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Headlined by Player of the Year Brylee Frank, JWU Volleyball Secures Five on All-GNAC First Team


JWU's Nicolas, Somera named
Libero and Coach of the Year

WINTHROP, Mass. – After posting a 31-1 overall record and earning the right to host the NCAA Division III Regional for the second straight year, four-time defending league champion Johnson & Wales University (RI) has placed five student-athletes on the 2018 Great Northeast Athletic Conference Women's Volleyball All-Conference First Team.

Wildcats junior setter Brylee Frank, who was voted the 2018 GNAC Player of the Year by the league's head coaches, was joined on the First Team by junior Maria Coniglio, senior Katie Leidhold, sophomore Elyssa Nicolas and junior Kate Walker. Nicolas was also selected as the GNAC Libero of the Year.

Head coach Nancy Somera, who this fall has guided JWU all the way to the No. 2 ranking in the AVCA Division III poll, was voted the GNAC Coach of the Year. Somera was named the 2017 AVCA National Coach of the Year and in 2016 and 2017 was named AVCA New England Region Coach of the Year.

Seeking its second straight regional title and trip to the Elite Eight, JWU will be in NCAA Regional action on Friday evening (8:00 PM) at the Wildcat Center on the JWU Harborside Campus against Eastern Connecticut State.

Statistically, JWU did not lose a set in GNAC regular-season play. Frank led the GNAC with 11.09 assists per set, while Walker led the GNAC with a .418 hitting percentage and has averaged 3.13 kills and 0.80 blocks per set. Nicolas was second among conference leaders in digs per set (4.87).

Coniglio is hitting .262 while averaging 2.98 kills and 2.72 digs per set. Leidhold is hitting .259 with per-set averages of 2.84 kills and

Rounding out the First Team selections were Rivier University junior Taylor Dunster and senior Hayley Macken. Dunster averaged 2.60 kills and 2.48 digs, while Macken was behind only Frank with 9.42 assists per set for the Raiders, who advanced to the GNAC Championship.

Collecting 2018 GNAC Rookie of the Year honors was Lasell College freshman Kiana Perez, a Second Team selection. The first-year was second among GNAC leaders with 3.30 kills per set and also added 3.02 digs per set.

Regis (Mass.) junior Katryna Veasey, who led the conference with 3.36 kills per set, and Saint Joseph's College of Maine senior libero Jenelle Thompson, who led the GNAC with 5.61 digs per set, were both selected to the All-GNAC Second Team.

First Team
Maria Coniglio, Johnson & Wales (RI) (Jr., Old Bethpage, N.Y.)
Brylee Frank, Johnson & Wales (RI) (Jr., Palm City, Fla.)
Katie Leidhold, Johnson & Wales (RI) (Sr., Acushnet, Mass.)
Elyssa Nicolas, Johnson & Wales (RI) (So., San Francisco, Calif.)
Kate Walker, Johnson & Wales (RI) (Jr., Oakland, Calif.)
Taylor Dunster, Rivier (Jr., Sutton, Mass.)
Hayley Macken, Rivier (Sr., Clifton Park, N.Y.)

Second Team
Courtney Murray, Colby-Sawyer (Sr., Quincy, Mass.)
Olivia Addington, Lasell (Sr., Orange, Calif.)
Kiana Perez, Lasell (Fr., Juncos, P.R.)
Katryna Veasey, Regis (Mass.) (Jr., Quincy, Mass.)
Sydney Racevicius, Rivier (Fr., Woodbury, Conn.)
Jennelle Thompson, Saint Joseph's (Maine) (Sr., Rochester, N.H.)
Amanda Fortune, Simmons (Fr., Round Rock, Texas)

Third Team
Naarah Cox, Colby-Sawyer (Jr., Boston, Mass.)
Morgan Flynn, Colby-Sawyer (Jr., Reading, Mass.)
Mary Shelow, Emmanuel (Mass.) (Sr., Miami, Fla.)
Hannah Dolan, Johnson & