Senior Shelby Puckett takes home two trophies, including esteemed Eagle Award
The Eastern Washington University volleyball team commemorated its 2012 season with an end-of-the-year banquet, where six different members of the squad were honored with awards.
For the first time in her career, senior Shelby Puckett was among the group of players honored with a team award. In fact, she won two of them this year. Puckett was the winner of the Teammate of the Year award, as well as the Eagle Award, which is the only one of the five that is selected by the coaching staff.
The Eagle Award is given to the player who best exemplifies the qualities valued by the team as a whole, including work ethic, leadership, perseverance, performance and value to the program.
Puckett played in all 31 matches during her senior campaign, but not always at the same position. A three-year letterwinner and two-time All-Conference selection as an outside hitter, Puckett was shifted to libero midway through the season after proving to be Eastern’s most consistent server and passer. In this entirely new role, she had 14 double-digit dig outings, and three with 20 or more. She also led the team in service aces with 19.
Puckett shared Teammate of the Year honors with junior Ashley Wright, who also stepped up for the squad wherever she was needed most. Through the first eight matches of the year, Wright filled in at setter after its two veterans went down with injuries. She then served as a blocker and back-up setter through much of the conference season, before moving back to her original position at outside hitter. Wright had 231 assists throughout the season, 109 digs, 84 kills and 47 blocks.
Senior Cora Kellerman was selected by her teammates as the Most Valuable Player - an obvious choice, as the 6-0 outside hitter led the team both offensively and defensively. She averaged 2.82 kills per set and 3.22 digs in the 2012 campaign. She was also the only player to appear in all 107 sets during the year.
With a double-double in five of the final six matches of her career, Kellerman finished the season with a team-leading 11. She had two 20+ dig outings and posted eight matches with 15 or more kills.
With exception of most improved, Kellerman has won every single team award throughout her career. She was selected as the Most Inspirational Player and Teammate of the Year in 2010, and was the Eagle Award winner in 2011.
Senior Laney Brown repeated this year as the Most Inspirational Player. After recovering from an early-season injury, Brown played in 81-consecutive sets as Eastern’s starting setter, leading the Eags in a 5-1 offense. She became one of the top setters in the Big Sky, averaging 9.83 assists per set and 2.51 digs. She had 11 double-doubles and tied Puckett for a team-high 19 service aces.
Redshirt-freshman Kellen Barfield and true freshman Allie Schumacher shared the award for Most Improved Player. In the first half of the Big Sky season, Barfield averaged just under five kills per match. In the second half, she was averaging nearly six and a half. On the year, Barfield tallied 135 total kills on a .355 attack percentage. She also had 80 blocks, including a team-leading 14 solo.
After earning a starting role midway through season, Schumacher quickly became one of EWU’s biggest threats on the outside. She averaged 2.63 kills per set to rank second on the team, and picked up 144 total digs throughout her freshman campaign. In a thrilling five-set win at Northern Arizona on Nov. 1, Schumacher broke the EWU school record for kills in a single match when she hammered 35 kills on a .397 attack percentage to propel Eastern to its first road win of the year. The previous record of 34, held by Kim Exner (1995-98), had stood for 16 years.