PASADENA — Kelsi Robinson was named the 2016 SCIAC Volleyball Athlete of the Year and a total of six Leopards were selected to All-SCIAC teams as voted by the league's head coaches, the conference announced on Tuesday. In addition, La Verne's coaching staff led by head coach Jenna Panatier was named the Coaching Staff of the Year.
Robinson, by virtue of being named the Athlete of the Year, landed on the First Team along with Tiffany Mancuso and Cassie Thompson. Delaney Lynch, Marisa Rojo and Kristen Sanchez were tabbed to Second Team. Kelsie Sievers was named to the All-Sportsmanship Team. La Verne's six selections is the most of any SCIAC schools.
Robinson, who was tabbed an Honorable Mention All-America as a sophomore, is enjoying the best season of her career and has become one of the most feared middle blockers in the nation. She is averaging 3.15 kills per set on a staggering .367 hitting -- both of which are career-highs -- and is averaging about one block per set. She's been even better in SCIAC play, averaging 3.24 kills at a .374 clip. She's also put down 33 service aces on the season, which is also a career best.
Mancuso has emerged as one of the best setters in the nation this season, passing out 10.97 assists per set, which is good for fourth individually in NCAA Division III. Her passing has also enabled the Leopards to hit .265 as a team, which ranks sixth in the nation. She has registered 30 services aces in SCIAC play (50 total) to lead the conference and and has gotten in on 40 blocks.
Thompson formed a formidable 1-2 punch in the middle with Robinson for La Verne and is having the best season of her career. The senior is averaging career-highs in kills per set (2.48), hitting percentage (.361) and blocks per set (0.93).
Delaney Lynch has established herself as one of the best attackers in the SCIAC after showing flashes as a freshman last year. The lefty was seventh in the SCIAC in total kills (151) and eighth in kills per set (2.90).
Rojo, a junior transfer, has made an immediate impact. She is third on the team behind Robinson and Lynch with 2.57 kills per set and has recorded six double-digit-kill matches in SCIAC action. She has also tallied 21 aces, 30 total blocks and 226 digs.
Sanchez, who started from Day 1 as a freshman last year, gets recognition as one of the best liberos in the SCIAC. She has compiled 383 digs and is averaging 4.26 digs per set, which is third in the SCIAC. She's also given out 78 assists and registered 32 service aces.
Panatier and assistant coaches Jack Coberly, Jeff Hendershot and Mario Meza led the Leopards to four wins over AVCA Top-25 teams, including upsets over league rivals Cal Lutheran and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. Despite losing several four-year stalwarts after last season, the Leopards reloaded seamlessly and checked into the national rankings at No. 22 last week.
The Leopards begin postseason play at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on Thursday at 7 p.m.