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June 18, 2009

Marcel Lomnicky is Virginia Tech's Athlete of the Year

By: Matt Kovatch

ATHLETE OF THE YEAR - Marcel Lomnicky (men's track and field)

Nitra, Slovakia
Freshman - Thrower

Marcel Lomnicky has recorded a career’s worth of accomplishments in less than six months.

The freshman from Slovakia enrolled in January and practically toyed with the competition from day 1. He wrapped up his first semester at Tech by winning the national championship in the hammer throw at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships held June 10-13 in Fayetteville, Ark.

Lomnicky became the second Tech athlete to win a national championship. Coincidentally, Spyridon Jullien, a former thrower himself, won four national championships; claming back-to-back national titles in both the weight throw and the hammer throw in 2005 and 2006.

As a result of his accomplishment, Lomnicky is Inside Hokie Sports’ 2008-2009 athlete of the year. Lomnicky automatically received the magazine’s nod by virtue of winning a national championship.

He becomes the first athlete of the year since the athletics department changed the format of its publication from a newspaper to a magazine. Athletes of the year were named during the newspaper’s days and the list of winners included Angela Tincher (twice), Jullien (twice), Kevin Jones, Bryant Matthews, Lee Suggs, André Davis, Corey Moore, Katie Ollendick, Jim Druckenmiller and Cornell Brown.

Lomnicky, though, may have been the most dominating of any of the past winners. He won two ACC championships, an NCAA East Regional championship and the national title during his first six months in Blacksburg.

At the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, the 5-foot-9, 220-pound Lomnicky won the hammer throw with a toss of 235 feet, 6 inches – the best throw of his career. He easily bested LSU’s Walter Henning, who came in second with a toss of 232 feet.

“Marcel has been consistent all year long, and has been a great competitor,” Tech Director of Track and Field Dave Cianelli said. “It is a special thing, winning a national title, because it doesn’t happen all the time, and hopefully there are more in the future for him.”

He excelled all spring in his specialty – the hammer throw. He captured the ACC title at the conference’s outdoor meet with a winning toss of 232 feet, 1 inch, defeating the runner-up by nearly 45 feet. He just missed the ACC record held by Jullien by less than two feet.

At the NCAA East Regional outdoor meet, Lomnicky won again, this time with a throw of 232 feet, 5 inches and bettering his ACC-winning toss by three inches. He scored 10 points for the Hokies and led them to a seventh-place team finish.

During the indoor season, Lomnicky surprised everyone by winning the ACC crown in the weight throw. He had never tried the event until arriving at Tech, but quickly picked up the technique.

He won the ACC title in the weight throw with a toss of 68 feet, 7 inches and then earned All-America honors at the NCAA Indoor Championships when he finished eighth with a toss of 68 feet, 10.5 inches, a mark that ranks fourth all time at Tech. The NCAA meet marked just his third indoor competition of the season.

MEN’S BASKETBALL - #40 A.D. Vassallo

Toa Baja, Puerto Rico
Senior - Forward

The men’s basketball team lost several close games this past season, but the Hokies managed to get to the National Invitation Tournament and a lot of the credit goes to A.D. Vassallo.

Vassallo enjoyed a banner season, averaging 19.1 points per game and earning third-team All-ACC honors. He shot 45 percent from the floor, 37 percent from beyond the 3-point arc and 83.5 percent from the free-throw line. He led the team in scoring, field goals (232) and 3-pointers (83) and finished second on the team in rebounding (6.2 rpg). He also tied for or led the team in scoring 17 times.

His best game of the season came in the NIT. He scored a career-high 33 points, hitting 10-of-19 from the floor and all 10 of his free-throw attempts in Tech’s 116-108 double-overtime victory over Duquesne in the first round. The game marked his second 30-plus point game, and he also scored 20 or more points on 17 occasions.

This past season, Vassallo also set the Tech record for career 3-pointers with 267, breaking Wally Lancaster’s old mark of 257 from 1986-89. He completed his Tech career fifth in scoring and placed his name among tremendous players such as Bimbo Coles, Dell Curry, Dale Solomon and Perry Young.

