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Big Sky All-Conference awards

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Highlighted by senior setter Kennedy Kurtz being named the Big Sky Conference MVP and head coach Ruben Volta receiving league coach of the year accolades, Sacramento State was well represented on this year's conference awards sheet. Kurtz was one of four Sacramento State players to receive all-conference honors.

The Hornets won the Big Sky's regular season championship with a 15-1 league record, and will host the eight-team conference tournament today through Saturday. Sacramento State, the No. 1 seed, will play No. 8 Northern Colorado in a quarterfinal matchup tonight at 7 p.m.

Kurtz, who becomes the first Sacramento State MVP since middle blocker Lindsay Haupt accomplished the feat in 2007, was joined on the first team by outside hitters Shannon Boyle and Mikaela Nocetti. Middle blocker Lana Brown was named to the second team while Volta was named Big Sky Coach of the Year for the second time in three seasons.

Kurtz is now one of just six Sacramento State volleyball players to receive league MVP accolades since the Hornets joined the Big Sky in 1996, a list that includes Haupt (2005, 2007), Lisa Beauchene (2003), Tasman Dwyer (2001), Maureen Rafferty (1999) and Jill Haas (1996).

In addition, Kurtz was named to the first team for the second straight season. Boyle was named to the first team after being selected to the second team a year ago, and both Nocetti and Brown are all-conference selections for the first time in their careers. Sacramento State had three first team all-conference selections for the first time since 2006 (Haupt, Michelle Franz, Atlee Hubbard).

Volta, currently in his 10th season as head coach, was also named league coach of the year in 2015. Volta has guided this year's team to the program's first Big Sky regular season title since 2007. In addition, the team's 15-1 conference record ties for the program's best mark since joining the league. Sacramento State has posted at least 20 overall wins three straight seasons, and during that span, the program has combined for a 70-27 overall record and a 40-8 mark in Big Sky play.

Started all 32 matches this year and has now started all 128 of the Hornets' matches over her four seasons…a three-time all-conference selection, including second team as a sophomore and first team two years in a row…currently leads the nation with 1,453 assists…average of 11.18 assists per set ranks 23rd in the nation…also has averages of 0.84 kills, 0.38 aces, 2.51 digs and 0.63 blocks per set while hitting .352…a two-time Big Sky Offensive Player of the Week selection…has posted at least 50 assists on 12 occasions this year…ranks fourth in the league with 17 double-doubles…her 5,339 career assists are the second best mark in Big Sky Conference history and third best mark in school history.

A fourth-year senior, Boyle was named first team all-league after being named to the second team a year ago…a starter in all 32 matches this season, the six-rotation outside hitter is averaging 3.39 kills, 3.78 digs and 3.80 points per set…leads the Big Sky with 23 double-doubles…has over 15 kills on 10 occasions, including a career-best 28 vs. Bowling Green earlier this season…ranks second on the Hornets in both kills and digs per set…the kills are the ninth best mark in the Big Sky…needs just eight digs to record 500 for the season…joined the 1,000 kills/1,000 digs club earlier this year and currently has 1,060 career kills and 1,039 career digs…the 1,060 kills are the 21st best mark in Sacramento State history.

A junior, Nocetti is a six-rotation outside hitter that has started all 32 matches this season…currently has averages of 3.46 kills, 2.88 digs and 3.80 points per set…ranks second in the Big Sky with 21 double-doubles…averages 3.83 kills per set against Big Sky opposition, the fourth best mark in the conference…has posted double figures in kills in 13 straight matches heading into the Big Sky Tournament, and 28 times this season…also has tallied double digits in digs 23 times…named the Big Sky Offensive Player of the Week on Oct. 16…her 450 total kills are the most on the team and the 375 digs are the third best mark…bumped her averages to 3.83 kills and 3.02 digs per set during league play.

A starter in all 32 matches, Brown has enjoyed a breakout season in which she is averaging 2.35 kills and 1.12 blocks per set while hitting a team-best .344…the hitting percentage and blocks are both currently the seventh best marks in the Big Sky…in conference matches, she is averaging 2.24 kills and 1.16 blocks while hitting .345…in conference play, the blocks are the fourth best mark in the league, and the hitting percentage ranks ninth…has recorded double figures in kills on 18 occasions, including a career-best 19 at St. John's…has tallied double figures in blocks in two of her last three matches, including 11 vs. Portland State, and 10 at Weber State…has hit at least .400 on 12 occasions.

For information on this week's Big Sky Tournament, please click here.