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Phoebe Madsen Named AVCA West Region Player of Year; Vlasich Named Coach of Year

Phoebe Madsen Named AVCA West Region Player of Year; Vlasich Named Coach of Year

CLAREMONT, Calif. - Junior setter Phoebe Madsen earned the American Volleyball Coaches Association West Region Player of the Year, while Kurt Vlasich was named the region's Coach of the Year honor, the AVCA announced today.

Madsen was joined by three of her teammates on the AVCA All-West Region team as well, with junior outside hitter Amanda Walker, junior libero Sarah Tritschler and sophomore middle hitter Melanie Moore all earning a spot on the 14-player team. 

All four Athenas were honored by the AVCA for the first time, as all three of last year's award winners graduated, including West Region Player of the Year Margaux Arntson, senior Clara Madsen and three-time all-region libero Mikena Werner. 

Clara Madsen and Phoebe Madsen were sisters who split the setting duties a year ago in a 6-2 system on their way to a national title. This year, Madsen has taken over as the team's primary setter and plays every point, while sometimes moving to an outside hitter position. She has tallied 893 assists on the year (7.90 per set) and has added 172 kills and 52 blocks, after tallying four kills and no blocks all of last year (due to never playing on the front row). She also leads the team by a large margin in service aces (61) and is second in digs with 331. 

Werner was the CMS libero for the last four years, and Tritschler moved into that role this fall after being a defensive specialist a year ago, essentially doubling her time on the court. She tallied 577 digs on the year (5.15 per set), including 40 in a four-set win over Cal Lutheran, the first 40-dig match for an Athena since Werner had 40 in a five-set loss to Southwestern in 2015. Tritschler also had 38 digs in a five-set win over Whittier, and 32 in a five-set win over La Verne. 

Walker has had an impressive ascension this season to all-region honors after being a part-time player a year ago. She leads the Athenas with 387 kills, 3.58 per set, 133 more than her closest teammate (Moore), while hitting an impressive .234 with her heavy workload. She began the season by making the All-Tournament team at the Pacific Coast Classic on August 31 and September 1, and followed up by winning MVP honors at the Trinity Fall Classic on Sept. 7-8 by helping the Athenas to a 4-0 record. 

Moore also earned a share of MVP honors at the East-West Challenge on Sept. 14-15 for the Athenas after helping them to a 2-1 record against three nationally ranked teams. She has 254 kills on a team-high .320 hitting percentage, while also leading with 97 blocks (0.92 per set). Moore has also had a big impact in clutch situations this year, getting the winning kills in the fifth set over Brandeis (18-16), Whittier (16-14) and La Verne (15-13), as well as the winning block in the fourth set (29-27) over La Verne in the SCIAC semifinals. 

Vlasich earns AVCA West Region Coach of the Year for the third time in his career, and adds the honor to the SCIAC Coaching Staff of the Year honor he and his staff took home last week. He guided his a team this year to a 26-3 record that had no seniors on it, and dealt with several injuries and illnesses. Despite the adversity, the Athenas repeated as SCIAC regular season and tournament champions and were ranked in the AVCA top 10 all year (currently No. 5). 

CMS enters the NCAA Tournament as defending national champions, and will begin play against Augsburg on Friday at 10:30 a.m. (Pacific time) at Gustavus Adolphus in Saint Peter, Minnesota. If the Athenas can win the eight-team regional, they will move on to nationals next week from Thursday-Saturday in Pittsburgh. 

To view the complete list of AVCA All-Region selections, go to the following link:

AVCA Division III All-Region Teams