Herd Volleyball Captures All-Region Honors

Colorado Springs, Colo. - The American Volleyball Coaches Association announced its All-Region teams, plus regional coaches of the year, on December 7 including several members of the Thundering Herd volleyball team taking home All-Midwest honors. Sophomore hitter Kelly-Anne Billingy and senior Katie Stein, the Conference USA Player and Setter of the Year recipients, respectively, were named to the All-Midwest Region team. Senior teammate Nickie Sanlin was named honorable mention All-Midwest.

Marshall head coach Mitch Jacobs, who won the C-USA Coach of the Year, took home the Tachikara Midwest Region Coach of the Year award. The Thundering Herd is coming off of one of the most successful seasons in program history after going 26-6 and winning the Conference USA regular season and tournament titles, the Thundering Herd athletic program's first titles in its new league. During the season, Marshall was ranked number one in the Midwest Region poll for the last eight weeks of the season. In addition, the Herd compiled the school's longest winning streak in history with 12 in a row. Marshall advanced to its first NCAA Tournament since 1995, and only second all-time in volleyball. Marshall was also named the ESPN.com National Team of the Week after winning the C-USA Tournament.

Jacobs guided the Herd to its fourth-straight 20-win season and brought home the first regular season championship in volleyball since 1996, when the Herd won the Southern Conference title. Marshall was 15-1 in C-USA play under Jacobs and was able to pull out three-straight 3-2 wins in the C-USA Tournament to earn the Herd's trip to the NCAA Tournament. This is Jacobs' first career Tachikara (the official volleyball of the NCAA) AVCA Midwest Region Coach of the Year honor.

Kelly-Anne Billingy was dominant all season for the Herd. In her sophomore campaign, the Trincity, Trinidad, native was selected as the C-USA Pre-season Player of the Year and she went on to take the league Player of the Year award at the end of the season. Billingy was named AVCA National Player of the Week on Oct. 31 and was also the C-USA Tournament Most Valuable Player. Billingy was in the top five nationally in kills per game all season, finishing with 552 kills on the year, moving her into second place all-time in Marshall history with 1,246 in just two seasons. Last season, Billingy was an AVCA Mideast Region selection and she was the AVCA Mideast Region Freshman of the Year.

Katie Stein etched her name in Marshall volleyball history as one of its greatest players of all-time. This season, Stein was a two-time C-USA Setter of the Week and broke the Marshall career records for service aces and assists. Stein also finished her career in third place in digs at Marshall. This season, Stein was the C-USA Setter of the Year, led Marshall to a top 20 national hitting percentage and was in the top six nationally in assists per game while ranking in the top 15 in service aces per game. She led C-USA in both categories.

Nickie Sanlin emerged as a dominant force for the Herd this season in the middle. The senior from Fairview Heights, Illinois, was a second-team All-Conference USA selection and led the league with a .365 hitting percentage, more than doubling her career hitting percentage coming into the season. Sanlin was also second on the Herd in blocks and had the highest single match hitting percentage in Marshall volleyball history when she hit .857 against Seton Hall, in a game where she had 12 kills on 14 swings.


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