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Hannah Talkers Named HCAC Offensive Player of the Year, Stigger Named Freshman of the Year

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Transylvania volleyball sophomore setter Hannah Talkers has been named the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year for the 2017 season, the conference announced Wednesday in its postseason release of All-HCAC awards.

Joining Talkers in receiving major postseason conference accolades was freshman blocker Ellie Stigger, who was named the HCAC Freshman of the Year.

Sophomore right side hitter Jordan Horne was named to the All-HCAC team for the second straight year, joining both Stigger and Talkers on that squad.

Also receiving postseason acclaim was senior libero Marissa Coutinho, who was named both as an All-HCAC Honorable Mention and to the All-Sportsmanship Team.

The All-HCAC teams were voted on by the 10 head coaches of the conference's member institutions.

Talkers, a sophomore from Villa Hills, Kentucky (Notre Dame Academy) becomes the first student-athlete in Transylvania volleyball program history to win an HCAC player of the year award for volleyball.

The setter captained Transylvania to a 7-2 record in the HCAC and a second-place finish in conference. Talkers finished third in conference in assists, generating 9.26 handouts per set. For the regular season, Talkers totaled 982 assists, 18 aces, 396 digs, 73 blocks, and 140 kills.

During her regular season, Talkers accrued a hitting percentage of .302. For the full schedule, Talkers mustered a hitting percentage of .299, which ranked fourth in the HCAC. Her 405 digs comprising the regular season and conference tournament ranked eighth in the HCAC.

For conference play, Talkers led the league in assists per set (10.15), was second in assists (335), and was ninth in blocks per set (0.82). The sophomore achieved her first career triple-double on September 9 versus Kenyon with a 31 assist, 14 kill, and 16 dig performance. For the season, Talkers had double-digit digs in 20 matches.

The senior led the offense in setting a single-match record for hitting percentage in a three-set sweep of Defiance on October 21; the Pioneers hit .447 that afternoon in defeating Defiance 25-21, 25-16, 25-5. Talkers registered 31 assists, seven digs, and four kills that day.

Stigger, a freshman from Louisville, Kentucky (Sacred Heart Academy) was a key component of Transylvania's front line attack all year as she became the second-consecutive Pioneer to win Freshman of the Year honors, following in Talkers's footsteps. Stigger ranked fourth in the HCAC in total blocks (89) and blocks per set (0.84). In conference play, Stigger led the conference in in total blocks (35) and ranked third in blocks per set (1.06).

The freshman ranked fifth in kills with 275, and fourth during conference play in that category with 111. Stigger's 3.36 kills per set in conference play ranked fifth in the HCAC. She amassed the fourth-best hitting percentage during HCAC action, ranking fourth with a percentage of .322.

Horne, a sophomore from Louisville, Kentucky (Male HS) was the Pioneers' kills leader for the second straight season. Over 30 matches, Horne produced 346 kills and 3.26 kills per set. Her kills total ranked third in the HCAC, while her kills per set average ranked fifth in conference.

For conference matches, Horne ranked second in the HCAC in kills (122), second in kills per set (3.70), and 13thin blocks (19).

Coutinho, a senior from Terre Haute, Indiana (Terre Haute South Vigo HS) led the Pioneers in digs with a total of 559. Coutinho scooped 184 digs in conference play, which ranked third in the HCAC. The senior compiled 35 aces for the year, which was the sixth-best mark among her HCAC peers. Coutinho completed her career at Transylvania ranked second in the program in aces and third in digs.

The Pioneers completed a 20-10 season last week, its best record in four years which culminated in a second-place regular finish and semifinal appearance in the HCAC Tournament.

For more on Transylvania volleyball, follow @TransylvaniaWVB on Twitter

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