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Merch Madness
Courtesy: JMUSports.com
Three Volleyball Dukes Collect All-CAA Honors
Courtesy:JMUSports.com Release:11/15/2012

TOWSON, Md., Nov. 15, 2012 – Senior outside hitter Danielle Erb (Tampa, Fla./Plant), redshirt senior outside hitter Natalie Abel (Washington, Pa./Trinity) and freshman outside hitter Meghan Niski (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles East) all collected All-Colonial Athletic Association honors as announced by the league at the annual awards banquet on Thursday evening. Erb received Second Team All-CAA honors while Abel was a Third Team honoree and Niski received All-Rookie accolades. 

The awards were decided by a vote of the league’s head coaches and were presented on the eve of the CAA Tournament being held on the campus of Towson University. 

Northeastern outside hitter Kelly Bacon was voted the league’s Player of the Year while Towson’s Aubrey Kirven was named Setter of the Year and her coach, Bruce Atkinson, was named the Coach of the Year. William & Mary freshman Dessi Koleva claimed Rookie of the Year honors and a fellow rookie, Delaware’s Ariel Shonk, is the Defensive Specialist of the Year. 

Erb is the second player in program history to be named to an All-CAA team four times, joining Karla Gessler (1997-2000). She was a Third Team All-CAA selection in 2009 and 2011 and a Second Team honoree in 2010. In 2012, she was one of two players to play in all 99 sets for the Dukes, starting in all 27 matches. She led the team and was sixth in the CAA in kills with 322, averaging 3.25 per set. She was second on the squad in digs (302), blocks (48) and service aces (24) and hit .237 on 932 attack attempts. This season, she became just the fourth player in school history to surpass 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs, ranking fifth in the program in kills (1,291) and sixth in digs (1,117). 

Abel collected her third All-CAA recognition on Thursday, adding Third Team accolades to her First Team recognition from 2011 and Third Team honors from 2010. She played in 21 matches with 19 starts, and averaged 3.05 kills and 2.14 digs per set. The redshirt senior hit .222 with 17 blocks, 14 assists and 11 aces in 76 sets played. She joined Erb as one of 10 players in school history to reach 1,000 digs, finishing the regular season ranked fourth with 1,145. 

Niski is the third player in three seasons under head coach Lauren Steinbrecher to collect All-Rookie recognition for the Dukes. This is the eighth consecutive year that JMU has placed a player on the All-Rookie team. Niski started all 27 matches while appearing in 97 sets. She was fourth on the squad with 230 kills, averaging 2.37 per set on .187 hitting. She added 249 digs, 20 blocks, 14 assists and eight aces. She led all rookies in the CAA in kills and was third in digs. 

The All-CAA First Team was comprised of Northeastern’s Bacon and Nicole Bishop, Towson’s Katy Buck and Aubrey Kirven, Delaware’s Alissa Alker and Hofstra’s Kelsie Wills. Northeastern and Towson led all teams with four members each on the All-CAA teams while Delaware had three honorees. JMU, Hofstra and William & Mary had two players recognized with UNCW’s Christi Laite rounding out the three teams. 

Delaware had two members on the All-Rookie team with JMU, George Mason, William & Mary and Georgia State getting one honoree each. 

The 2012 CAA Volleyball Championship gets under way on Friday at 4 p.m. as sixth-seeded JMU takes on third-seeded Northeastern in the quarterfinals at the Towson Athletics Center. 

Selected by CAA Volleyball Coaches 

2012 CAA Player of the Year: Kelly Bacon, Northeastern
2012 CAA Setter of the Year: Aubrey Kirven, Towson
2012 CAA Defensive Specialist of the Year: Ariel Shonk, Delaware
2012 CAA Rookie of the Year: Dessi Koleva, William & Mary
2012 CAA Coach of the Year: Bruce Atkinson, Towson 

Player, School, Cl., Pos., Hometown/Previous School
Alissa Alker, Delaware, Sr., OH, San Diego, Calif./Scripps Ranch
Kelly Bacon, Northeastern, Jr., OH, Temecula, Calif./Temecula Valley
Nicole Bishop, Northeastern, Sr., MH, Park City, Utah/Park City
Katy Buck, Towson, Jr., OH, Catonsville, Md./Mount de Sales Academy
Aubrey Kirven, Towson, Sr., S, Uniontown, Ohio/Lake/Loyola Univ.
Kelsie Wills, Hofstra, So., OH, Matamata, New Zealand/Matamata College

Player, School, Cl., Pos., Hometown/Previous School
Catalina Charry, Hofstra , Sr., S, Santiago de Cali, Colombia/Salt Lake CC
Danielle Erb, James Madison, Sr., OH, Tampa, Fla./Plant
I’ishah Keliikoa, Towson , Jr., RS/OP, Mililani, Hawaii/I’olani
Dessi Koleva, William & Mary, Fr., OH, Torrance, Calif./South
Christi Laite, UNCW, Jr., RS, Severna Park, Md./Severna Park
Chelsea Lawrence, Delaware, Sr., MH, Evanston, Ill./Evanston Township
Lana Zonjic, George Mason, Jr., OH, Zagreb, Croatia/II Gimnazjia Zagreb 

Player, School, Cl., Pos., Hometown/Previous School
Natalie Abel, James Madison, Sr., OH, Washington, Pa./Trinity
Jillian Briner, Northeastern, So., S/OH, Oak Park, Ill./Oak Park & River Forest
Marta Machos, Towson, Sr., OP, Tomaszow, Lubelski, Poland/Midland College
Shaylin O’Connell, William & Mary, Sr., MH, Leesburg, Va./Loudoun County
Ariel Shonk, Delaware, Fr., DS/L, Atlanta, Ga./Riverwood Int’l Charter
Natalia Skiba, Northeastern, So., L/OH, Westmont, Ill./Hinsdale Central 

Player, School, Cl., Pos., Hometown/Previous School
Dessi Koleva, William & Mary, Fr., OH, Torrance, Calif./South
Meghan Niski, James Madison, Fr., OH, St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles East
Mackenzie Olsen, Delaware, Fr., S, Villa Park, Calif./Villa Park
Lola Owokoniran, George Mason, Fr., MB, Raleigh, N.C./Wakefield
Ariel Shonk, Delaware, Fr., DS/L, Atlanta, Ga./Riverwood Int’l Charter
Eliza Zachary, Georgia State, Fr., MB, Bloomington, Minn./Jefferson 

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