Wildcat Vets Fill Preseason All-Conference Team
CWU's Tia Andaya was named the 2023 GNAC Volleyball Preseason Player of the Year.
CWU's Tia Andaya was named the 2023 GNAC Volleyball Preseason Player of the Year.

Friday, August 18, 2023
by Evan O'Kelly

PORTLAND, Ore. – Four Central Washington upperclassmen, including GNAC Preseason Player of the Year Tia Andaya, headlined the 2023 volleyball preseason all-conference team released on Friday.

CWU was the lone GNAC school to have more than two players featured on the preseason all-conference team, which was voted on by the conference’s coaches. The 14-player list comes two days after the Wildcats were unanimously picked by the league’s coaches as the preseason favorite to win the league.

Among this year’s preseason all-conference team were six players who earned first-team all-GNAC in 2022, five players who have earned all-conference recognition twice in their careers, six players who earned mention on the preseason list for the second season in-a-row and four players who earned preseason recognition for the first time in their careers.

Preseason Player of the Year: 
Tia Andaya, Central Washington

Name School Pos. Ht. Yr. Hometown
*!$^ Tia Andaya Central Washington S/OH 5-9 Sr. Ellensburg, Wash. 
*!$& Brooke Dexter Simon Fraser OPP 6-2 Jr. Anchorage, Alaska
! Emma Daoud-Hebert Central Washington MB 6-0 Jr. Woodinville, Wash.
*!$ Hannah Hair Seattle Pacific MB 6-1 Sr. Walla Walla, Wash.
*!$ Ashley Kaufman Central Washington OH 5-8 Sr. Hayden, Idaho
Gabby Kepley Western Washington PIN 5-11 Jr. Bothell, Wash.
* Karli Nielson Alaska OH 5-11 Jr. South Weber, Utah
*$@# Hannah Stires Central Washington DS/L 5-5 Jr. Nine Mile Falls, Wash.
! Bailee Hartsook Western Oregon OH 5-9 Jr. Sweet Home, Ore.
Caroline McMahon Northwest Nazarene L 5-7 Sr. Medford, Ore.
Nicole Blue Alaska Anchorage OH 5-9 Sr. Cerritos, Calif.
Devyn Oestreich Western Washington PIN 5-11 So. Olympia, Wash.
@ Allison Wilks Seattle Pacific OH/MB 6-1 Sr. Bothell, Wash.
@ Joceln Sherman Simon Fraser OH 5-10 Jr. Victoria, B.C.
*-2022 Preseason All-Conference | !-2022 First Team All-GNAC | @-2022 Honorable Mention All-GNAC | $-2021 First Team All-GNAC | ^-2021 GNAC Newcomer of the Year | #-2021 GNAC Defensive Player of the Year | &-2021 GNAC Freshman of the Year


Central Washington
Senior – Setter/Outside Hitter
Ellensburg, Wash. – Gonzaga

A fifth-year senior, Andaya returns to lead what the conference’s coaches believe to be the most experienced and complete roster in the conference. Andaya is a two-time first-team all-conference selection since transferring from Gonzaga in time for the 2021 campaign. Andaya averaged 2.57 kills per set, 5.43 assists per set, and 1.92 digs per set on her way to breaking the GNAC career record for triple doubles with 12 last season. The 2021 GNAC Newcomer of the Year and All-American setter/outside hitter is among the league’s most versatile returners.


Simon Fraser
Junior – Opposite
Anchorage, Alaska – West Anchorage HS

Dexter set the tone in 2021 winning the GNAC Freshman of the Year award, and followed up with a first-team all-conference and honorable mention All-America showing during her sophomore season in 2022. Dexter ranked seventh in the league in both kills per set with 2.85 and points per set with 3.41, and she projects as one of the Red Leafs’ top hitting options again in her third season in the league. Dexter got off to a hot start in 2022, earning her second career GNAC Player of the Week honor in the first weekend of conference play.

Central Washington
Junior – Middle Blocker
Woodinville, Wash. – Woodinville HS

Another returning All-American on the preseason all-conference team, Daoud-Hebert gives the Wildcats one of the top net players in the league. Daoud-Hebert led Division II in blocks per set with 1.50 and total blocks with 160 in 2022. She also led the conference and ranked 13th nationally with a hitting percentage of .387. The 6-foot junior has two years of eligibility remaining, as she looks to build off her first-team all-conference performance a season ago.



Seattle Pacific
Senior – Middle Blocker
Walla Walla, Wash. – Walla Walla HS

Hair is coming off one of the most comprehensive seasons of any GNAC player, ranking in the top-60 in Division II in both blocks per set (1.06, 57th) and in hitting percentage (.339, 60th). Hair earned her second straight first-team all-GNAC nod a season ago and earned her fifth career GNAC Player of the Week honor on Oct. 3. The Falcons will rely on Hair, who did not miss a set last season, as their senior leader on both sides of the ball.


Central Washington
Senior – Outside Hitter
Hayden, Idaho – Lake City HS

Among three Wildcat returners who garnered All-America status in 2022, Kaufman is another first-team all-conference and first-team all-region veteran who will play a crucial role in the Wildcats’ title pursuit this fall. Kaufman’s 3.00 kills per set led the team and ranked sixth in the conference, and she chipped in 2.69 digs per set.



Western Washington
Junior – Pin
Bothell, Wash. – North Creek HS

Kepley played a key role in helping the Vikings to a 21-6 record last fall, starting 23 matches among a star-studded lineup at Sam Carver Gym. Kepley ranked fourth on the team in blocks (57.0) and kills (188), while averaging 2.0 kills and 0.61 blocks per set as a sophomore. With WWU losing seven key players from a roster that went 16-2 in league play last year, Kepley figures to step into a key role from the outset of the 2023 campaign.

Junior – Outside Hitter
South Weber, Utah – Northridge

Earning preseason all-conference recognition for the second season in a row, Nielson returns to the Nanook lineup as their top offensive performer from 2022. In her sophomore season Nielson averaged 2.73 kills per set – the highest figure by an Alaska player since Lahra Weber notched 2.80 kills per set in 2019. Nielson and the Nanooks will look to build off an 18-12 record last year and were projected to finish sixth in the GNAC preseason poll.

Central Washington
Junior – Defensive Specialist/Libero
Nine Mile Falls, Wash. – Lakeside HS

The Wildcats’ defensive catalyst from a season ago, Stires returns after leading the team and ranking third in the GNAC with 4.59 digs per set. That figure as well as her 491 total digs both ranked her in the top-75 players in Division II volleyball in 2022. Stires garnered recognition on three different all-tournament teams including the NCAA West Region Championships, and was an honorable mention all-league pick as a sophomore.

Western Oregon
Junior – Outside Hitter
Sweet Home, Ore. – Sweet Home HS

A first-team all-conference selection as a sophomore in 2022, Hartsook is the Wolves’ top returning player. The hometown product averaged 2.48 kills per set in her second season with the Wolves while playing in all 26 matches and earning 22 starts.


Northwest Nazarene
Senior – Libero
Medford, Ore. – Cascade Christian HS

One of just two liberos on the preseason all-conference team, McMahon enters her fifth collegiate season bringing a wealth of experience to the Nighthawk lineup. McMahon ranked second in the conference with 4.64 digs per set last season and earned GNAC Player of the Week last September. She also broke the school record for service aces with 111, on her way to ranking fifth in the GNAC in that category with 0.44 per set.

Alaska Anchorage
Senior – Outside Hitter
Cerritos, Calif. – Cerritos HS

Blue played a vital role in the Seawolves’ conference championship, averaging 1.8 kills per set, 0.91 digs per set, and 0.40 blocks per set in 2022. Blue played in every set and highlighted her junior campaign with a season-high 13 kills in UAA’s five-set comeback win over Point Loma. Blue is the top returning offensive piece on a roster that will have to replace 2022 Ron Lenz National Player of the Year Eve Stephens.

Western Washington
Sophomore – Pin
Olympia, Wash. – North Creek HS

Like Kepley, Oestreich’s reps in conference games were limited during her redshirt freshman season in 2022. She averaged 1.97 kills and 2.52 digs per set in the 13 matches in which she saw action during her first collegiate season on the floor. Oestreich projects to help the Vikings replace their offensive firepower that graduated after 2022 and is the lone underclassman on the preseason all-conference team.

Seattle Pacific
Senior – Outside Hitter/Middle Blocker
Bothell, Wash. – North Creek HS

Wilks earned honorable mention all-conference in 2022 after proving a versatile player both as an outside hitter and middle blocker during her junior season. Wilks claimed GNAC Player of the Week after racking up 17 total blocks in a pair of home conference matches, and she had multiple blocks in 22 of 26 matches played. The 2022 co-captain combines with Hair to give the Falcons a formidable presence at the net as the Emerald City’s team looks to live up to its third-place preseason ranking in the coaches poll.

Simon Fraser
Junior – Outside Hitter
Victoria, B.C. – Belmont Secondary

Sherman played her way onto the honorable mention all-conference list by proving to be a legitimate offensive threat in her sophomore season. The outside hitter ranked second on the team behind Dexter with 2.63 kills per set and 3.21 points per set in her second season on the floor. Sherman and Dexter will play a crucial complementary role for the Red Leafs, who were slated for a fourth-place finish in the preseason poll.