SHSU Coach, Players Earn Southland Volleyball Honors

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Deveney Wells-Gibson is the 2012 Southland Conference volleyball “Player of the Year,” Brenda Gray received league “Coach of the Year” honors and four Bearkats have been voted as All-Conference performers after leading Sam Houston to its first regular season volleyball championship since 1994.

Wells-Gibson was the top-scorer with 496 points for a Bearkat volleyball team that rolled to a 20-10 overall regular season mark and posted its highest Southland victory total ever with a 15-3 league mark.

The sophomore from San Antonio ranked No. 2 in kills (421) in the Southland and also was No. 10 in digs (339) and No. 12 in aces (34). She totaled double figure kills in 26 of the Bearkats’ 30 matches and was a two-time Southland Conference offensive player of the week selection. Wells-Gibson is the first Bearkats to claim the honor since Julie Franzen won after SHSU’s 1993 conference championship season.

Gray, one of only 29 active head coaches in NCAA Division I women’s volleyball to post more than 500 career victories, to a season of 20 or more victories for the 12th time in her coaching career. The 2012 Sam Houston team rolled up 13 consecutive victories at one point during the march to the conference title. The 13-match winning streak is the longest since SHSU moved up to the Division I level in 1986.

In her 29th year of coaching this year’s honor marks her third “Coach of the Year” award in the Southland Conference. After starting the season 3-7, the Bearkats went 17-3 the rest of the season including 12 three-set sweeps. Her 595 career wins ranked third all-time among Southland Conference volleyball coaches.

Kendall Cleveland joined Wells-Gibson as a first team All-Southland Conference selection. The senior from Houston totaled 389 points with 350 kills (3.53 per set) eight aces and 56 total blocks.

Tayler Gray and Kim Black, both Huntsville High School products, were second team selections. As the Bearkats’ setter, Gray assisted on 1,162 of Sam Houston’s 1,413 kills this year and lead the squad with 383 digs. Black was a force in the middle for the Bearkats, leading the Southland Conference in total blocks (140). She stands No. 2 at Sam Houston in career blocks.

Sam Houston is the No. 2 seed in the Southland Conference post-season tournament this weekend in Conway, Arkansas.

The Bearkats open play Friday at 11 a.m. against No. 7 seed Nicholls State. The tournament semifinals will be played Saturday with the finals at 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon.

2012 Southland Conference Volleyball Superlative Awards
Coach of the Year: Brenda Gray, Sam Houston State
Player of the Year: Deveney Wells-Gibson, Sam Houston State
Freshman of the Year: Courtney Moore, Lamar
Newcomer of the Year: Courtni Bauer, McNeese State
Libero of the Year: Bruna Silva, Oral Robert
Setter of the Year: Marissa Collins, Central Arkansas

First Team
Name School Class Hometown
Deveney Wells-Gibson Sam Houston State So. San Antonio, Texas
Jessica Hays Central Arkansas Sr. Friendswood, Texas
Marissa Collins Central Arkansas Jr. Pearland, Texas
Sheina Fernandes Oral Roberts Sr. Porto Alegre, Brazil
Jill Ivy Stephen F. Austin So. Katy, Texas
Kendall Cleveland Sam Houston State Sr. Houston, Texas
Stacey DiFrancesco Northwestern State So. The Woodlands, Texas
Bruna Silva Oral Roberts Jr. Niteroi, Brazil
Shannon Hullum A&M-Corpus Christi Sr. Van, Texas
Courtney Donald Southeastern La Jr. Tomball, Texas
Keelie Arneson Northwestern St So. Spring, Texas
Alicia Dittrich Central Arkansas So. Houston, Texas

Second Team

Name School Class Hometown
Jennifer Brandt Nicholls State Sr. Wallis, Texas
Tayler Gray Sam Houston State Jr. Huntsville, Texas
Madison Hanlan Stephen F. Austin Sr. Arlington, Texas
Sabrina Burns Stephen F. Austin Sr. McAlester, Okla.
Brooke Alverson Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Jr. Rhome, Texas
Kim Black Sam Houston State Sr. Huntsville, Texas

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