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL - #15 Utahya Drye

Durham, N.C.
Junior - Forward

Though Drye was not named to any of the postseason All-ACC teams, her statistics suggest that she should have at least received honorable mention status. A natural small forward who mostly played in the post because the Hokies lacked big bodies, Drye finished the regular season ranked 10th in the league in scoring with 14.1 points per contest, 15th in rebounding at 6.5 boards per game, and 13th in both field-goal percentage (.468) and free-throw percentage (.734).

Her scoring and rebounding averages, as well as her free-throw percentage, led the team, and she finished second in steals with 1.6 per contest. She paced the team in either scoring or rebounding in 20 of the team’s 30 games, including both on six occasions, and she recorded a team-high three double-doubles, missing out on four others by just one rebound.

Her best performance came on Feb. 2 in an overtime win over USC Upstate when she nearly put together a triple-double, tallying career highs of 30 points, 16 rebounds and seven steals.

Drye has probably been so consistent and reliable in the box score because she’s been so durable in terms of playing time. She’s the only Hokie who has appeared in every game over the past two seasons (she also played in all 34 games as a freshman), and she has started 60 consecutive games. In fact, she ranked fourth in the conference this past season by averaging 34.6 minutes played per contest.

MEN'S CROSS COUNTRY - Devin Cornwall

Culpeper, Va.

The men’s cross country team had its best season in recent memory in 2008, highlighting the fall with a third-place team finish at the ACC Championships – its best finish since joining the conference in 2004. The success was largely due to the performance of Cornwall, who along with senior Billy Berlin, became one of just three Hokies who have earned all-conference honors since 1999.

Cornwall, who finished third overall at that meet, was the top Hokie finisher at four of the five meets in which he competed this year. He finished fifth at the Virginia Tech Invitational on Sept. 19, but topped that three weeks later by placing first at the Highland Duel in Boone, N.C.

On Oct. 18 at the Chile Pepper Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark. – the longest and largest race of the year at 10 kilometers with 257 competitors – Cornwall finished 15th, a full 20 places better than the next best Hokie.

The only race in which Cornwall was not the best Tech finisher was the NCAA Southeast Regional held at Tanglewood Park in Clemmons, N.C. The junior took 26th individually – three places behind teammate Phil Padilla – but his performance helped the Hokies to a seventh-place team finish, which matched their finish from 2007.

Cornwall capped his season by getting named to the All-ACC academic team for the second time, joining teammates and first-time honorees Michael Hammond and Padilla.


Charlottesville, Va.

Fanning might have been named the overall athlete of the year had she not redshirted during both the indoor and outdoor track and field seasons, but her cross country season alone at least put her in the conversation.

On Nov. 24 at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, Fanning finished the six-kilometer race third in a career-best time of 19 minutes, 37.1 seconds to earn All-America honors for the second time. She finished 12th in 2007, but her third-place finish this past season left her a mere nine seconds shy of being the national champion. It was the highest finish at the NCAA Championships for a Hokie runner in school history. The previous best on the women’s side was Fanning’s 2007 performance, and the former best finish overall belonged to Steve Taylor, who placed ninth in the men’s race 1987.

But the national championship race was just the last in an amazing three-meet stretch for Fanning. Just nine days prior, she captured first place at the NCAA Southeast Regional in Clemmons, S.C., crossing the finish line in 20:07.8 to become the first Hokie – male or female – to win an NCAA regional meet. It was her fourth consecutive all-region performance, and it came on the coattails of a second-place showing at the ACC Championships on Nov. 1. Fanning actually led the ACC race with 50 meters to go, but wound up losing by six-tenths of a second to reigning champion Susan Kuijken of Florida State. Had Fanning held on for the win, it would have been the first individual conference championship for a Hokie female since 1991.

Fanning also dominated the other three races in which she competed, winning both the Virginia Tech Invitational on Sept. 19 and the Highland Duel on Oct. 3, and finishing second at the Chile Pepper Invitational on Oct. 18.

FOOTBALL - #32 Darren Evans

Indianapolis, Ind.
r-freshman - Tailback

The football athlete of the year honor came down to two players – Evans and Macho Harris. In the end, Evans’ numbers were too impressive to ignore.

The tailback rushed for 1,265 yards this past season, setting the Tech single-season record by a freshman and finishing fourth on Tech’s all-time single-season list. He ran the ball 287 times, which ranks second on the all-time single-season list (Cyrus Lawrence, 325 carries, 1981), and he averaged 4.4 yards per carry. He also scored a team-high 11 rushing touchdowns. For good measure, he caught 17 passes for 117 yards.

