Volleyball ready for annual celebration banquet
GREELEY -- Northern Colorado Volleyball has announced plans to celebrate the 2011 season with its annual year-end banquet at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 18, in the University of Northern Colorado Panorama Room at the University Center.
The cost of the dinner is $15, and it's open for anyone interested in attending.
RSVPs for the event should be made by Monday, Jan. 9, and be directed to director of volleyball operations Breanna Van Der Most at email@example.com or at 719-648-3594.
The Bears (22-9, 13-3 Big Sky) saw their successful 2011 season end in November with their second trip to the NCAA Tournament in three seasons.
They won their first outright Big Sky Conference regular-season title this year and then swept through Eastern Washington and Portland State in the Big Sky Conference Championships to earn an NCAA Tournament berth, where they drew third-ranked Hawai'i in the first round.
Northern Colorado held leads in each of its three sets with the Rainbow Wahine in Honolulu, but UH was too much to handle overall in the Bears' season-ending loss.
The loss brought to a close a campaign that featured the Bears winning a Big Sky Conference championship for the third straight year. Northern Colorado won the league's postseason crown in 2009, split its regular-season title in 2010 and won both outright this season.
Other achievements of note for the Bears in 2011 were junior Kelley Arnold adding to her already-illustrious career with a unanimous pick for Big Sky Conference Most Valuable Player honors, and true-freshman Andrea Spaustat joining Arnold with a Big Sky First Team selection.
Spaustat, also honored as the league's Freshman of the Year, was just the third Big Sky freshman since 1987 to earn a Big Sky Volleyball First Team honor, joining Portland State's Garyn Schlatter (2010), Montana State's Anne Watts (2000) and Cal State Northridge's Laura Szymanski (1998).
Senior Amanda Arterburn earned a spot on the second team and was tabbed as the league's Libero of the Year and in early December was honored with Northern Colorado's first American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-Region selection since 2002.
Arterburn was joined on the Big Sky second team by junior Marissa Hughes, who earned a Second Team spot for the third time in three seasons.
Benson's program will celebrate those achievements and more at its banquet later this month.