FRISCO — UTSA had five players earn seven individual honors, as the Southland Conference announced its postseason awards on Wednesday.
Sophomore McKenzie Adams was picked as the Newcomer of the Year and redshirt junior Kelsey Schwirtlich was tabbed Setter of the Year.
Adams and Schwirtlich also were two of the Roadrunners' league-high four first-team selections, the most by a conference team since UT Arlington in 1989, as senior Kelsey Jewasko and junior Whitney Walls also were named to the league's top squad. Junior Brittney Malloy rounded out the team's honorees by being named to the second team.
A native of Schertz, Adams won the league's top newcomer award while leading the Southland with 1.27 blocks per set. The 6-foot-3 middle hitter ranks third on the team with 2.82 kills per set and a .281 hitting percentage. She was named the league's Offensive Player of the Week twice (Sept. 19/Oct. 10) and gained her first weekly honor after being named to the Time Warner Cable Texas Invitational All-Tournament Team, where she led all participants in kills and hitting percentage. Earlier this season, she stormed on to the scene by recording 10 total blocks (7 assists/3 solos) in UTSA's five-set loss to Missouri on Sept. 9. Adams, the 2010 NCAA East Region and Atlantic Coast Conference Freshman of the Year, has posted double figures 11 times during the year, including a season-high 17 kills against Santa Clara on Sept. 17.
Schwirtlich garnered first-team honors for the second consecutive campaign. The Corpus Christi native leads the conference (44th NCAA) with 10.86 assists per set. She guides the conference's second-highest hitting team to a .245 clip, including a season-best .439 hitting percentage in UTSA's Oct. 29 sweep at Central Arkansas. The 6-footer handed out a career-high 60 assists in a five-set loss at Sam Houston State on Nov. 3. Schwirtlich, who has registered five double-doubles this year, became the program's all-time leader in assists during the 25-point rally-scoring era (2008-present) and currently has 2,408 career helpers. Last week, she was honored for her academic prowess after being named Capital One first-team Academic All-District VII by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
Jewasko was named to the league's top team for the third time in her career. The two-time Southland Libero of the Year was named the league's Defensive Player of the Week twice this season (Sept. 5 & 19). She ranks second in the circuit (31st NCAA) with 5.29 digs per frame. The San Antonio native, who ranks second all-time at UTSA with 2,234 digs, has collected 20 or more saves in a dozen matches this year, including a career-high 36 in a five-set loss at Houston Baptist on Sept. 1. In addition to her performance on the court, Jewasko was honored as one of 10 finalists for the prestigious Lowe's Senior CLASS Award and earned Capital One first-team Academic All-District VII honors from CoSIDA.
A preseason honorable mention all-league pick, Walls earned first-team accolades after leading the Roadrunners and ranking ninth in the league with 2.94 kills per set. The Arlington native has registered a .325 hitting percentage this season and assisted on the defensive end with 73 total blocks. The 6-foot outside hitter was UTSA's most consistent offensive threat during the regular season, posting double figures in 14 contests, including a career-high 22 winners at Houston Baptist on Sept. 1. She hit .400 or better in 12 matches, including a .714 clip in a three-set victory against Southeastern Louisiana on Oct. 13. Walls was named the conference's Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 5 after posting 55 kills (3.67 kps) in a three-match span and earning Rice Invitational II All-Tournament honors.
Malloy landed on the league's second team after dominating conference opponents at the net. The San Antonio native leads the league with a .442 hitting percentage and 1.42 blocks per set in conference matches. Overall, Malloy ranks second in the circuit with 1.17 blocks per frame and a .328 attack clip. She has recorded a .500 hitting percentage or better in 10 matches, including an .833 performance against Southeastern Louisiana on Oct. 13. Malloy's awareness at the net has led to her recording seven or more blocks in in six contests. The 6-foot middle hitter was named the Southland Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 10 after leading the Birds to back-to-back sweeps on the road at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (Oct. 4) and McNeese State (Oct. 8).
Texas State's Amber Calhoun was named Southland Player of the
Year, while UT Arlington's Alicia Shaffer was tabbed Libero of the
Year and Northwestern State's Stacey DiFrancesco earned Freshman of the
Year accolades. Texas State's Karen Chisum rounded out the superlative awards
after being named Katrinka Jo Crawford Coach of the Year.
UTSA (20-10) opens play in the Southland Tournament at 11 a.m. on Friday in Conway, Ark. The second-seeded Roadrunners will face No. 7 Stephen F. Austin (14-17) in the tournament's opening quarterfinal match.