By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE – The newly-crowned champions of the Lone Star Conference received recognition for their efforts on and off the court as six TexAnns, as well as head coach Mary Schindler, received acclaim from their peers at the annual awards banquet Wednesday night at City Hall at the Agave.
“I am excited and grateful for the awards we received tonight,” said Schindler. “I feel very strongly about the individual talent on our team and to have them recognized by the conference is icing on the cake.
“I have two of the best players in the Lone Star Conference and all of Division II,” she continued. “They are team players who know they would not be successful without great teammates surrounding them. It is because of their talents and their mentality that we are able to receive awards like this. We will continue to focus on the process and trust the outcome will reflect our efforts.”
Seniors Hailey Roberts and Jordyn Keamo highlighted the evening by bringing home three of the league’s top individual honors.
Roberts was named the LSC Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year, as well as earning a first-team all-conference nod for the fourth straight season, after leading the league with 474 kills and an average of 4.56 kills per set on a .253 hitting percentage. The senior from Cedar Park was a six-time LSC Offensive Player of the Week this season and closed out her career with 17 weekly awards. In addition to her offensive work, Roberts landed 27 aces and was second on the team with 311 digs through the regular season.
For Roberts, it is the second time in her career to win the LSC Offensive Player of the Year award. She becomes the first player in school history to win the league’s Player of the Year award, which was reinstated for the first time since Alma Brahamaj (UCO) and Shannon Stroud (WT) won the awards from the LSC North and South Divisions in 2000.
Meanwhile, Keamo led one of the league’s top offenses all season long and was rewarded by being named the back-to-back LSC Setter of the Year. The senior from Mililani, Hawaii dished out 1,000 assists in the regular season for an average of 9.26 assists per set. She also landed 153 kills and 53 service aces for the season. She became the first known player in Tarleton history to record a triple-double in a single match, which she did against West Texas A&M on Sept. 22. She was the league’s Setter of the Week four times this year.
Keamo becomes the second player in league history to win multiple LSC Setter of the Year awards, joining WT’s Katie Rickwartz (2007-09).
Roberts and Keamo weren’t the only TexAnns to bring home the top hardware as Schindler was named the LSC Coach of the Year for the third time in her career after leading Tarleton to their second regular season championship and a 26-5 record.
Schindler is the only coach in Tarleton history to win a Lone Star Conference Coach of the Year award. She won her first in 2008 and second in 2015.
Tarleton had four other players recognized for their performances on the court as Adriana Darthuy and Hannah McManus were named second-team all-LSC athletes and Adrianna Knutson and Amber Strange brought home honorable mention recognition.
Darthuy, who played her first season at Tarleton, was second on the team with 309 kills on a .229 hitting clip. The sophomore from France also added 179 digs on the season and had two double-double efforts and a 21-kill performance at Regis on Sept. 8.
McManus earned her first career league award after a career year in the middle of the Tarleton rotation. The junior from Caldwell landed 180 kills on a .306 hitting percentage to go along with a team-high 111 blocks. McManus had at least one block in every match this season, including two matches with a season-high six.
Knutson earned league recognition for the second consecutive season with her honorable mention honors. Knutson anchored the league’s best defense as Tarleton held opponents to a mere .130 hitting percentage for the season. The junior libero from San Antonio boasted 463 digs for an average of 4.29 digs per set this season and had a .978 serve-receive percentage for the TexAnns. She had at least 20 digs in six matches, including a season-high 29 at Texas A&M-Commerce on Sept. 16.
Strange was named honorable mention in her debut collegiate season as the freshman from Granbury stepped right into the starting lineup and delivered 202 kills on a .294 hitting percentage and 100 blocks for Tarleton. Strange was a two-time LSC Defensive Player of the Week for Tarleton.
Tarleton also had two players recognized for their efforts in the classroom as Hailey Roberts and Adrianna Knutson were named Academic All-LSC. The academic awards are voted on by Sports Information Directors from across the Lone Star Conference and nominees must maintain a 3.30 grade point average, have reached sophomore status, and have been at their respective school for at least one full calendar year.
The TexAnns earned the right to host the Lone Star Conference Championship Tournament by winning the league’s regular-season title. The tournament will begin tomorrow at 12 p.m. Tarleton will play Eastern New Mexico in the first round tomorrow at 7:30 p.m.