Volleyball All-Americans Released, Four Cougars Honored
COLUMBIA -- Just two days after finishing the 2012 season as the National Runner-Up, the awards for the Columbia Cougar volleyball team just keep coming. Four Cougars have been named to the NAIA All-American team, released Monday by the national office in Kansas City, Missouri.
Repeating the honor from two years ago, senior setter Paula Ferreira claims NAIA Player of the Year accolades for the second time and is an NAIA First Team All-American for the third straight season of her illustrious career. Ferreira matches former Cougar volleyball player Yang Zhe for being named NAIA/AVCA National Player of the Year twice in their careers. The list of awards and honors is endless for Ferreira; 2-time NAIA Scholar Athlete, 4-time AMC Setter of the Year, 3-time AMC Player of the Year, 4-time First Team All-Conference, 3-time Academic All-Conference, 3-time NAIA First Team All-American, 3-time NAIA National Tournament all-tournament team, 2012 NAIA National Tournament MVP, 2009 NAIA Third Team All-American, 2011 CoSIDA Academic All-America College Division Volleyball Player of the Year. The Rio de Janerio, Brazil native finishes her career at the Columbia career assists leader with 6,280 in four years, including 1,766 this season which is the third highest single-season assist total in Cougar history. With 82 service aces this season Paula also takes over as the career service ace leader with 245.
Leading the Cougars with 503 kills this season, outside hitter Kahoriz Feliz also records First Team All-American honors. In just her first season with the Cougars, Feliz finished the season with a hitting percentage of 0.326 and averaged 3.73 kills per set. In addition, the Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic native also logged 177 digs and 51 blocks. Kahoriz ranks 20th in the NAIA in total kills, 32nd in kills per game and 34th in hitting percentage.
Senior Libero Elena Berroteran becomes the first Columbia Libero to be named to the NAIA First Team. Berroteran managed the back court for the Cougars all season, logging 740 digs for an average of 5.32 per set. Elena, a native of Caracas, Venezuela, played in 43 matches for Columbia this season. She had 72 assists and 54 aces while being named the AMC Libero of the Year and first team all-conference in her final season.
Both Berroteran and Feliz were also named to last week's NAIA National Tournament All-Tournament Team.
2012 marks just the second time in Columbia history and the first time since 1998 that three Cougar players were named to the first team.
In addition, Scott City, Mo. native Brooke Simpson collected NAIA Honorable Mention accolades. The junior outside hitter played in 40 matches this season and logged 400 kills. Brooke also added 21 aces, 304 digs and 36 blocks this season. She was named first team all-conference this season as well.
The Cougar volleyball squad finished the 2012 campaign as the runner-up at the NAIA National Championship, falling to Concordia (Calif.) University in the championship match. Under head coach Melinda Wrye-Washington, the Cougars ended the season with a mark of 42-2 and ranked No. 3 in the final top 25 rating. For the second time in her career Melinda has been named the NAIA National Coach of the Year. With almost 600 wins to her credit, Wrye-Washington was named AMC Coach of the Year for the ninth time since starting at Columbia in 2000. Including this year, she has led her team to 12 conference championships and 12 trips to the NAIA National Championships where they have won the crown once and placed in the top four eight times.