NIU volleyball awards

DUNBAR, Wis. – Hanna Cole and Marissa Hawley received “Most Valuable Contribution” at Northland International University’s season-ending women’s volleyball awards program.

Cole, a six-skill player from Pittsburg, Pa, has tremendous court presence.

“She had a very good serve and was the team’s best scorer from the service line,” NIU Coach Dave Herron said of the 5-foot-10 sophomore outside hitter. “She was a very good defensive player as well. A great teammate who made her team mates better.”

Hawley, a second year player from Belleville, Mich., sat out last season. The 5-9 junior played as a middle hitter and was often outsized.

Hawley was the team’s best scorer on the net. She led the Pioneers in kills and aces.

In other awards:

Kristi St Amaud, most improved – A soccer player from Davidson, Mich., who came into the program with some high school experience. After learning about technical adjustments and working hard to overcome them, St Amaud was counted on at the end of the season when a team adjustment called for increased match play.

Olivia Smith, most improved – A second-year setter with little high school experience, the sophomore from Raleigh, N.C., progressed from a player making hand passes so teammates could swing to a player who ran an offense and directed her hitters effectively.

Elizabeth Humberg, coaches award – A sophomore captain from Altoona, Iowa, the second-year player was never satisfied. She was always one of the first to be at practice and went as hard as she could. She had to make a personal sacrifice to a “position switch” at the end of the season and did so with a great attitude.

Valerie Stauff, coaches award – Another captain who has played three years with a medical condition, she also had patellar tendinitis for the last month of competition and never complained. The junior from Green Bay always gave her best effort with a strong net presence.

NIU finished the season with a 21-9 overall record and fourth in the always tough Midwest Region of the NCCAA-Division 2.

Hawley captured a first team all-region spot. Cole and Humberg were named to the all-tournament team at the recent regional tourney held at Moody Bible Institute.

“God never gives a meaningful responsibility without giving a meaningful ability to respond,” Coach Herron said. “Every single member of this year’s team was important but athletics sometimes demands that some contribute at a more important time.

“I am so proud of this team and what they accomplished.”

Coach Herron will now begin a search to add strength and depth to the returning group for 2014. Those interested in NIU women’s volleyball should contact Coach Herron at