Raiders' McGowne named Northwest Region's top freshman

ASHLAND — Lauren McGowne's standout freshman season was deemed worthy of one last honor by the American Volleyball Coaches Association.

The Southern Oregon University setter was voted the NAIA Northwest Region's freshman of the year by the AVCA after previously earning Cascade Conference all-star status. McGowne, a Marshfield High product, helped the Raiders to a 13-5 record in the CCC with a league-best average of 11.3 assists per set.

Senior libero Renee Yomtob and junior outside hitter Paulla Pinheiro received honorable mention in the all-region voting. Both were all-conference picks, and Yomtob was the CCC's libero of the year.

McGowne didn't break into SOU's starting lineup until the ninth match of the season. She proceeded to record 50-plus assists on five different occasions.

The Raiders ended their season in the conference tournament semifinals with an overall record of 17-10.

Abby Nicholas, a senior outside hitter from Montana State-Northern, claimed the Northwest's player of the year honor. Bill Huebsch, who led MSU-Northern to a 26-6 record, was the coach of the year.

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