The Albion College volleyball program is celebrating multiple all-Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association first team picks in the same year for the first time.
Middle blocker Taylor Rosenthal and libero Monica Shuk were voted to the all-MIAA first team, and they were joined by a pair of second team picks in middle blocker Marie Pregenzer and setter Grace VanDorn.
Rosenthal, a senior from Vicksburg, Mich., and Pregenzer, a senior from Kalamazoo, Mich., were among the most efficient hitters in the MIAA. Rosenthal's .338 hitting percentage was fifth-best in the league, while Pregenzer was tied for second at .354.
One of three Albion volleyball student-athletes to record more than 1,000 career kills, Rosenthal averaged nearly three kills per set against MIAA rivals. She also chipped in with 14 blocks.
Pregenzer was an all-around scoring threat with 78 kills, 22 blocks and 15 aces in the eight MIAA matches.
Shuk, a senior from Milford, Mich., who prepped at Mercy High School, becomes Albion's first two-time all-MIAA first team pick in volleyball. Her scrappy play on defense and passing helped Albion finish second in the MIAA with 1,830 digs.
Albion's all-time leader in digs, Shuk averaged nearly five digs per set against MIAA rivals, placing her third in the league. She also chipped in with 16 assists and seven service aces.
VanDorn, a sophomore from North Aurora, Ill., is an all-MIAA second team pick for the second time in as many years. Running Albion's 6-1 system where she plays every rotation, VanDorn was third in the MIAA at 9 ½ assists per set. She also chipped in with 2 ½ digs per set, assisted on five blocks and served up five aces.
"I am so proud of our team's body of work this season, and it's great for us to be honored in this way," Head Coach Kristin de St. Aubin said. "This being the first time in program history to have two first team picks is a huge honor and our entire team should take pride in that recognition. I am so proud of this group and for their teammates who helped them get there.
"For Monica and Taylor, I am so proud of their careers and how much they both have improved," she added. "They have left a lasting impact on our program and teammates. Monica has started every set her entire career, never leaving the court except for the libero change. She has been our back row rock for four years. Taylor has become our 'go to' person in the front row, and she took on that pressure in stride.
"Grace has been a tremendous leader all year and does so much for us on and off the court, I can think of no one more deserving," she concluded. "Marie has been one of our most improved players and became a huge offensive weapon."
With a 17-11 overall record heading into its MIAA Tournament semifinal date with Calvin College tonight, Albion is guaranteed to finish with a winning record for the third time in the past four seasons.
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