OBU collects numerous all-conference volleyball awards

Oklahoma Baptist Athletics
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RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. – Kaylee Buell was named Great American Conference Setter of the Year, Avery Hellmuth was picked as GAC Freshman of the Year and Anna Howle was selected GAC Coach of the Year for the second straight season as eight total Oklahoma Baptist volleyball student-athletes were honored by the GAC on Wednesday afternoon.

Malia Leatherland, along with Buell, were First Team selections, while Diana Carranza and Taneyah Brown were named to the Second Team. Audrey Poupard earned a spot on the Honorable Mention squad.

Buell, a redshirt junior from Ponder, Texas, had a breakout season for the Bison as she led the GAC in assists per set at 10.27. Buell had 30 or more assists in six contests this season and 40 or more in three matches. She helped lead the OBU to 20th in the country in assists per game at 12.68 and her passing helped OBU finish second in the GAC in kills and hitting percentage.

Hellmuth, a freshman from Dallas, was terrific for OBU all season, making a huge impact on a terrific group of middle blockers who led the country in blocks per set (2.99). Hellmuth was sixth in the GAC in blocks at 0.96, but was also key on the offensive end, finishing sixth in the GAC in hitting percentage (.280) and fourth on the team with 1.88 kills per game.

Leatherland, a senior from Broken Arrow, was one of four unanimous selections on the first team. Leatherland was second in the GAC in points per game (4.32), third in kills per game (3.67), fourth in hitting percentage (.281), and seventh in service aces (0.36). She was the top offensive threat all season long for OBU, finishing with double-digit kills seven times as well as five double-doubles among kills and digs. Leatherland was GAC Offensive Player of the Week earlier in the year.

Carranza, senior from Lima, Peru, was one of the top liberos in the GAC as she led an incredible defense all season long. When the Bison weren't blocking shots, Carranza was there to dig them out, leading the team and finishing seventh in the GAC in digs at 5.03. She had double-digit digs eight times this year and had 20 or more three times this season. Carranza was named GAC Defensive Player of the Week earlier in the season.

Brown, a sophomore from Mesquite, Texas, continued to build off an incredible rookie season to earn a nod on the Season Team. She was third in the GAC in blocks (1.09), fourth in the GAC in points (3.70), and ninth in the GAC in kills (2.44) while hitting .244 on the season. Brown had 10 or more kills five times this season and had three or more block assists five times this season. Brown was named GAC Defensive Player of the Week after a 12 block assists performance against Northwestern earlier this year.

Poupard, a sophomore from Celina, Texas, led the GAC in blocks this season at 1.28 blocks per game and was a two-time selection as GAC Defensive Player of the Week. She finished third in the GAC in hitting percentage at .295. 

Howle was named GAC Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season after leading the Bison to an undefeated 15-0 record including the GAC Western Division title. Howle and her staff were instrumental in training as OBU sits in the Top 30 in the nation in four different categories including first in blocks per set (2.99), 20th in assists per set (12.68), 24th in kills per set (13.49) and 27th in hitting percentage (.226).