Stephens Headlines Volleyball Preseason All-Conference
Eve Stephens was a Second Team AVCA All-American in 2019. She led all GNAC players in the spring 2021 season with 4.16 kills per set.
Eve Stephens was a Second Team AVCA All-American in 2019. She led all GNAC players in the spring 2021 season with 4.16 kills per set.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

PORTLAND, Ore. – One of the most dynamic players in the conference since she arrived at Alaska Anchorage, Seawolves junior Eve Stephens leads the selections on the 2021 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Volleyball Preseason All-Conference Team.

The opposite and Second Team AVCA All-American in 2019 was named by coaches as the Preseason Player of the Year. One of seven unanimous selections to the team, Stephens received seven of nine possible first-place votes (coaches cannot vote for their own players).

Stephens was named First Team All-GNAC and was a consensus First Team All-West Region selection in 2019. She led the GNAC that season and ranked 33rd in Division II with 3.90 kills per set. She also led the conference with 4.70 points per set while also ranking in the GNAC’s top-15 in hitting percentage (.260) and blocks per set (0.90). During the 2021 spring season, Stephens led all GNAC players with 4.16 kills per set with a .290 hitting percentage.

Stephens is joined on the Preseason All-Conference Team by Seawolves junior setter Ellen Floyd.

Defending conference champion and 2021 preseason favorite Western Washington landed three selections on the Preseason All-Conference Team in sophomore outside hitter Calley Heilborn, junior outside hitter Gabby Gunterman and sophomore setter Malia Aleaga.

Alaska, Central Washington and Seattle Pacific joined Alaska Anchorage with two selections apiece. The Nanooks are represented by senior setter Cate Whiting and senior right-side hitter AveRee Reynolds. The Wildcats are represented by sophomore outside hitters Ashley Kaufman and Tia Andaya while the Falcons are represented by freshman middle blocker Hannah Hair and senior outside hitter Maddie Batiste.

Rounding out the team is Montana State Billings senior opposite Bayli Monck, Northwest Nazarene junior outside hitter Brooke Foster and Simon Fraser senior setter Julia Tays.

Floyd earned First Team All-GNAC and AVCA All-West Region honors in 2019 and was also selected by the AVCA as an Honorable Mention All-American. She ranked second in the GNAC in 2019 with 10.14 assists per set and fifth with 0.42 aces per set. During the 2021 spring season, she averaged 9.53 assists and 2.72 digs per set as UAA finished with an 11-4 record.

Heilborn, Gunterman and Aleaga all played key roles in Western Washington’s 2019 GNAC championship. Heilborn was named the 2019 GNAC Freshman of the Year in addition to earning First Team All-GNAC, First Team AVCA All-West Region and Third Team AVCA All-American honors. She led the Vikings and ranked sixth in the conference with 3.32 kills per set and was ranked seventh with 3.94 digs per set. Heilborn averaged 3.53 kills and four digs per set during the spring, leading the Vikings to a 9-2 record.

Gunterman earned First Team All-GNAC and AVCA All-West Region accolades and was selected as a Third Team AVCA All-American. She finished the season ranked 10th in the conference with 3.13 kills per set while adding 3.63 digs per set. Gunterman played in six matches during the spring, averaging 2.45 kills and 2.95 digs per set.

Aleaga was named a Third Team D2CCA All-American, the only freshman elected to the team, and was named Honorable Mention All-GNAC. She led the conference and ranked sixth in Division II with 11.72 assists per set and also averaged 0.64 blocks per set as WWU led Division II in the category. During the spring, Aleaga averaged 7.76 assists and 0.38 blocks per set.

Whiting was a First Team All-GNAC selection in 2019 as she helped lead the Nanooks to their best overall record since 2008. She averaged 9.43 assists and 2.83 digs per set while also adding 86 blocks. In the spring, Whiting averaged 7.49 assists and 2.72 digs per set in 11 matches.

Reynolds was named the 2019 GNAC Newcomer of the Year and Honorable Mention All-GNAC after she averaged 2.49 kills and 0.77 blocks per set with a .219 hitting percentage. During the spring, Reynolds posted totals of 2.43 kills and 0.60 blocks per set.

