McFarlin and Mohler headline All-HCAC selections
November 9, 2016
BLUFFTON, Ohio - Following a fourth straight Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament championship, four Beaver volleyball players have earned the distinction of being named All-Heartland Conference. Voting by the head coaches prior to the tournament concluded with four Beavers selected First Team All-HCAC, including Most Valuable Player MacKenzie McFarlin (Ashland) and Defensive Player of the Year honors for junior Sydney Mohler (Lima/Central Catholic). Senior Lauren Weisgarber (Bolivar/Tuscarawas Valley) and sophomore sister Erin Weisgarber (Bolivar/Tuscarawas Valley) were also selected First Team All-Heartland Conference after helping the Beavers to an 8-1 mark in conference action for the second straight season.
Collecting a third straight First Team All-HCAC award, MacKenzie McFarlin put together a final campaign worthy of her second HCAC Player of the Year award in the past three seasons! McFarlin, the MVP of the HCAC regular season and conference tournament as a sophomore, earned Heartland Conference Player of the Week honors twice in 2016 making it four times for her career. She recently surpassed 1,300 career kills, taking over at number two on the all-time list (1352) after passing Casey May's 1327 which topped Bluffton until Kendra Parmenter finished her career with 1501 last season. Her 2.81 kills per set are fourth for a career at Bluffton. She is also sixth with 162 career aces. The senior spiker led the conference with 3.69 kills per set while her .235 hitting percentage is currently 10th overall. McFarlin has put up 127 digs, 36 blocks and 22 service aces during her final season.
The Bluffton hitters also took advantage of Sydney's Mohler's talents from the back row. The junior libero becomes Bluffton's first-ever HCAC Defensive Player of the Year! Mohler ignited Bluffton's fast-paced offense with an outstanding .934 serve receive percentage. Her 6.90 digs per set in conference contests topped the HCAC, while her 5.34 digs per set in all matches rank third all-time for the Beavers. The HCAC Defensive Player of the Week after a pair of victories when Mohler obliterated her digs in match mark twice (33 at Anderson and 45 at Franklin), she is currently fifth all-time at 4.43 digs per set and her 1542 career digs are ninth on the all-time list at Bluffton. Mohler also fired a team-high 38 aces and chipped in with 95 assists this season. The Beavers have compiled a sterling 23-4 mark in HCAC matches since Mohler came on the scene as a freshman starter at libero.
Lauren Weisgarber sliced and diced Bluffton's Heartland Conference opponents on the way to her first All-HCAC post-season recognition. The senior middle saved the best for last, leading the HCAC with a blistering .385 hitting percentage in conference contests. She ranks fourth in the conference with 3.27 kills per set, while her 74 blocks are sixth in the HCAC. Weisgarber earned her first Heartland Conference Player of the Week honor after hitting .439 with 20 kills in a pair of victories over Earlham and Denison. She is 12th on Bluffton's all-time list with 302 career blocks. Her .338 hitting percentage this season is second all-time to Jenny Brown's .343 a season ago and her .244 career hitting percentage is sixth all-time. Weisgarber's 932 career kills are 17th on Bluffton's all-time list.
Picking right up where she left off last season when Erin Weisgarber was named the HCAC Freshman of the Year, the engine for Bluffton's quick-hitting offense was named First Team All-Heartland Conference in 2016. She doled out 11.93 assists per game in conference matches, nearly 1.5 assists more than her closest competitor in the HCAC. Weisgarber added offensive firepower as a hitter to her repertoire this season, pounding 144 kills (1.33 kills per set) and hitting .319 in conference contests, fourth-best in the HCAC. She picked up her first HCAC Player of the Week award after hitting .571 with 22 kills and 92 assists in sweeps of Wilmington, Manchester and Rose-Hulman. Weisgarber's 10.21 assists per set are fifth all-time while her 10.31 career assists per set are at the top of Bluffton's record book by over two APS. She is already fourth all-time with 2319 career assists! The standout sophomore has helped the Beavers go 16-2 in the Heartland Conference since taking the reins as Bluffton's setter.
In conjunction with the All-HCAC selections, the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference also announced the All-HCAC Sportsmanship Team for the fall of 2016. Bethany Martini (Pickerington/North) 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 fourth consecutive season, Coach Yarnell and the Beavers will play in the NCAA Regionals following their Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament championship win at host and #1 seed Hanover. Bluffton will travel nearly 350 miles to #11 and top-seeded Wisconsin-Whitewater for a date with #17 Wisconsin-Oshkosh on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016. The contest is slated for 4 p.m. Ohio time, following the Washington University vs. Heidelberg contest.
This will be Bluffton's eighth appearance in the NCAA Tournament with five coming in the last eight 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 seniors MacKenzie McFarlin and Lauren Weisgarber became the first volleyball players in Bluffton University history to finish their HCAC tournament careers with an unblemished record when the Beavers knocked Hanover out of the HCAC Tournament for the fourth straight season on Saturday. They are 9-0 over the past four years with all of those victories on the road!
The Beavers have compiled a 223-161 record since Coach Yarnell took the reins in 2005. They have won at least 20 matches in six of the past nine years while going 59-20 in Heartland Conference action since 2008!
Continue to check the Bluffton University Volleyball schedule page for tournament updates, scores and recaps at http://www.bluffton.edu/athletics/volleyball/2016/schedule.html.