Dec. 10, 2013
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LEXINGTON, Ky. – Senior Samantha Peters, junior Deedra Foss and sophomore Adrianna Culbert were recognized by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) on Tuesday, being named to the All-Pacific North Region Team. Additionally, Head Coach Tom Hilbert was named the Pacific North Region Coach of the Year, marking his second regional honor in the past three seasons. The selections were compiled by votes from each region’s head coaches.
CSU has had multiple all-region selections each season since 2007, but the three marks the most since 2009. Just 16 other schools nationally had at least three selections. Dating back to 1987, CSU has had 42 total honorees.
New this year, two additional regions were added, and teams were realigned in order to balance the elite talent across the nation. In addition to half of the Mountain West, the Pacific North Region includes teams from the Big Sky, Big West, Pac-12 and West Coast.
All-region teams are also now specialized by position, with the 14-member teams including five outside hitters, three middle blockers, two setters, one libero/defensive specialist and three at-large selections. Previously, the top 14 players, regardless of position, were selected.
Adrianna Culbert | SOPHOMORE | OPPOSITE HITTER| DELTON, MICH.
Culbert is one of three sophomores recognized in the Pacific North Region, and just the fourth CSU sophomore to ever be honored. She averaged 2.52 kills per set on .304 hitting for the Rams’ offense, while also chipping in with 2.78 digs. She was twice named the Mountain West Women’s Volleyball Player of the Week, and earlier this month was named to the All-Mountain West team.
“This is a really big accomplishment and honor to be put in the same category with all of the other great players in our region," Culbert said. "It’s awesome to have Sam and Deej represented, as well.”
She recorded 10 or more kills 15 times this season, including a season-high 23 at Denver, and reached double figures in digs on 16 occasions, including eight double-doubles.
"When you look at the numbers Dri put up, her efficiency is great," Hilbert said. "She makes good decisions, and she can do the other things, too; she plays all the way around, she passes, she serves, she can hit out of the back row.“
DEEDRA FOSS | JUNIOR | SETTER | MCKENNA, WASH.
Foss concluded her junior season with 1,282 total assists, an average of 11.76 per set. The assists-per-set average ranks 10th nationally, and first among setters in the Pacific North Region. She is one of the most versatile setters in the nation, hitting .409 and averaging 0.82 blocks per set (both rank first among setters in the Pacific North Region), 0.29 aces per set (third), and 0.81 kills per set (third). As a team, CSU ranks sixth nationally with a .299 hitting percentage, in large part due to Foss’ ability to effectively run the offense, which graduated its top three attackers from a season ago.
"It’s a big honor," she said. :My teammates help me be better, and Tom’s a great coach who really pushes me. It’s exciting to be represented.”
Earlier this month she was recognized as the Mountain West Setter of the Year, her second consecutive all-conference selection. Foss will enter her senior season ranked sixth in CSU history for career assists.
“Deej distributed the ball well, and she really did a good job match-to-match figuring out who was hot and who had good matchups, and she executed," Hilbert said. "She’s a quick learner, she can adjust and she’s just a player. She understands the game, and she’s good at all facets of it. She’s a good server, she blocks well, she can defend, all that.”
Samantha Peters | SENIOR | MIDDLE BLOCKER | ENGLEWOOD, COLO.
Peters, the 2013 Mountain West Women’s Volleyball Player of the Year, ranks in the top 25 nationally in both blocks per set (1.42) and hitting percentage (.402), both of which rank third among Pacific North Region players. She is one of four players in the country to average at least 1.4 blocks per set while hitting above .400.
"Being in my last season, I feel very honored to be part of a great team and to be recognized for our accomplishments," she said. "I didn’t exactly know what to expect coming off the scout team to a starting position, but this has been more than I ever could have asked for.
“I’m also incredibly excited for Deedra and Dri, and that Tom got Coach of the Year. It just further demonstrates how outstanding we are in all facets of the game.”
Her .402 hitting percentage ranks fifth in CSU single-season history. Additionally, Peters was one of the Rams’ top attackers, averaging 2.51 kills and 3.30 points per set. Her accomplishments come during her first year starting, after recording just 26 kills over the past two seasons with the Rams.
“You look at what she did statistically, and she was a major contributor for our team in every match we played," Hilbert said. "I’m really, really impressed by her. To do that in your first year as a starter is unheard of, and it shows that she’s a great player, that she was ready to make that move, and that she got better while playing under some great middles. It’s a great story; it shows that you can become very good as a player coming off the bench with hard work.”
TOM HILBERT | 17TH SEASON | HEAD COACH | NORMAN, OKLA.
Hilbert was recognized as the best coach in his region for the fifth time in his career, and the second time in the past three seasons (also 1993, 1994 and 1995 with Idaho, and 2011 at CSU). The veteran coach led the Rams to a fifth consecutive Mountain West title in 2013, despite it being labeled as a rebuilding year and not being picked to win the league in the annual preseason poll. CSU graduated four of its 2012 starters, which accounted for 68 percent of its offense, 61 percent of its blocking, 48 percent of its service aces and 48 percent of its digs.
Instead of a rebuilding year, however, Hilbert turned 2013 into one of the most successful in program history, winning a program-record 27 consecutive matches to begin the season and finishing with an all-time best winning percentage of .933. The Rams cracked the AVCA Coaches Division I Top 25 Poll for the first time on Sept. 16, where they remained for the rest of the season, spending five weeks in the top 10, its highest national rank since 2004.
“I am honored to be voted for something like this," Hilbert said. "It’s an award that the whole staff gets, because we worked to make a brand-new group of kids go 28-2. In the long run, coaching is talent management, and we had a good plan, and it worked.”
Hilbert, the 2013 Mountain West Coach of the Year, earned his 600th career victory in November, becoming the 10th coach in NCAA women’s volleyball history with 600 victories and a winning percentage above .770. The Rams also set a program record in 2013, averaging 3,282 fans per match, a figure which ranks sixth nationally.
In Hilbert’s 17 years in Fort Collins, the Rams have won their conference’s regular-season title 12 times, and have advanced to the NCAA tournament each season.
Culbert, Foss and Peters will now await All-America selections, which will be announced on Wednesday, Dec. 18. Of the 140 players named to an all-region team, 42 will be named All-American. Eleven players have earned 13 total All-America awards in CSU history, a figure which ranks 17th nationally. CSU has earned three selections in the past two years.
Hilbert, a finalist for National Coach of the Year, will be honored next week at the AVCA Coaches Convention/Final Four in Seattle, Wash.