BARBOURVILLE, Ky. – Union College head volleyball coach David Nicholson was named the Appalachian Athletic Conference Coach of the Year and freshman Monica Moreland added the AAC Setter of the Year award to go with her AAC Player and Freshman of the Year awards, the conference announced Thursday. Also adding her name on the all-conference award list was junior Deena O'Hare and her All-AAC Academic Team honor.
Nicholson, in his third season at Union, is the first Lady Bulldogs head coach to win the conference coach of the year award in the history of the program. He directed Union to the program's first conference championship behind a 16-2 mark in the AAC. Union was picked to finish third this season in the conference race.
Under his guidance, the Lady Bulldogs have amassed a school record 32 victories during the regular season. The Lady Bulldogs bested the 1993 squad and their 28 wins.This year's team is currently ahead of the school record for best winning percentage at 0.727 (32-12). The previous record was set in 2003 at 0.703 (26-11).
Moreland (Louisville, Ky.) accounted for a school-record 1,454 assists in 138 games in her first season at Union. She broke the record set by Amanda Bowling, which was established last season at 1,427.She also led the conference in total assists while her 10.5 assists per game ranked second.
In her first season at Union, Moreland had at least 21 assists in every match, with 30-plus assists in 31 matches, 40 or more assists 19 times and three more with at least 50. She recorded a season-best 59 assists against Brescia (Ky.) University on September 15. Her other two 50-plus assists matches were in conference play, 50 against Milligan (Tenn.) College and 52 versus Montreat (N.C.) College.
She was named the NAIA Region XII Setter of the Week five times and garnered the AAC weekly honor five times as well. Unfortunately, a knee injury on October 29 ended her season prematurity.
This marks the second year in a row that a Lady Bulldog was selected as the AAC Setter of the Year. Bowling was the award winner in 2006.
O'Hare, a junior from Perry, Canada is only the second Lady Bulldog to be placed on the All-AAC Academic Team. The first Union player with the Academic All-AAC honor was Jessica Metzcar in 2003.
Covenant (Ga.) College was selected as the AAC Champion of Character team while Brittany Lawson from UVa-Wise was the Libero of the Year in the conference.