Kaufman made solid contributions for Central Washington as a freshman in 2019, ranking second on the team with 2.50 and 2.96 digs per set. She did not participate during the spring 2021 season.

Andaya joins the Central Washington roster after spending the last two seasons at Division I Gonzaga. She was named Honorable Mention All-West Coast Conference last spring after leading the Bulldogs with 9.58 assists per set, the 10th best single-season total in Gonzaga history. Andaya is the only true newcomer to the conference named to the team.

The only freshman to make the team, Hair made the most of her first season for Seattle Pacific despite the pandemic. A starter in 15 of the Falcons’ 18 spring matches, Hair led GNAC players with 1.34 blocks per set. She also finished second in the conference with a .340 hitting percentage while averaging 2.54 kills per set.

Batiste earned Honorable Mention All-GNAC honors in 2019 after she tied for fourth in the conference with teammate Gabby Oddo at 3.51 kills per set. She led the Falcons with 3.28 digs per set while also amassing 26 aces. During the spring season, Batiste averaged 2.76 kills and 2.57 digs per set with 21 aces.

Monck was named First Team All-GNAC for MSUB in 2019. She led the Yellowjackets with 2.73 kills and 3.12 digs per set while also averaging 0.73 blocks per set. She helped lead MSUB to a 5-1 record in the spring with 3.29 kills and 3.07 digs per set with a .204 hitting percentage.

Foster received First Team All-GNAC honors in 2019 and was named both Honorable Mention All-West Region and Honorable Mention All-American by the AVCA. Foster ranked second in the GNAC that season with 3.62 kills per set, compiling a .202 hitting percentage while averaging 3.28 digs per set. This spring, Foster led the Nighthawks with 2.69 kills per set and 2.90 digs per set.

Tays earned First Team All-GNAC honors for Simon Fraser in 2019. She finished the season ranked fourth in the GNAC with 9.57 assists per set. She also averaged 2.49 digs per set and amassed a .286 hitting percentage with 81 kills.

2021 GNAC VOLLEYBALL PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM
Name School Pos. Ht. Yr. Hometown (Previous School)
*[email protected]$ Eve Stephens Alaska Anchorage OPP 6-1 Jr. Palmer, Alaska (Colony)
*@ Calley Heilborn Western Washington OH 6-1 So. Auburn, Wash. (Auburn Riverside)
*[email protected] Cate Whiting Alaska S 5-10 Sr. Rapid City, S.D. (Rapid City Stevens)
*Hannah Hair Seattle Pacific MB 6-1 Fr. Walla Walla, Wash. (Walla Walla)
*@ Ellen Floyd Alaska Anchorage S 5-10 Jr. Pensacola, Fla. (Pensacola Catholic)
*[email protected] Gabby Gunterman Western Washington OH 5-10 Jr. Lake Stevens, Wash. (Lake Stevens)
@ Brooke Foster Northwest Nazarene OH 6-1 Jr. Boise, Idaho (Univ. of Montana)
Ashley Kaufman Central Washington OH 5-8 So. Hayden, Idaho (Lake City)
AveRee Reynolds Alaska RS 6-1 Sr. Petersboro, Utah (Eastern Arizona Coll.)
*[email protected] Julia Tays Simon Fraser S 5-10 Sr. Winnipeg, Man. (St. Mary’s Academy)
@ Bayli Monck Montana State Billings RS 5-10 Sr. Colorado Springs, Colo. (Vista Ridge)
Maddie Batiste Seattle Pacific OH 6-0 Sr. Portland, Ore. (Central Catholic)
# Malia Aleaga Western Washington S 5-7 So. Burien, Wash. (Kennedy Catholic)
Tia Andaya Central Washington OH/S 5-9 So. Ellensburg, Wash. (Gonzaga Univ.)
           
* - Unanimous Selection          
+ - 2019 Preseason All-Conference Selection        
@ - 2019 First Team All-Conference Selection        
# - 2019 Honorable Mention All-Conference Selection       
$ - 2018 First Team All-Conference Selection