SACRAMENTO, Calif. — After recently completing a career in which she was a three-time Big Sky Conference Libero of the Year, and two-time all-conference selection, senior Kristin Lutes added to her list of accomplishments by being named honorable mention all-Pacific Region by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA).
The Big Sky Conference and Sacramento State program career record holder with 2,355 digs, Lutes becomes the third Hornet in the last four years to earn all-region honors, joining Sandra Bandimere in 2004 and Lisa Beauchene in 2003. The Kent, Wash., native becomes the fourth Hornet to earn the award since the 1995 season (Jill Haas earned the honor in 1995).
The award caps a season for Lutes in which she was named Big Sky Libero of the Year, second team all-conference, Big Sky Player of the Week (Sept. 4), and all-tournament at the Sacramento State Invitational. Lutes ranks 10th in the nation with an average of 6.24 digs per game, and this year’s mark of 768 digs set a new Big Sky single-season record. Last year’s total of 707 digs for Lutes is the second-best mark in conference history.
Lutes was one of just two liberos named all-Pacific Region, as she joins USC’s Debora Seilhamer who received first team honors. The Pacific Region team consisted of 12 first team selections along with six others named honorable mention.
The Pacific Region is arguably the toughest in the nation as it contains many teams on the West Coast, including second-ranked Stanford, third-ranked Washington, fourth-ranked UCLA, sixth-ranked USC, 13th-ranked Cal, 14th-ranked San Diego, and 25th-ranked Santa Clara. Lutes was one of just four non Pac-10 student-athletes named all-Pacific Region.
Lutes was also named Big Sky Libero of the Year in 2003 and 2005, and probably would have earned the award in 2004 had she not missed 10 conference matches with a broken knuckle. She raised her digs per game every year of her career, from 3.98 in 2003, 4.93 in 2004, 5.66 in 2005 and 6.24 this season. She posted double figures in digs in 119 of a possible 129 matches during her career. That includes 51 matches with at least 20 digs.
This season, Lutes had at least 11 digs in all 36 matches, including a career-high tying 36 vs. San Francisco. Her 30 digs at Montana State were one shy of the school record for a three-game match. Lutes had 277 more digs than any other player in the Big Sky, and she had 22 matches with at least 20 digs. Besides being the Sacramento State career record holder in digs, she also owns the first, second and 10th best single-season marks for digs in program history.
Sacramento State’s season recently came to a close as the team lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to second-seeded Stanford last Saturday at Maples Pavilion. The Hornets (30-6) won both the Big Sky Conference’s regular season and conference championships to earn an automatic berth into the Big Dance. The 30 victories for the Hornets were the most since the 1995 season, and the team has now won either the Big Sky’s regular season and/or tournament championships each of the last 10 years.