HAUPT, STIDHAM AND BURKE RECEIVE ALL-CONFERENCE HONORS, HAUPT NAMED MVP FOR THE SECOND TIME
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Fresh off winning a share of the Big Sky Conference’s regular season championship, three Sacramento State volleyball players received either first or second team all-conference honors, highlighted by senior middle hitter Lindsay Haupt being named league MVP for the second time of her career.
Seniors Haupt and outside hitter Missie Stidham were both named to the first team, and junior setter Rose Burke was named to the conference’s second team. Haupt was one of just two unanimous selections to the first team, and added to an already lofty trophy case that now includes two Big Sky MVP awards (2005, 2007), two Big Sky Tournament MVPs (2005-06) and three Big Sky all-academic awards (2004-06).
Haupt, who is one of five Sacramento State players to receive MVP honors since the team joined the Big Sky in 1996, becomes the first Hornet to receive the award multiple times. Haupt also becomes the first player in the Big Sky to earn league MVP honors twice since Eastern Washington’s Kim Exner in 1997 and 1998.
The Big Sky all-conference award was the first for Stidham, who transferred to Sacramento State prior to this season after spending her first three years at Saint Mary’s. Stidham was also named the Big Sky’s Newcomer of the Year, becoming just the second Hornet to receive the award. Burke, who is in her third season with the Hornets, was named all-conference for the first time of her career.
Haupt is currently enjoying the best season of her illustrious career at Sacramento State (2004-pres.). Among Big Sky leaders, the Etna, Calif., native is first in hitting percentage (.359), second in blocks (1.39 per game) and fourth in kills (3.66 per game). Her hitting percentage is 31 points better than any other player in the conference, and is the 45th best mark in the nation among all players from 325 Div. I teams.
She was named Big Sky Player of the Week three times this season, and was the only Hornet named all-tournament at all four preseason tournaments in which the Hornets played. She has reached double figures in kills 29 times this season and her total of 1,309 career kills is the most by any middle hitter during the program’s Div. I history (1991-pres.). Coupled with Haupt’s Big Sky Freshman of the Year award in 2004, she now joins former Hornet Kristin Lutes as the only two players in conference history to win an individual conference award three times. Lutes was named the league’s libero of the year in 2003, 2005 and 2006.
Stidham currently has 626 kills, which is the third best single-season mark in Sacramento State history, and her average of 5.17 kills per game is the second best mark in the conference and ninth best in the nation. She easily leads the Big Sky with 28 double-doubles (kills and digs), which are six more than any other player in the conference. The Fresno, Calif., native, who also became the first player in Sacramento State history to garner AVCA National Player of the Week honors earlier this season, tallied 34 kills this past Saturday at Portland State, the most by a Big Sky player this season.
Stidham is also second on the Hornets and fifth in the conference with an average of 4.45 digs per game. The powerful outside hitter has tallied double figures in kills in all but two matches this season, and has 14 matches with at least 20 kills. In addition, her 54 aces are the most in the Big Sky and tied for the 10th best mark in Hornet single-season history. She dominated Big Sky competition to the tune of 5.68 kills and 4.40 digs per game to go along with a .274 hitting percentage.
Burke, who has started every match this season as the Hornets’ setter, leads the Big Sky with an average of 12.49 assists per game, a mark which is also 45th best in the nation. She is averaging almost a full assist more than any other player in the conference - Portland State’s Dominique Fradella is second with 11.59.
Burke has set up a Hornet offense that currently ranks first in the Big Sky in both kills (16.29 per game) and hitting percentage (.237). The Gainesville, Fla., native has 24 matches with at least 40 assists, and has 10 matches with double figures in digs, including a career-high 22 against Weber State. Her 10 double-doubles are tied for the 10th best mark in the Big Sky. Burke is also averaging 0.73 blocks per game, the third best mark on the team.
Sacramento State (26-7, 13-3) will host the Big Sky Tournament this Friday-Saturday, Nov. 23-24. The Hornets, who are the tournament’s No. 2 seed, will receive a first round bye and play the highest remaining seed in the tournament semifinals on Friday at 7:30 p.m. The winner of Saturday’s championship match (7:00 p.m.) will receive an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament, a place the Hornets have been five straight years and nine of the last 10. With the league’s co-regular season championship in hand, Sacramento State has now won either the Big Sky’s regular season and/or tournament championship each of the last 11 years.