Feb. 8, 2012
DALLAS (SMU) - The SMU volleyball program held its awards banquet Tuesday night, recognizing players for their outstanding accomplishments both on and off the court. Junior Courtney Manning was named Offensive Player of the Year and Co-Defensive Player of the Year with senior Sidney Stewart, who took home the Most Valuable Player Award.
Manning finished the season with a team-high .307 hitting percentage, ninth in Conference USA, and scored 2.21 kills per set. Defensively, she was ninth in the country with a conference-high 1.49 blocks per set, and tied for second in the nation with 184 total blocks, third in a season all-time in Conference USA.
Stewart was named MVP and Co-Defensive Player of the Year after setting school records in single match, single season and career digs. Her 42 digs against Alabama is the second most in a match in C-USA history, and her 625 digs in 2011 is ninth in a season in conference history. She also finished second all-time in Conference USA with 2,218 digs, becoming the first player in school history with at least 2,000 digs.
"Sidney is one of the most selfless players I have ever coached. She worked tirelessly throughout her career at SMU, and has been completely dedicated to her sport," head coach Lisa Seifert said proudly.
"She made a significant difference in several matches, both initiating our offense (2.75 passing) and keeping us in the play defensively. She also did a great job keeping our opponents out of system with a tough serve. She is also one of the very few players in the history of the program who has never missed a set in her career and played two different positions as a Mustang."
Kelli Becerra was honored with the Mustang Award for the second-straight season. The honor is awarded to the player who shows the biggest commitment to developing her skill set, commitment to her teammates, coaches and winning. Becerra had 947 assists as a senior to finish second in school history and 16th in C-USA history with 4,191 career assists. She is also fifth all-time at SMU with 1,261 digs, the most ever by a setter at SMU.
"I don't remember a day when Kelli didn't come into the gym for extra work. She was usually the first to arrive and the last to leave," Seifert stated. "Kelli not only showed complete dedication to volleyball, but she could also be seen at most other athletic events cheering on her fellow Mustangs."
Freshman Julianne Scheidler was honored with the Academic Award, posting a team-high 4.0 GPA during her first year of classes at SMU. Scheidler played 29 sets with 44 digs as a libero.
Stewart, Becerra and Dana Powell were also recognized for serving as team captains. Powell finished the year second on the team with 3.02 kills per set and 3.81 digs per set.