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Courtesy: CAA
CAA Volleyball Player of the Year Katy Buck with CAA Assistant Commissioner Steve Kanaby


Courtesy: CAA
          Release: 11/17/2011
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NEWARK, Del. (Nov. 17, 2011) - Towson sophomore Katy Buck has been named the 2011 Colonial Athletic Association volleyball Player of the Year in a vote by the league's head coaches. Buck received the honor at the annual awards banquet held Thursday night on the eve of the CAA Volleyball Championship in Newark, Del.

Others earning top volleyball honors from the conference were Delaware senior Renee Tomko as CAA Setter of the Year and Northeastern freshman Natalia Skiba as Defensive Specialist of the Year. Skiba's fellow freshman teammate Jillian Briner was voted CAA Rookie of the Year, while Towson's Bruce Atkinson was named Coach of the Year.

Buck is the second Towson player to garner CAA Player of the Year accolades after serving up a sensational sophomore season. The versatile outside hitter was the centerpiece of a Tiger offensive attack that concluded the regular season ranked first in kills per set and assists per set. Buck's 4.08 kills per set and 4.34 points per set were tops in the league. The Catonsville, Md. native also anchored the Towson defense, ranking second on the squad with 257 digs. The sophomore outside hitter helped the Tigers record 10 conference wins for the first time since 2006.

Tomko earns Setter of the Year honors after spreading 10.67 assists per set and leading the Blue Hens to a league leading hitting percentage of .252 in conference matches. The senior setter was one of only two players in the conference to average at least 11 helpers per set in league play. The Jefferson Hills, Pa. native helped Delaware earn the top-seed and home court advantage in this year's tournament for the second straight season.

Skiba is the first Northeastern player in program history to be selected CAA Defensive Specialist of the Year. The freshman libero was dominant defensively this year as she led the league with 5.21 digs per set through the regular season. She was the only CAA player to average over five digs per set. Skiba's defensive prowess helped the Huskies hold opponents to a .197 hitting percentage in league play.

Briner is the third Northeastern player to earn Rookie of the Year accolades. The freshman setter/outside hitter was a mainstay in the Huskies' starting lineup this season, starting 25 of 26 matches. Briner completed her freshman campaign ranked third on the team in kills per set (2.18), second in assists per set (5.06), while ranking second in the league with 40 service aces.

Atkinson was selected as CAA Coach of the Year for the first time in only his second season at the helm. Atkinson's squad secured the third seed in this year's tournament, which is Towson's first appearance in CAA postseason play since 2008. The third-seed is the highest for the Tigers since 2006. Atkinson led Towson to 23 wins which is the program's most since the 2005 season. The team finished the regular season as the conference leader in assists per set (13.19), kills per set (14.23) and opponent hitting percentage (.171).

Delaware led the league with two players on the All-CAA First Team. Tomko was joined by junior outside hitter Alissa Alker (3.11 k/s, 3.20 d/s). Four other teams each had one player receive first team all-conference honors. In addition to Towson's Buck, Georgia State senior middle blocker Vineece Verdun (3.30 k/s, 3.98 pts/s), James Madison junior outside hitter Natalie Abel (3.02 k/s, 3.24 d/s) and Northeastern sophomore outside hitter Janelle Tucker (3.12 k/s, 3.54 pts/s) were voted to the squad.



Selected by CAA Volleyball Coaches


Player, School                                     Cl.           Pos.        Hometown/Previous School

Natalie Abel, James Madison        Jr.         OH        Washington, Pa./Trinity                     

Alissa Alker, Delaware                  Jr.         OH         San Diego, Calif./Scripps Ranch

Katy Buck, Towson                      So.        OH        Catonsville, Md./Mount de Sales Academy

Renee Tomko, Delaware              Sr.          S          Jefferson Hills, Pa./Thomas Jefferson

Janelle Tucker, Northeastern        So.        OH         Encino, Calif./Campbell Hall

Vineece Verdun, Georgia State     Sr.         MB          Bloomfield Hills, Mich./Andover



Player, School                                    Cl.           Pos.        Hometown/Previous School

Kristin Boyd, VCU                       Jr.         OH        Wilmington, N.C./John T. Hoggard

Courtney Hott, VCU                    Sr.         MB        Fredericksburg, Va./Courtland

Aubrey Kirven, Towson                Jr.          S          Uniontown, Ohio/Lake

Christi Laite, UNCW                    So.       RS         Severna Park, Md./Severna Park

Chelsea Lawrence, Delaware        Jr.        MH         Evanston, Ill./Evanston Township

Natalia Skiba, Northeastern         Fr.          L          Westmont, Ill./Hinsdale Central



Player, School                                   Cl.           Pos.        Hometown/Previous School

Kelly Bacon, Northeastern           So.        OH        Temecula, Calif./Temecula Valley

Danielle Erb, James Madison       Jr.         OH        Tampa, Fla./Plant

Muki Kangwa, Georgia State        Sr.         OH        Fort Myers, Fla./Fort Myers

Nichole Kurz, Northeastern          So.         MH       San Diego, Calif./Patrick Henry

Kylee Maneja, Hofstra                Jr.            L         Kapolei, Hawaii/Sacred Hearts Academy

Kim Stewart, Delaware                Sr.          OH        Kentwood, Mich./East Kentwood

Lana Zonjic, George Mason         So.         OH        Zagreb, Croatia/II Gimnazjia Zagreb



Player, School                                   Cl.           Pos.        Hometown/Previous School

Cecilia Aragao, VCU                   Fr.          S          Recife, Brazil/Colegio Contato

Jillian Briner, Northeastern           Fr.       S/OH       Oak Park, Ill./Oak Park & River Forest

Kristi Richardson, James Madison Fr.         S          Glen Allen, Va./Hermitage

Paige Sekerak, Towson                Fr.        DS         Montgomery Village, Md./Poolesville

Natalia Skiba, Northeastern          Fr.         L          Westmont, Ill./Hinsdale Central

Kelsie Wills, Hofstra                    Fr.        OH       Matamata, New Zealand/Matamata College


2011 CAA Player of the Year: Katy Buck, Towson

2011 CAA Setter of the Year: Renee Tomko, Delaware

2011 CAA Defensive Specialist of the Year: Natalia Skiba, Northeastern

2011 CAA Rookie of the Year: Jillian Briner, Northeastern

2011 CAA Coach of the Year: Bruce Atkinson, Towson