Nov. 8, 2008

NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA - University of Massachusetts Boston women's volleyball player Kate McWhorter (Bakersfield, CA) was named the Little East Conference Offensive Player of the Year and Cassy Hanneman (Denver, CO) was honored as the LEC Rookie of the Year, it was announced today by the conference. Nina Sullivan (Cheshire, CT) was selected to the LEC All-Star First Team, along with McWhorter, and Hanneman was chosen for the Second Team.

McWhorter made an immediate impact after transferring to UMB from NCAA Division I California State University Bakersfield, being named the LEC Offensive Player of the Week a league-high four times. She led the Little East Conference with 4.52 kills per set in 109 sets to give her a school-record total of 493 for the season and her average was also good for fifth in the nation in the latest NCAA rankings on October 26. The junior's hitting percentage of .364 shattered the school record and placed her third among LEC players and 27th among all Division III players. McWhorter started all 33 matches she played in and served up 43 aces to give her 0.39 per set to rank sixth in the league. She was extremely consistent, putting down double-digits in kills in all but four matches, including a stretch of 14 consecutive matches from August 30 to October 3 and owned a hitting percentage of .200 or better in 29 contests, including a high of .667 at Worcester State College on October 24 in a match where she put down 11 kills and made just one error in 15 attempts. The outside hitter spiked for 12 or more kills on 24 occasions and has served up at least one ace in 22 matches, including 13 outings with two or more. McWhorter smashed a career-best 26 kills in the LEC Championship match vs. Keene State College on November 8 and averaged 19 kills in her last six matches. She also fired a personal-best five aces at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth on October 25. The 5'9' hitter's kill total is not only the most in a season at UMass Boston, but also ranks eighth on the career list and her attack percentage places her at the top on the career list. A graduate of Stockdale High School (CA) she's also been outstanding on the defensive side of the net to establish herself as one of the Little East Conference best all-around players, placing second on the team with 2.44 digs per set and 0.45 blocks per set. She got up for at least one block in 24 matches and her total of 35 block assists is the fifth-highest mark in a season for a UMB player. The junior came up with six or more digs 19 times, including a career-high of 22 at Emerson College on October 28 to contribute to 11 double-doubles of kills and digs on the season. McWhorter was also named to the Plymouth State Days of Campton Inn and Salem State College Invitational All-Tournament teams.

For her career, McWhorter has played in 252 sets over 75 matches, while spiking for 797 kills and owning a .288 hitting mark. She split time as a hitter and setter her freshman season and has compiled 299 assists, 418 digs, 58 aces and 96 total blocks for her career.

Sullivan earns a spot on the LEC First Team as a right side hitter after a season that showed tremendous improvement from her freshman campaign. The sophomore earned a starting spot for the Beacons and was one of the most proficient hitters in the conference, owning a .258 mark to rank eighth in the league, second on the squad and as the third-highest percentage in school history. Sullivan saw action in all 34 matches, while playing in 108 sets and averaged 1.57 kills per set to place third on the team. She put down double-digits in kills on three occasions, including a career-high 19, while committing just one attack error for a .545 hitting mark vs. Emerson College in the Plymouth State Days of Campton Inn tournament on September 13. The 5'10" Sullivan posted a hitting percentage of .200 or better 19 times and .500 or better in five outings. She served for a career-high 13 aces on the season, including a personal-best five in the Emerson match and proved to have great hands on the court, ranking second on the team with 41 total assists.

A Cheshire High School (CT) product, Sullivan has played in 52 career matches and seen action in 147 sets, while averaging 1.36 kills to give her 214 for her career. She also has 14 total blocks, 74 digs, 25 aces and 46 assists.

Hanneman becomes the third player in school history to be named the LEC Rookie of the Year and the second in three seasons after being named the league's Rookie of the Week an LEC best five times. The 5'9" setter earns a place on the Second Team after averaging 9.09 assists per set to rank third in the league and was the conference's top server with 0.49 aces per set. The freshman set a new school mark by playing in all 117 sets over 34 matches and registered a school-record 1,063 assists on the season. She set for at least 20 assists in all but one match, including 19 occasions with 30 or more and recorded a career-high 46 assists in the LEC Championship match. The rookie's season-assist total already ranks fifth on the school's career list. She also served up at least one ace in 25 of 34 matches, multiple aces in 16 contests and fired at least one ace in 10 straight matches from September 27 to October 21. When she wasn't setting up hitters on her team, she was one of UMass Boston's most efficient hitters with a .251 hitting percentage to place third on the team. A graduate of Arapahoe High School (CO), she proved to be one of the team's best all-around players, averaging 1.94 digs and 0.27 total blocks per set to rank third for UMB and registered at least one block in 20 matches, including a career-high of four at Rhode Island College on November 1. She also scooped up a personal-best 25 digs vs. Keene State on September 27 as part of seven matches on the year with 10 or more digs. Hanneman was also named the Most Valuable Player for the Salem State College Invitational on October 4 and was selected to the Virginia Wesleyan Wingate Innvitational and the Plymouth State Days Inn of Campton All-Tournament teams earlier in the season.

UMass Boston just completed its greatest season ever, setting a school standard for victories with a 25-9 record, and played in its first-ever Little East Conference Championship match, before falling to Keene State, 3-2 (30-28, 21-25, 25-22, 17-25, 17-15) on November 8. The Beacons won a school-record 12 consecutive matches during the season and went into the title match, having won 16 of their last 17 matches.