Lees-McRae College's Wes Schneider was named the Conference Carolinas Coach of the Year, and Sariah Suryadevara (Cincinnati, Ohio) was selected
as the league's co-Freshman of the Year as five Bobcats earned all-Conference Carolinas recognition on Wednesday.
Lees-McRae and Erskine College paced the conference with four selections each, while King College and Barton College had three and two players, respectively, earn all-conference honors.
Senior Megan Epperson (St. John, Ind.), juniors Taylor Clendenin (Statesville, N.C.) and Megan Mitchell (Minden, Nev.), and Suryadevara each earned a spot on the first team as the Bobcats took four of the seven spots on the league's top squad.
Schneider led the Bobcats to their second consecutive undefeated season in conference play this fall, as Lees-McRae pushed its winning streak in league action to 49 straight matches. Under Schneider's guidance, the Bobcats captured the program's 13th Conference Carolinas regular season championship while earning the top overall seed in the conference tournament for the fifth time in the last six years.
Suryadevara has burst onto the conference and national scene this season, leading the league in digs per set and service aces per frame this fall. The Cincinnati, Ohio native has averaged nearly one service ace per set in conference play this season, and currently ranks third on the program's all-time single-season digs list. She also currently ranks 10th in the nation in service aces per set (0.62).
Epperson is in the midst of a strong season, entering the conference tournament ranked first on the team and fourth in the league with an average of 3.62 kills per set en route to her third straight all-conference selection and second consecutive first-team honors. The 2008 Conference Carolinas Freshman of the Year currently holds the program-record in kills (1,443), digs (1,212), service aces (164), and points (1,765.5), and is the only player in school history to record at least 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs in her career.
Clendenin is in the midst of a career season with the Bobcats, establishing personal-bests in kills (370), kills per set (3.11), hitting percentage (.250), service aces (52), points (450.5), and points per frame (3.78). The Statesville, N.C. native currently ranks second on the team and seventh in the conference in kills per set (3.11), and is less than 100 kills away from breaching the 1,000-kill plateau for her career.
Mitchell has put together another impressive season this fall, surpassing the program record for career assists, while narrowly trailing Epperson's mark in service aces. The Minden, Nev. Native currently sits at 3,253 assists for her career, needing just 43 helpers to set a new season-best. Mitchell also currently ranks ninth in the nation in service aces per set with an average of 0.63.
Lees-McRae returns to the court on Friday when the Bobcats host King College in the semifinal round of the conference tournament at 6:30 p.m. in Williams Gymnasium.
Photo Courtesy: Sariah Suryadevara, LMC Athletics