Trio of Jackets Honored, Nicely Named HCAC's Top Freshman
GREENWOOD, Ind. – The Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference announced its 2008 award winners on Wednesday. Defiance saw three student-athletes earn accolades, as Kristen Nicely was named HCAC Freshman of the Year, while Danyel Lipps and Julie Brunsman each claimed All-HCAC honors.
Along with being voted as the league’s top freshman, Nicely was also named to the All-HCAC and HCAC All-Freshmen Teams. The Ayersville High product helped lead the Yellow Jackets to a second-place finish in the HCAC and a trip to the championship match of the HCAC Tournament by totaling 339 kills and 62 blocks. Along with leading the team in kills and blocks, Nicely ranked second among all HCAC players with 3.36 kills per set and topped the league with 4.28 kills per set, while ranking fifth with a .292 hitting percentage in eight league contests.
Nicely was a force at the net all season long for Defiance, slamming down 10-or-more kills 19 times and collecting two-or-more blocks in 16 matches for the Jackets. The Freshman-of-the-Year selection is the latest in a long line of awards for the right-side hitter during her rookie season, as Nicely was also a two-time HCAC Player of the Week and was named to the Ohio Wesleyan, DC Invitational and HCAC All-Tournament Teams.
Lipps joined Nicely as an All-HCAC performer, after filling the stat sheets all season long for the Yellow Jackets. The junior outside hitter took All-HCAC honors for the second-straight season by ranking among the top ten players in the league with 3.1 kills and 3.7 digs per set and a .254 hitting percentage in conference play. Lipps notched 14 double-doubles on the year and accomplished that feat in all but one HCAC match.
Along with leading Defiance with 25 service aces and ranking second on the team with 299 kills and 376 digs, Lipps posted her third-straight season with at least 280 kills and 300 digs and will enter her senior campaign with 970 kills and 1,084 digs to her credit. Lipps was also named to the DC Invitational and HCAC All-Tournament Teams this season and earned HCAC Player-of-the-Week honors on Oct. 27.
Brunsman earned her first All-HCAC honor, by being named Honorable Mention All-HCAC after her first season at the setter position. The sophomore excelled down the stretch for Defiance and averaged 37.0 assists per match over her last six contests. Brunsman tossed up 30-or-more assists eight times for DC and saw the Jackets post a 7-1 mark in those matches.
The Cincinnati, Ohio, native led Defiance with 565 assists and added 130 digs, 28 kills and 27 blocks from her setter position. Those numbers jumped to 8.2 assists, 1.4 digs and 0.2 blocks per set in HCAC action for the versatile Brunsman, helping the Jackets to a 6-2 mark in league play.
The all-conference selections are nominated and voted on by the league’s head coaches and are announced by the HCAC conference office.