Evans burst onto the scene in Tech’s win over Maryland on a Thursday night at Lane Stadium. He rushed for a Tech record 253 yards on 32 carries and scored a touchdown. The 253 ya

rds broke the former record held by Mike Imoh, who rushed for 243 yards in the Hokies’ win over North Carolina in 2004.

Evans also came up big in the Hokies’ two biggest games of the season – the ACC championship game and the Orange Bowl. He rushed for 114 yards on 31 carries and scored a touchdown in Tech’s win over BC in the ACC title game, and he finished the season with a 153-yard performance on 28 carries in the Hokies’ victory over Cincinnati in the Orange Bowl.

Evans was named to the All-Freshman All-America team by The Sporting News last December.

GOLF - Drew Weaver

High Point, N.C.

Drew Weaver placed himself squarely on golf’s map when he won the British Amateur nearly two years ago, and this season, he wrapped up his career with arguably his best season – and certainly his most consistent one.

This season, Weaver recorded four top-five finishes, seven top-10 finishes and nine top-20 finishes in 11 tournaments. He finished second on two occasions, the first coming at the Brickyard Collegiate Championship held in Macon, Ga., and the second coming at Pinehurst Intercollegiate by Gatorade held in Pinehurst, N.C. He came in fifth at the ACC Championships in Baden Lake, N.C., where he shot 6-under-par. He also shot 6-under at the Puerto Rico Classic to finish in 10th place in that tournament.

Weaver’s career came to an end at the NCAA Austin Regional in Austin, Texas. He led the Hokies by shooting 8-over-par to finish in 12th place. He finished 12 strokes behind Lance Lopez of Texas, who claimed medalist honors.

For the season, he played 29 rounds, with a low round of 66, and 19 of those rounds were under par. His final round average of 71.5 led the team.

LACROSSE - #5 Rachel Culp

Kent, Ohio
Senior - Attack/Midfield

Culp wrapped up an outstanding career at Tech with a marvelous senior season in which she earned All-ACC honors, becoming just the third Tech lacrosse player to do so (Kady McBrearty, 2005-08, and Lindsay Pieper, 2004-2007). During the Hokies’ three-game winning streak from March 28 to April 7, she averaged five goals per game and set a new career high with eight goals in a win over American. She also tied her career high with nine points in that contest.

In a win over Davidson, she finished with seven goals and two assists, and in the Hokies’ win over Boston College – Tech’s first ACC victory – she scored six goals. She scored the game-tying goal in the waning moments against BC and then added the game winner in overtime.

She scored a team-best 54 goals and added 16 assists for the season, leading the conference in points per game (4.27). Culp’s goal in the Hokies’ loss to Virginia in the ACC tournament quarterfinals marked the 119th of her career, the second-best total in school history.

WRESTLING - Jarrod Garnett

Newark, Del.
Freshman - 125 pounds

Perhaps no team at Virginia Tech made a more surprising turnaround this past year than the wrestling team, which went from 7-9 in 2008 to 20-2 – and ACC regular-season champions – in 2009. A lot of the credit can be directed toward Garnett, who burst onto the scene as a rookie, winning ACC Freshman of the Year honors.

Garnett finished his first campaign as the nation’s No. 12 wrestler in the 125-pound weight class in the final InterMat/NWCA/NWMA individual rankings. The Newark, Del., native posted a 38-8 overall dual meet record in addition to his unbeaten mark in ACC regular-season bouts.

After a second-place finish in his weight class at the ACC Championships, Garnett went just 2-2 at the NCAA Championships, but he won more than his fair share of big matches during the season. He opened his career by going 5-0 to win his bracket at the N.C. State Wolfpack Open, beating then-No.12 Nikko Triggas of Ohio State in the semifinals. He went on to beat three more top-15 opponents to begin his career 15-0.

All said, Garnett led the Hokies on the year with nine major decision victories and 10 falls, and he finished second on the squad with five technical falls. His 38 wins on the season ranks fourth on Tech’s all-time single-season list, and his 17 dual meets wins ranks tied for fifth.

