CSU's Cranston earns AVCA All-America honors

Dana Cranston became the 11th individual in CSU volleyball history to be named an AVCA All-American.

Dana Cranston became the 11th individual in CSU volleyball history to be named an AVCA All-American.

Dec. 12, 2012

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LOUISVILLE, Ky.--Colorado State volleyball senior Dana Cranston capped a stellar senior season with the sport's pinnacle individual honor, being named an All-American. Cranston was named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) third team on Wednesday. Seniors Brieon Paige and Megan Plourde earned honorable mention recognition.

CSU now has 11 All-America winners, totaling 13 awards. Just 17 programs across the country have earned as many All-America awards as CSU has. Additionally, the Rams have now had three All-America selections in the past two seasons after going three years without recognition.

"This is such a humbling and amazing honor," Cranston said. "It shows the success of our program, and that we are doing things the right way here. I'm so happy the program, university and my teammates get recognized through this."

Cranston joins Sherri Danielson (1984 first team, 1985 second team), Diane Saba (1987 first team), Angela Knox (1987 second team), Catie Vagneur (1999 second team), Courtney Cox (2000 second team), Angela Knopf (2000 and 2001 first teams), Soraya Santos (2001 second team), Mekana Barnes (2007 third team), Plourde (2011 third team) and Katelyn Steffan (2011 third team) as CSU's all-time honorees.

CSU has also earned 15 AVCA All-America honorable mentions, in addition to four Volleyball Magazine All-America honors (plus four honorable mentions).

"We've earned a lot of recognition over the years, and that's a reflection on how our team has done," Head Coach Tom Hilbert said. "A lot of the players who have made All-America teams from CSU aren't always the most highly recruited players, so I'm proud of the fact that we've been able to develop them into high caliber players.

DANA CRANSTON ● SENIOR ● OUTSIDE HITTER ● FORT ST. JOHN, B.C.
In late November, Cranston earned her second All-Mountain West selection and was named the 2012 Mountain West Women's Volleyball Player of the Year. As a senior, she led the Rams in kills (3.62 per set) and points (4.28), which both rank second in the MW. Additionally, her conference hitting percentage of .277 ranked first among outside hitters and her 0.31 aces per set in league play was second overall. A versatile six-rotation player, Cranston also placed in the top four on her team in digs, blocks and assists.

She took on the majority of the load for the Rams' offense, leading CSU in kills 19 times, and recording double digits in kills on 22 occasions. Battling for a fourth consecutive MW title, CSU had to win its final eight games of the season in order to do so. During that stretch, Cranston had 17 kills or more in five of those contests.

Away from the court, Cranston is a finalist for the prestigious Senior CLASS Award, which honors senior student athletes who excel on the court, in the classroom, in the community and have great character. She is a three-time Academic All-District selection, and is included on the Capital One Academic All-America ballot (which will be announced on Thursday). Cranston spent the summer prior to her junior season training with Team Canada, her country's top national team.

"It's been special to watch Dana develop as a player," Hilbert said. "She wasn't an all-conference selection her first two seasons, earned all-conference as a junior, and then as a senior is the league's player of the year and an All-American. She continued to improve herself each year. She's a great player and a great person, and I'm very proud of her and happy for her."

PLOURDE ● SENIOR ● MIDDLE BLOCKER ● SOMERSET, WIS.
Plourde, one of the top players in program history, has now earned recognition from the AVCA each season of her career, including a third-team selection in 2011 and three honorable mentions (2009, 2010 and 2012). She is the only player in CSU and Mountain West history to do so. Plourde also was named a Volleyball Magazine All-American in 2011.

In 2012, the middle blocker averaged 1.53 blocks per set, which ranks eighth nationally. Her .358 hitting percentage ranks in the top 50 and first in the MW. Plourde also placed second on the team with 2.91 kills per set. She is a four-time All-Mountain West selection and in September was named the Sports Imports/AVCA Division I National Player of the Week.

For her career, Plourde totaled 613 total blocks, second in program history. What's more, her 1.47 blocks-per-set average ranks second, and her 584 career block assists are a program record. She also tied a CSU mark with 1.71 blocks per set in 2011, which led the nation. She is one of two players in CSU history to record 1,000 kills and 600 blocks.

"Meg is consistent," Hilbert said. "She knows how to play well, especially in the most critical moments and against good competition. She had a fantastic senior season and a great career. Once you're an All-American you're always an All-American. She can say that for the rest of her life."

PAIGE ● SENIOR ● MIDDLE BLOCKER ● FRESNO, CALIF.

Like Cranston, Paige earned her second All-Mountain West selection in 2012. She finished the season averaging 2.57 kills and 0.97 blocks per set on .357 hitting. During MW play, she led the conference in hitting percentage (.391) and ranked eighth in blocks (1.09 per set). She hit above .400 in 12 matches this season.

During her four years at CSU, she hit .343, sixth in CSU history. She was also a 2011 COBRA Magazine All-American. During the summer leading up to her senior season, she spent two weeks with the Team USA A2 team, earning a gold medal.

"Of all of the seniors, Brieon may have been the one who improved the most from last year to this year," Hilbert said. "She became the type of offensive force that we've been wanting her to be. She was a player that a lot of teams game planned against. She's as good as anybody on our team."


For the season the Rams finished with a record of 21-8, winning their fourth consecutive Mountain West title and advancing to the NCAA tournament for the 18th straight season--the seventh-longest active streak in the country. Cranston, Paige, Plourde and Izzy Gaulia, CSU's other senior in 2012, became four of seven players in program history to win a conference championship all four years of their careers.

Cranston will join Hilbert and the volleyball coaching staff at this week's NCAA Final Four in Louisville, Ky., and will be honored Friday at the AVCA All-America/Players of the Year Banquet.

In all, a record-tying eight Mountain West student-athletes were honored, including: Cranston; Johnna Fouch, San Diego State; Andrea Hannasch, San Diego State; Liz Harden, Boise State; Paige; Plourde; Jodi Purdy, Wyoming; Chantale Riddle, New Mexico.

The selections were made by the AVCA Division I All-America Committee: Molly Alvey, Cincinnati; Sherry Dunbar, Indiana; Jennifer Greeny, Washington State; Tonya Johnson, Georgia Tech; Jeff Nelson, New Mexico; Santiago Restrepo, Oklahoma; Lisa Seifert, Southern Methodist; Craig Skinner, Kentucky. The AVCA Awards Chair is Dayton head volleyball coach Kelly Sheffield. Each of the three AVCA All-America teams is comprised of 14 athletes.


 

 

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