FOREST, Va. --- Bridgewater College earned three of the four special individual awards and Washington and Lee University took home five all-conference honors to headline the 2018 All-ODAC Volleyball Awards.
Bridgewater outside hitter Rachel Gaston garnered two special laurels as she was named the ODAC Player of the Year in a vote of the league's head coaches in addition to earning ODAC/Virginia Farm Bureau Insurance Scholar-Athlete recognition from the conference's sports information directors. Eagles' mentor Erin Harris received ODAC Coach of the Year honors, and Roanoke College outside hitter Linsey Bailey was tabbed the ODAC Rookie of the Year.
Eight players from last year's all-conference teams appear on this season's lists. Bridgewater's Gaston and setter Victoria Wilson stepped up to the first team from the second and third teams, respectively. Guilford College setter Tina Eucker moved from the third to the second team, while outside hitter Christian Ritter earns a second straight third team spot.
Randolph-Macon's Miranda Hall repeats as a first teamer, while teammate Mariah Clark pairs a first team honor in 2017 with a third team choice in 2018. Washington and Lee duo Courtney Berry and Meg Guignon were first team selections last year and again earh recognition this season on the third and second teams, respectively.
RELATED: 2017 All-ODAC Awards | All-Time All-ODAC
Gaston, a junior from Mechanicsville, Va., was a major factor in Bridgewater improving its win total by five victories this season. The three-time ODAC Player of the Week topped the conference in total points with 462.5 and attacks at 1,180. She finished second in the league in kills (416), kills per set (4.16), and points per set (4.6), sixth in digs per set (4.07) and seventh in total digs (407). As a high-volume attacker, Gaston posted a strong .245 hitting percentage to place 11th in the league. Over 30 matches played, she notched 19 double-doubles (kills and attacks) with 22 matches of 10 or more kills. She registered four matches of 20 or more kills highlighted by pair of 24-kills matches early in the season. Gaston completes her stat line with 28 service aces and 32 total blocks.
A health and exercise science major, Gaston is the second straight Eagle to win the scholar-athlete award, following former teammate Carleigh Studtmann. Gaston maintains a 3.836 grade point average, helping her earn three consecutive appointments to the ODAC All-Academic Team. A perennial Bridgewater Dean's List member, Gaston is active on the Eagles Student-Athlete Advisory Committe. She recently completely a study abroad opportunity in South Africa.
Harris enjoys her first selection as the ODAC Coach of the Year. The Eagles earned the third seed in the ODAC Tournament and advanced to the semifinals before seeing its season come to a close. Bridgewater finished 24-7 overall and 10-2 against conference competition, both improvements upon last season's 19-7 and 8-3 marks. The 2018 campaign included several small winning streaks but was highlight by a 10-game run thru the middle of the schedule. Three Eagles earned All-ODAC honors in additions to Gaston's double for Player of the Year and scholar-athlete awards.
Bailey, a freshman from Fincastle, Va., adds the ODAC top first-year player award to an All-ODAC First Team selection. A three-time ODAC Player of the Week honoree, Bailey finished the season as the conference's most prolific attacker with 418 kills at a 4.45 per set average. She also led the league at 4.9 points per set responsible after collecting the second-most overall points at 456.5. In 27 matches played, Bailey had double figure kill totals in all but two. Six times she went over 20 in a match with a season-high 27 in a 3-1 win at Shenandoah. Bailey was strong defensively as a six-rotation player, picking up 339 digs at 3.61 per set. She also posted 29 service aces and hit a solid .255 as a high-volume attacker to place ninth in the league.
Listed below are the 2018 All-ODAC Volleyball Awards. For more information, visit any of the participating schools' websites, or go to the ODAC's home on the Internet at www.odaconline.com. Don't forget to become a fan of the ODAC on Facebook and follow @odacathletics on Twitter and Instagram.
ALL-ODAC VOLLEYBALL AWARDS
Player of the Year: Rachel Gaston, Jr., OH, Bridgewater
Coach of the Year: Erin Harris, Bridgewater
Rookie of the Year: Linsey Bailey, Fr., OH, Roanoke
ODAC/Va. Farm Bureau Insurance Scholar-Athlete: Rachel Gaston, Jr., OH, Bridgewater
|ALL-ODAC FIRST TEAM|
|Amber Matalus||Jr.||MH||Virginia Wesleyan|
|Elly Cosgrove||Sr.||L||Washington and Lee|
|Allison Webb||Jr.||OH||Washington and Lee|
|ALL-ODAC SECOND TEAM|
|Meg Guignon||Sr.||OH||Washington and Lee|
|Anna Soroka||Jr.||S||Washington and Lee|
|ALL-ODAC THIRD TEAM|
|Kristina Scott||Sr.||OH||Virginia Wesleyan|
|Courtney Berry||So.||MH||Washington and Lee|