matches (3.63), compiled a hitting percentage of .257 and averaged 2.40 digs per game.Utah head coach Beth Launiere was named MWC Coach of the Year, marking her first-ever award. She led the Utes to a 13-1 conference record and a share of the MWC regular-season crown. She has led her team to six straight NCAA Tournaments and is the all-time winningest coach at Utah with 297 career wins.

Colorado State had five student-athletes named to this year's all-conference team, while BYU and Utah each had four student-athletes honored and UNLV had one. Seven seniors, five juniors and two sophomores made up the 14-member all-conference squad.

BYU's Lauren Richards, Colorado State's Katie Jo Shirley-Cahoon (MB), Melissa Courtney (S) and Tess Rogers and Utah's Shelly Sommerfeldt were repeat selections from last year. BYU's Lindsy Hartsock, Lindsey Metcalf and Kim Wilson were joined on the squad by Colorado State's Dre Downs and Bri Frech, UNLV's Nicki King, and Utah's Connie Dangerfield, Lyndsey Henderson and Kelsie Kartchner as first-time honorees.

2004 All-Mountain West Conference Volleyball Team (*notes repeat selection)

Name School Class Position Hometown
Lindsy Hartsock BYU So. MB Inkom, Idaho
Lindsey Metcalf BYU Sr. OH Orem, Utah
Lauren Richards* BYU Jr. S Orem, Utah
Kim Wilson BYU Jr. OH Provo, Utah
Katie Jo Cahoon* CSU Sr. MB Hayden, Idaho
Dre Downs CSU Jr. RS/MB Clinton, Utah
Bri Frech CSU Sr. MB Eschwege, Germany
Tess Rogers* CSU Jr. OH Merino, Colo.
Nicki King UNLV Sr. S Phoenix, Ariz.
Lyndsey Henderson Utah Sr. MB Orem, Utah
Kelsie Kartchner Utah Sr. S Pleasant Grove, Utah
Shelly Sommerfeldt* Utah Jr. OH Orem, Utah

Setter - Melissa Courtney*, CSU, Sr. Lakewood, Calif.
Libero - Connie Dangerfield, Utah, So. Salt Lake City, Utah

Player of the Year:
Melissa Courtney, Sr., S, CSU

Co-Freshmen of the Year:
Maria Aladjova, OH, UNLV
Rachel Smith, OH, WYO

Coach of the Year:
Beth Launiere, Utah