Coviare lands spot on esteemed first-team for second year in a row
Three members of the Eastern Washington University volleyball team were named to the All-Big Sky Conference teams, it was announced Friday by the league office. Senior Chenoa Coviare was one of the elite six honored on the first team, while senior Alysha Cook and sophomore Shelby Puckett were recognized on the honorable mention squad.
Coviare, a 6-1 middle blocker from Medford, Ore., has been a conference all star for three-consecutive years, including back-to-back appearances on the All-Big Sky First Team. She was a second-team selection as a sophomore in 2008.
This season, Coviare suffered a season-ending injury with four conference games remaining, but her impact throughout the first two months of league play was too significant to overlook.
"Chenoa is clearly one of the best players in this conference, and has been for several years," said EWU head coach Miles Kydd. "Unfortunately, her knee injury didn't allow her to have quite the spectacular ending to her career we were all anticipating, but she accomplished some great things in her four years at Eastern. This season, she completely dominated at the net. There were matches we won because the opposition could just not get a ball by her. This was certainly a well-deserved award."
Coviare finished the 2010 conference season as the second-leading blocker in the Big Sky with a 1.51 blocks per set average. Up until the final weekend of league play, Coviare was leading the conference in the defensive category, but Montana's Jaimie Thibeault, another first-team selection, managed to finish just ahead of Coviare in the stats with 1.58 blocks per set.
Coviare was also among the top three in the conference in hitting percentage (.329) and ranked eighth in points scored (3.58 per set). She will leave Eastern as the fourth leader blocker in history with 470 career blocks. She is also one of the elite few in program history to eclipse 1,000 career kills. In her four-year tenure, she tallied 1,012 total kills.
Cook has also been honored as a conference all star in three of her four years at Eastern. She was on the second team in 2007, and earned honorable mention accolades in 2008 and 2010.
"I was really happy to see Alysha get recognized this season," said Kydd. "She had some outstanding performances, and was clearly the best blocker of all right-side hitters in the conference."
Cook, a native of Kennewick, Wash., averaged 0.90 blocks per set in league-only statistics, which was just outside the top 10. She had 147 total kills in the conference season, including 29 against Montana on Sept. 17, which was the third-best offensive performance of the year for all players in the Big Sky.
Despite battling with injuries through much of her junior and senior years, Cook tallied 772 kills, 242 blocks and 119 digs in her Eastern career. Even after sitting the first seven matches of this season, she was second on the team in blocks with 0.78 per set, and third in attack percentage (.224), kills (2.40 per set) and points (2.83 per set).
Puckett also received a nod from the conference coaches as a member of the honorable mention team, which marks the first conference honor for the sophomore from Latah, Wash. Puckett led the Eagles in total kills this season with 272. She averaged 2.46 kills per set on the year, while also contributing 50 total blocks.
In conference play only, she averaged 2.59 kills per set, which included 11 matches in double-digits. She tied her career-high in kills when she rattled off 21 against Montana on Oct. 30. In Eastern's final game of the year, Puckett had 10 kills on 17 errorless attempts for an impressive .588 attack percentage.
"Shelby was an integral part of our team this year," commended Kydd. "We put a lot on her shoulders as a sophomore, making her play out of position for much of the season. She did a great job of adjusting to whatever we needed her to do, and I think more than anything, she was recognized for the leadership and reliability she brought to the team."
Portland State's Whitney Phillips was selected as the league MVP for the second year in a row and was a unanimous first-team selection. Northern Colorado's Kelley Arnold was also a unanimous pick for the first team. Her teammate Ashley Lichtenburg joined her on the first team, as did PSU's Garyn Schlatter, who was also selected as the BSC Outstanding Freshman. UNC's Amanda Arterburn was honored as the Libero of the Year.