Colorado College Volleyball: Trio of Tigers Score All-West Region Honors

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Three members of the No. 1-ranked Colorado College volleyball team earned all-West Region honors from the American Volleyball Coaches Association for their efforts in leading the Tigers to a 31-1 overall record, the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference regular-season and tournament championships, as well as the program’s first-ever No. 1 ranking in the ACVA’s Division III Poll.
In recognition of their achievements, junior right side hitter Aria Dudley, sophomore setter Lizzy Counts and sophomore outside hitter Jordan Mullen were first-team all-region selections and now are eligible for All-America consideration.
Dudley, a junior tri-captain, was a first-team all-SCAC selection and the only player to receive the conference’s offensive (twice) and defensive awards this season. She rebounded from an injury-plagued sophomore season to lead the Tigers in hitting percentage (.337) and rank second in kills (261) and points (286.5) this year.
The native of Santa Ana, Calif., was named the AVCA’s Division III national player of the week on Oct. 24 after leading CC to a 4-0 record in SCAC cross-divisional play, including victories over No. 3 Southwestern University and No. 5 Trinity University as CC finished the regular season with a 14-0 regular-season record in league play for the second time in program history.
“As a junior captain, Aria is a great leader, on and off the court,” head coach Rick Swan said. “We’re proud of her and her accomplishments.”
Counts was named the SCAC Player of the Year as well as first-team all-conference. The three-time conference offensive player of the week set single-season highs with 1,088 assists, 52 aces, 39 total blocks. She recorded six double-doubles (assists-digs) and leads the league in assists (10.07 per set) and is 5th in aces (0.48). With Counts leading the way, the Tigers led the SCAC and ranked fourth nationally with a .262 team hitting percentage.
The Oakland, Calif., product was named the AVCA Division III national player of the week after setting the Tigers to a perfect weekend at the first round of SCAC cross-over play while hitting .722 with 13 kills on 18 attacks without an error.
In the three-set win against Trinity, she hit a season-high .800 with four kills on five attacks, dished out 33 assists and recorded nine digs. The following day against Southwestern, the Tigers overcame a 10-5 deficit in the fifth set when Counts set seven consecutive kills to give CC a 12-10 lead. She finished with single-match highs of 14 digs and four aces against Southwestern, and matched her previous best of seven kills.
“Lizzy is a fierce competitor,” Swan said. “She comes to play every night and is the kind of player who makes everyone around her better.”
Mullen was a second-team all-SCAC selection, but likely would have earned first-team honors had the voting taken place after the conference tournament. Mullen was named MVP of the championship after hitting .424 with 15 kills on 33 attacks with only one error as CC rallied for a 22-25, 18-25, 25-19, 25-23, 15-13 victory over No. 5-ranked Trinity University in the tournament finale. In the five-set semifinal victory over Texas Lutheran University, she recorded her second double-double of the year with a career-high 25 kills and 13 digs.
Mullen, who hails from Parker, Colo., leads the Tigers and ranks sixth in the SCAC averaging 3.01 kills per set. She recorded double-digit kills 14 times, including six of seven matches against nationally-ranked opponents. Mullen is first on the team with 271 kills and 297.5 points, and fifth with 161 digs, all of which are single-season highs.
“Jordan has come on strong during the second half of the season,” Swan said. “She has come up for us in some of our most important matches, and we expect that level of play to continue.”
Colorado College begins NCAA tournament play on Friday at 3 p.m. CT against the College of New Rochelle at Georgetown, Texas.