NCAA VOLLEYBALL: Westby, Gutzmer, Sames, Thissen named All-NSIC

BURNSVILLE – Southwest Minnesota State University senior Rachel Westby, along with sophomores Emilee Gutzmer, Claire Sames and Abbey Thissen have been named to the 2013 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Volleyball All-NSIC first team Thursday.

Rachel Westby

Westby, from Marshall, was one of just two liberos named to the 18-member first team. She has played in all 97 sets this season and has recorded a team-high 459 digs, while ranking second on the team with 26 service aces.

Westby ranks 87th in Division II (as of Nov. 10) in digs per set, while in NSIC matches only, she ranks third in the league in digs per set (4.54) and sixth in services aces per set (0.31).

In her career, Westby ranks first in school history in service attempts (1,751), fourth in digs (1,731) and fourth in digs per set (4.08). She was named second team All-NSIC in 2012 and was an All-NSIC honorable selection in 2011. Westby is a 2010 graduate of Marshall High School.

Emilee Gutzmer

Gutzmer was one of three setters named to the first team squad. A native of Jordan, she has appeared in 92 sets and leads SMSU with 1,098 assists, ranks fourth in digs with 150 and is third in service aces with 24.

Gutzmer ranks seventh in Division II in assists per set and ranks fourth in the NSIC assists per set (12.1). In the SMSU career record, book she ranks first in assists per set (12.4) and sixth in assists (2,479).

This is the second straight season she has earned first team All-NSIC honors. Gutzmer is a 2012 graduate of Jordan High School.

Claire Sames

Sames, a middle hitter from Shakopee, earned all-conference honors for the first time in her career. She leads SMSU with a .315 hitting percentage (ranking 83rd in Division II) and is also the team leader in blocks with 84, while ranking second on the team with 276 kills.

Sames is a 2012 graduate of Shakopee High School.

Abbey Thissen

Thissen, an outside hitter from Clara City, Minn., earned first team all-conference accolades for the second straight season. She leads SMSU with 373 kills, ranks second in blocks with 54 and is second in hitting percentage at .279.

Thissen ranks 27th in Division II in kills per set (3.8) and 34th in points per set (4.2). In the NSIC, she ranks fourth in kills per set, fifth in points per set and fifth in hitting percentage.

Thissen is a 2012 graduate of MACCRAY High School.

NSIC Awards

Kate Lange from Minnesota Duluth was named Player of the Year, Julie Rainey from Minnesota Duluth was named the Libero of the Year, while Alyssa Fauendorfer from Wayne State was named the Freshman of the Year. Brent Aldridge from Northern State was named the Coach of the Year.