MEN'S SOCCER - #6 James Gilson

Greenwood Lake, N.Y.
Junior - Defender/Midfielder

The men’s soccer team struggled through a 5-13-1 campaign in 2008, but it was by no fault of Gilson. Mostly a defensive-minded player throughout his first two seasons, Gilson was the team’s biggest offensive threat as a junior. He led the squad with 16 points, four assists and 34 shots, and tied Emmanuel Akogyeram for the team lead with six goals. In addition, he was second on the team in both games started (18) and minutes played (1,574).

Gilson was especially valuable in ACC contests, as he tallied nine points – more than double the output of any other Hokie – on four goals and an assist. Among his season highlights were a two-goal performance against No. 10 and eventual national runner-up North Carolina, and a penalty kick game-winner in the 88th minute over George Washington.

Penalty kicks were an area of expertise for Gilson, as he was called on to shoot all four of the Hokies’ bonus shots this year. He converted on three of them, which was more than five other teams in the ACC converted as a whole.

Gilson also got it done in the classroom, as he was named to both the All-ACC Academic Team and the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District III second team. He also earned NSCAA/adidas Scholar All-East Region honorable mention honors.

WOMEN'S SOCCER - #10 Emily Jukich

Clifton, Va.
Junior - Forward

The women’s soccer team enjoyed what was arguably the best season in school history in 2008, advancing all the way to the ACC title game before earning an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. Much of that success was thanks to Jukich, who was named second-team All-ACC, second-team All-Mid-Atlantic and first-team all-state after tallying a career-high 15 goals – a figure that tied for third best in the conference.

The 15 goals gave Jukich a total of 25 for her career, which already ranks atop Virginia Tech’s all-time list. She amassed the second-highest single-season total in program history after ripping off 68 shots, a number that ranked seventh in the league.

Of the Hokies’ 10 wins, the 5-foot-4 Jukich notched the game-winner in five of them, including the clincher in the 89th minute of a 1-0 victory over Maryland. Oddly enough, though, Jukich did not score in bunches, only scoring twice in a game on two occasions. Rather, she was remarkably consistent, putting together both a four-game scoring streak and a five-game scoring streak on separate occasions.

Jukich’s efforts allowed her to become only the second Hokie to be named to the All-Mid-Atlantic Region second team (Ashley Stinson, 2004) and the second Hokie to be named to the All-ACC second team (Marika Gray, 2007). In addition, Jukich was tabbed an All-ACC Academic Team honoree, as well as a member of the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District III second team. Her goal against No. 12 Virginia in the conference semifinals also earned her a spot on the ACC All-Tournament Team.


Annandale, Va.
Junior - Diver

McDonald has been the foundation of the men’s swimming and diving team for the past two years now, having been the only H2Okie to score points at the NCAA Championships in either of the past two seasons. The diver heads into his senior year as a four-time honorable mention All-American after placing 14th in the 1-meter dive and tying for 15th in the 3-meter dive in 2009. That performance came one year after he finished 11th in the 1-meter dive and 15th in the platform dive. He also participated in the platform dive in 2009, but he placed 23rd.

McDonald earned his way into the NCAA Championships after an impressive performance at the NCAA Zone B qualifier in Knoxville, Tenn., placing fifth in both the 1- and 3-meter events, where he competed against an Olympian, two world championship competitors and two former NCAA champions.

Among the school records set this season by McDonald were his score of 397.90 points in the 1-meter dive at the ACC Championships on Feb. 20 and his score of 357.40 points in the platform dive at the same meet on Feb. 21. Both scores earned him third place, and thus, garnered him the third and fourth All-ACC nods of his career. McDonald just missed out on another all-conference accolade when he placed fourth at the ACC Championships in the 3-meter dive with a score of 403.90.


McGaheysville, Va.
Senior - Freestyle/Butterfly/Individual Medley

Smith recently concluded a banner career with the H2Okies, leading the women’s squad to a best-ever third-place finish at the ACC Championships in February. She did so by claiming two individual titles – one in the 50 freestyle and the other in the 100 freestyle – giving her five conference titles for her career, plus one as a member of the 200 medley relay in 2008.

Both titles were won after she set new conference (and school) records in each event’s respective preliminary race, essentially making Smith the fastest female swimmer in ACC history. She touched the wall in the 50 free final in 22.14 seconds, one day after setting the new league best with a time of 21.96 seconds in the prelim. Her time of 48.39 seconds in the 100 free final came after setting the new standard in the prelim in 48.10 seconds.

