Weisgarber named HCAC Freshman of the Year
November 11, 2015
BLUFFTON, Ohio - Following a third straight Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament championship, four standout Beaver volleyball players have earned the distinction of being called All-Heartland Conference. Voting by the head coaches prior to the tournament saw three Beavers named First Team All-HCAC, while Erin Weisgarber (Bolivar/Tuscarawas Valley) was selected Freshman of the Year. Seniors Jenny Brown (St. Marys/Memorial) and Kendra Parmenter (Grove City) along with junior MacKenzie McFarlin (Ashland) were all recognized on the First Team. In addition to being the Freshman of the Year, Weisgarber earned Honorable Mention accolades.
While many players struggle to keep up with expectations for their final season, Jenny Brown blew them out of the water with her finest year as a Beaver. And that is saying something for the only volleyball player in Bluffton history to be a First Team All-Heartland Conference selection for four straight years! Brown obliterated the previous single-season hitting percentage high of .318, set by Courtney Zimmerman in 2010, with her off the charts .353 this year. Her career hitting percentage of .292 is on the verge of overtaking Zimmerman's .293 mark heading into the NCAA Regionals against Wittenberg. Brown is currently fourth all-time with 1,265 career kills and her 2.61 kills per set is ninth all-time. At the net, Brown continued to fluster Bluffton's opponents, racking up 102 blocks which has her at 396 total as a Beaver, good for sixth all-time on the career list. Brown's 373 kills this season place her third in the conference, while her .353 hitting percentage was second to HCAC Most Valuable Player Courtney Crawford's .354 attacking percentage. Brown was a three time HCAC Offensive Player of the Week and she was named the HCAC Tournament Most Valuable Player.
Making her third appearance on the All-Heartland Conference First Team is senior Kendra Parmenter. The dominant outside hitter leads the Beavers with 381 kills which is second in the HCAC. Parmenter has been a source of consternation for Bluffton's opponents during the last four years and the Bluffton record books can firmly attest to that fact. She surpassed career kills leader Casey May against rival Defiance when she pounded kill number 1,328. Parmenter is currently at 1,488 career putdowns heading into the Wittenberg contest, just 12 away from an unheard of 1,500. Her .212 hitting percentage is 14th all-time while her 3.37 kills per set are tied for fifth on the single-season list. Parmenter also tops the career kills per set list with an average of 3.10 kills in her 480 total sets played. She was named to HCAC All-Tournament Team and earned HCAC Player of the Week honors following crucial wins over Defiance and Transylvania.
Junior MacKenzie McFarlin followed her 2014 HCAC Player of the Year campaign with a second consecutive First Team honor this season. Mcfarlin, along with Parmenter, gives Bluffton the most feared outside hitter combo in the conference as the two have combined for 713 kills this year (2,438 for their careers!). She is just 50 kills away from 1,000 for her career. McFarlin also got it done at the service line where her 35 aces were second to Abby Rohrbach (New Knoxville) who fired 37 aces. She helped Bluffton's cause with 183 digs and 28 total blocks in addition to her 24 assists. McFarlin is moving up the career list with her 950 kills (14th all-time) and 2.57 kills per set (10th all-time).
Freshman Erin Weisgarber took over as the setter this season after Sara Roth, who
was the First Team All-HCAC setter as a junior last year, went on a
semester abroad program at Bluffton. Weisgarber didn't miss a beat, piling up 1,185 assists, the fifth highest total in school history, en route to being the
named the HCAC Freshman of the Year as well as being selected to the HCAC All-Tournament Team. Her 10.49 assists per set (3rd on the Bluffton single-season list) are currently 20th in the nation and she averages nearly one assist more per set than her closest competitor in the conference. Weisgarber was also a legitimate threat to score when she was up front, putting down 105 kills while hitting at a .269 clip. She picked up 220 digs, fired 15 aces and was in on 37 total blocks. In addition to being named the Freshman of the Year, Weisgarber also garnered Honorable Mention All-HCAC recognition.
In conjunction with the All-HCAC selections, the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference also announced the All-HCAC Sportsmanship Team for the fall of 2014. Sophomore ALEXA MCCOURT (Toledo/Cardinal Stritch) was selected to the All-Sportsmanship Team from Bluffton. This award has been developed as part of a conference-wide sportsmanship initiative. Members of the All-HCAC Sportsmanship team are selected by the coaches and their teammates as individuals who demonstrate the ideals of positive sportsmanship both on and off the field/court of competition.
For the third consecutive season and the fourth time in the past seven years, Coach Yarnell and his Bluffton University volleyball team will play in the NCAA Regionals following their Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament championship win at host and #1 seed Hanover. The Beavers will travel nearly 400 miles for a date with #6 ranked Wittenberg University on Friday, November 13, 2015. The contest between Ohio foes will take place on the campus of #1 seed and #3 ranked Juniata College in Huntingdon, Penn.
This will be Bluffton's seventh appearance in the NCAA Tournament with four coming in the last seven years. Bluffton went three times between 1994 and 1997 before Coach Yarnell made his first trip in 2009 when the Beavers (27-6 overall) traveled to Hope College for a first-round matchup with Ohio Northern after rolling through the HCAC with a perfect 8-0 mark.
Bluffton followed that up with an improbable run to the tourney in 2013 when they became the first #6 seed to make it through the HCAC tournament with a 3-0 mark that culminated with a four-set victory over another surprise finalist, #5 seeded Hanover College. Bluffton fell to #10 Wittenberg (25-16, 25-19, 25-20) in the first round at Calvin College following their 2013 HCAC title.
The Beavers entered the 2014 HCAC tournament as the #2 seed and dispatched Hanover in three sets before taking down regular season champion Defiance for the second time of the season in the conference finals. Bluffton fell at #7 Washington (Mo.) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament by scores of 25-17, 25-15 and 25-16.
Continue to check the Bluffton University Volleyball schedule page for tournament updates, scores and recaps at http://www.bluffton.edu/athletics/volleyball/2015/schedule.html.