Volleyball | Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Durham Selected Second Team All-Northwest Conference
SALEM, ORE. -- Senior outside hitter Jessica Durham (Medford, OR/North Medford HS) has been named Second Team All-Northwest Conference in voting by the NWC head volleyball coaches. WU junior outside hitter Jessica McGraw (Gaston, OR/Yamhill Carlton HS/Corban College) was chosen Honorable Mention All-NWC.
Overall, 23 players were chosen for the All-NWC team. Seven players were selected for on the First Team, with six players on the Second Team and 10 players receiving Honorable Mention. Sophomore outside hitter Beth Hanna from Pacific Lutheran University was chosen NWC Player of the Year. PLU Head Coach Kevin Aoki was voted NWC Coach of the Year.
Durham led the Bearcats with 270 kills, 264 digs and 36 service aces. She averaged 3.03 kills, 2.97 digs and 0.40 aces per set. Durham recorded season highs of 21 kills and 18 digs in Willamette's 3-2 win over Whitworth on Oct. 17. She saw action in all 26 matches and 89 of 94 sets this season.
During her career, she played in 97 matches and 345 sets. She achieved 823 kills to go with 1,117 digs. She also produced 93 service and 45 total blocks.
"She worked extremely hard this season to be a leader on the court," WU Head Coach Tom Shoji said regarding Durham. "She had to change her game quite a bit and she accomplished that pretty well. When she was playing well, she as as good as anyone in the conference. Teams knew they had to control her."McGraw missed several matches due to injury, but still played in 22 matches and 79 sets. She led Willamette in kills per set (3.04) and digs per set (3.08). She earned 240 kills and 243 digs during the year, and also contributed 24 service aces and 34 blocks (0.43 per set).
"She played the whole first half of the season with a lot of nagging injuries," Shoji said about McGraw. "If she had been healthy for the entire conference season, we might have earned a couple more wins. She was "rock solid" in most of our matches. She was one of our best passers and defensive players, as well as a dynamic attacker. We expect big things from her next season."
McGraw also played at Willamette as a freshman in 2005, before competing for one season at nearby Corban College in 2006. Her Willamette career totals in 41 matches and 152 sets include 506 kills (3.33 avg.) and 506 digs (3.33 avg.). She also has accumulated 42 service aces and 72 total blocks during her WU career.
Willamette finished the 2008 season with a 6-20 overall record, including 4-12 in the NWC (8th place). The Bearcats ended a 43-match NWC losing streak early in the season and picked up conference wins over Whitman (twice), George Fox (once) and Whitworth (once). It was the first season for Shoji, who joined the Willamette coaching staff in July.