Smith entered the NCAA Championships in mid-March having been an All-American in the 100 free in 2007 and a four-time honorable mention All-American over her career in both individual and relay events. She added to that total in her final collegiate meet with two more honorable mention nods, tying for 11th in the 50 free and placing 15th as a member of the 400 free relay team.

Smith finished her career as the school record holder in both the 50 and 100 free, as well as in four different relay events.


Verdun, Quebec, Canada

Re was the lone Virginia Tech men’s tennis player to qualify for the 2009 NCAA Division I Men’s Tennis Singles Championships, entering the tournament on May 20 as the 55th-ranked player in the nation by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. Though he dropped a 6-3, 6-0 decision to Illinois’ 39th-ranked Dennis Nevolo, it was just a small blip in what was otherwise a fantastic season.

Re concluded the year with a record of 20-12 in singles matches, including a 4-1 mark in ACC dual matches. Re played primarily at the No. 1 position, which he earned after a huge upset in early February when he stunned the nation’s then-sixth-ranked player – No. 1 Ohio State’s Justin Kronauge – 6-2, 6-4. But it didn’t stop there. Re went on to win his first 11 matches, including another upset over the nation’s new sixth-ranked player. This time, it was Virginia’s Dominic Inglot, a three-time All-American who eventually wound up as one-half of the 2009 NCAA doubles champions. Re was honored as the ACC Player of the Week twice during his 11-match winning streak.

Re missed all of April with a broken collarbone suffered at Miami on March 29, but he still earned a spot on the All-ACC team and returned to action for the Hokies’ opening-round contest of the NCAA Tournament against UNC Wilmington, winning his bout to help Tech to the second round.

Re also excelled in doubles, accumulating a 21-11 record throughout the season, including a 15-10 mark with fellow Canadian Sebastien Jacques.

WOMEN'S TENNIS - Inga Beermann

Bad Salzuflen, Germany

Beermann recently concluded a stellar career for the women’s tennis team, ending the season as the lone Hokie to record a point in Tech’s 4-1 loss to Wake Forest at the ACC Championships on April 16. She knocked off 56th-ranked Sasha Kuilkova 4-6, 6-1, 6-0, and it was just the latest in a long line of victories that saw her end her career ranked fourth on Tech’s all-time singles wins list.

The native of Germany finished her career with an 81-57 record, with nearly all of those decisions coming from the No. 1 position, from which she went 10-12 in dual match play in 2009. In addition to her dual match record, Beermann went 7-3 in tournament singles action to finish the year 17-15 overall. She peaked at No. 125 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings.

Beermann also made a splash throughout her career in doubles action and goes into the Tech record books tied for second all time with 75 wins. She teamed with Tech’s top freshman, Martha Blakely, in 2008-09 and the duo went 21-14 overall, including a team-best 6-5 in ACC play.

For her efforts, Beermann was named the team’s most valuable performer, as well as the team’s strength and conditioning athlete of the year, at the Virginia Tech All-Sports Banquet in May.


Zagreb, Croatia
Sophomore - Thrower

Dorotea Habazin is not a household name among Virginia Tech fans, but she certainly should be. On a talented women’s track and field team that finished the season nationally ranked in the top 20, she may have been the team’s best performer.

She closed out her strong season by earning All-America honors with a fourth-place finish in the hammer throw at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Fayetteville, Ark., on June 12. Her throw of 214 feet, 11 inches enabled her to capture the honor.

Habazin also won two ACC titles and an NCAA East Regional title this season. She won the East Regional title in the hammer throw with a toss of 207 feet, 11 inches. Following that meet, she earned the Southeast Region Women’s Field Athlete of the Year honor, as given by the United States Track and Field Coaches Association.

Her performance at the NCAA regional, which qualified her for the national meet, came on the heels of her performance at the ACC Outdoor Championships. At that meet, she won with a toss of 209 feet, 2 inches. She improved on her season-best toss by more than seven feet with that throw.

During the indoor season, Habazin just missed out on All-America honors in the weight throw event. At the NCAA Championships, she finished ninth, just one spot from All-America honors. She threw the weight 65 feet, 2 inches, and was the lone ACC thrower in the meet.

At the conference’s indoor meet, she won the weight throw event with a toss of 64 feet, 2.5 inches. The victory marked her first indoor conference crown.

