Five Missouri Valley Conference volleyball student-athletes have been named AVCA All-Americans as announced today by the organization. Bre Payton (UNI) was a second-team selection, Ellie Blankenship (UNI) was named to the third-team, while Megan Bober (CU), Michelle Burow (UNI) and Kelley Michnowicz (MSU), were honorable-mention selections.
BRE PAYTON, UNI
Payton was named Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year and earned a spot on the MVC All-Tournament team. The junior setter notched six triple-doubles in 2010, including a string of four matches with a triple-double. Payton dished out 11.14 assists per set to go along with 2.79 digs per set and 1.94 kills per set. Payton helped the Panthers average 15.24 kills per set, ranking them first in the nation heading into the NCAA Tournament. Payton was named AVCA Honorable Mention in 2009.
ELLIE BLANKENSHIP, UNI
Blankenship led the Panther defense with 5.53 digs per set in 2010. She became just the eighth player in NCAA Division I history to record over 2,500 digs and finished her career with 2,656 digs. Blankenship was a first-team all-conference selection and was named MVC Tournament Most Valuable Player. Blankenship holds UNI records for career digs, digs per set and digs per set in a season while also holding the MVC record for career digs. Blankenship earned AVCA Honorable Mention honors in 2009.
MEGAN BOBER, CREIGHTON
Bober is just the third player in Creighton history to attain AVCA honorable-mention All-American accolades, joining Kelly Goc (2007) and Jessica Houts (2008). Bober, the lone Bluejay to earn first-team all-Missouri Valley Conference honors, averaged 10.26 assists, 1.95 digs, 1.48 kills and 0.92 blocks per set. She owned 10 double-doubles on the season, and her 114 blocks are the second-most nationally among setters. Bober was also a first-team all-Central Region selection, an ESPN/CoSIDA Academic All-District VII Second Team pick, and named All-Tournament at non-conference events at both Marquette and Saint Louis. She also earned MVC Player of the Week recognition on October 4th. Bober is one of two sophomore setters nationally to earn any form of All-America status, joining national assist leader Jordan Clampitt of Tulsa.
KELLEY MICHNOWICZ, MISSOURI STATE
Missouri State's Kelley Michnowicz became the fourth player to reach All-America status in Missouri State's storied volleyball history. The junior from Belleville, Ill., was a first-team all-Missouri Valley Conference selection for the second year in a row in 2010, leading the league with a .367 hitting percentage for the season, a figure that ranks second in school history. She averaged 2.32 kills, 0.61 blocks and 2.67 points per set for the Bears this year, and her .309 career hitting percentage sits third in MSU history. Michnowicz was the MVC Player of the Week Oct. 11 and Nov. 15 of this season as well as an AVCA All-Central Region First Team member.
MICHELLE BUROW, UNI
Burow led the Panther attack, averaging a team-best 3.22 kills per set while hitting at a .352 efficiency. Burow registered double-digit kills in 20 matches, posting a career-high 23 kills twice. Burow was named a first-team all-conference selection while also being named to all-tournament teams at the Mortar Board Premier Tournament, Diet Coke Classic and Kansas Invitational. This marks the first time Burow has earned AVCA honors.
The AVCA recognizes a 14-member first team, second team and third team, while also having an honorable mention list. The selections were made by the AVCA Division I All-America Committee: chair - Keylor Chan, Northwestern; Joe Getzin, Mississippi; Christy Johnson-Lynch, Iowa State; Mike Jordan, New Mexico State; Anne Kordes, Saint Louis; Lee Maes, Virginia; Andrew Palileo, Washington State; Lisa Seifert, Southern Methodist. The AVCA Awards Chair is Dayton head volleyball coach Kelly Sheffield.