WU Volleyball Players Earn All-Northwest Conference Honors

By Sara Brooks, Assistant Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6219

SALEM, ORE. -- After completing their most successful season since 2004, three members of the Willamette University volleyball team have been recognized by the Northwest Conference for their efforts. Senior Jessie McGraw (OH, Gaston, OR/Corban College) was chosen Second Team All-NWC. Molly Blankenship (Jr., OH, Spokane, WA/Spokane Falls CC) and Julie Stutzman (Sr., MH, Olympia, WA/Olympia HS) were named Honorable Mention All-NWC.

A total of 22 student-athletes received All-NWC honors. Seven athletes were named to the First Team, with six on the Second Team and nine earning Honorable Mention.

Kevin Aoki, the head coach at Pacific Lutheran University, was named NWC coach of the Year. Senior middle blocker Kelcy Joynt of PLU was chosen NWC Player of the Year.

Jessie McGrawMcGraw finished her career with 777 kills and 809 digs. She averaged 3.32 kills per set.

During the 2009 season, McGraw hit .227 on her way to 271 kills, a career best. She led the team in kills per set, total kills, digs and digs per set. McGraw provided leadership on a young 2009 team that has made the first step toward changing the culture of Willamette volleyball.

Julie StutzmanAlso providing leadership this season was fellow senior Stutzman. Stutzman returned from studying abroad during her junior year to tally 133 kills during the 2009 season while hitting .277.

Stutzman finished her Bearcat career with 615 kills, 318 total digs and 93 serving aces. This year, Stutzman led the team in hitting percentage and finished third in the conference in this category.

Molly BlankenshipBlankenship completed her first year as a Bearcat following two years of play at Spokane Falls Community College. She earned 236 kills in 80 sets.

Blankenship hit .155 on her way to 2.95 kills per set. She led the team with 25 serving aces, good for a 0.31 aces per set average. She finished third on the team with 180 digs.

Willamette rebounded from a 6-20 overall record and 4-12 NWC record in 2008 to finish 11-13 overall and 8-8 in the NWC. In the second half of conference play, the Bearcats went 6-2, losing their only two matches to nationally ranked University of Puget Sound and Pacific Lutheran University.

The 2010 Bearcat squad loses McGraw and Stutzman but will return the other thirteen players on their roster.

Jessie McGraw has achieved Second Team All-NWC honors. She recorded 777 career kills and 809 career digs.

Jessie McGraw has achieved Second Team All-NWC honors. She recorded 777 career kills and 809 career digs.