BASEBALL - #26 Steve Domecus

Novato, Calif.
r-Junior - Left field/Catcher

Sophomore Austin Wates made a late push for the baseball team’s player of the year with a sizzling final few weeks, but Domecus gets the nod after becoming the first Hokie to hit over .400 since 1997. The left fielder/catcher finished the regular season with a .406 average, which at the time, led the ACC. He was voted to the All-ACC second team for his efforts, becoming the first Hokie to earn postseason honors since Tech joined the conference prior to the 2005 season.

A broken bone was discovered in his right hand in late April, forcing him to miss nearly all of the season’s final 13 games. At the time of the injury, however, he was leading the team with 42 runs batted in, a .593 slugging percentage, a .482 on-base percentage, 20 multiple-hit games and 13 multiple-RBI games.

Domecus arrived in Blacksburg as a transfer from Moorpark Junior College in Moorpark, Calif., and immediately became the Hokies’ most consistent and reliable player at the plate. He proved that by stringing together a 24-game hitting streak from Feb. 27 through April 10, which ranked as the longest streak in the ACC this season. In fact, it was only eight games shy of the school record 32-game streak recorded by Tim Buheller in 1985.

Domecus also thrived in a category that might not take that much skill, but which was impressive nonetheless. He was hit by 16 pitches in 40 games played, which ranked 12th in the nation at the time on a per-game basis.

SOFTBALL - #15 Jenna Rhodes

Broadway, Va.
Senior - Outfield/Designated Player

Rhodes turned in the best season by a Hokie softball player since, well, Angela Tincher in 2008. But in all seriousness, what the Hokies’ leadoff hitter did in 2009 was arguably the best offensive season Virginia Tech softball has ever seen.

Rhodes batted .474 during her final year in Blacksburg, a number good enough to rank sixth nationally in batting average. She also finished second nationally in hits (91), second in stolen bases per game (0.88) and third in stolen bases (49).

Her batting average and stolen base figures set new single-season program records, aiding in her finishing her career as the Hokies’ all-time leader in both categories (.384 batting average and 114 career stolen bases). The .474 batting average obliterated the old mark of .376 set by Michelle Meadows in 1997, while the .384 career average was 37 points higher than Meadows’ old mark of .347. The 49 steals broke her own record of 41 set last season, while her 114 career steals was one more than her sister, Callie, swiped from 2003-07.

For her efforts, Rhodes was awarded with a slew of honors. She was named to the All-ACC first team after garnering second-team honors as a junior. She was then tabbed as a member of the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Louisville Slugger Division I Mid-Atlantic Region Team for the second consecutive season. From there, the slap hitter went on to earn NFCA third-team All-America honors, as well as Player of the Year accolades by the Virginia Sports Information Directors. Finally, she was a second-team Academic All-America selection by the College Sports Information Directors of America.

Rhodes went on to sign a contract with the Rockford Thunder of the National Pro Fastpitch League, the same league in which Tincher and former Tech catcher Kelsey Hoffman play for the Akron Racers.

VOLLEYBALL - #15 Felicia Willoughby

Pleasanton, Calif.
Sophomore - Middle Blocker

An influx of freshmen helped the 2008 Virginia Tech volleyball squad to its best season since joining the ACC, but leading the way all along was the consistency of Willoughby. The 6-foot middle blocker’s breakout season came during her own freshman year in 2007, but she showed no signs of slowing down as a sophomore, racking up team highs of 326 kills and 117 blocks.

As a result, she won nearly every honor imaginable, highlighted by an honorable mention All-America nod from the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA). She became just the second Hokie in program history to earn that distinction, joining Katie Esbrook from 2006.

Willoughby also joined Esbrook as the only Hokies in history to garner AVCA All-East Region honors and All-ACC first-team accolades. She was also named to the Virginia Sports Information Directors all-state first team for good measure.

In addition to her impressive kill and block totals, Willoughby finished the year with a hitting percentage of .402, a mark that not only led the ACC by 11 points, but that also smashed the Tech single-season record of .357 set by Julie Neely way back in 1986. It was the ninth-best hitting percentage in the nation this season.

Among ACC matches only, the Pleasanton, Calif., native ranked sixth in the conference with 1.08 blocks per set and 10th in the conference with 3.04 kills per set. Her overall marks of 2.83 kills per set and 1.02 blocks per set led the team, as she accounted for just over 50 percent of Tech’s total blocks and 22 percent of the Hokies’ total kills.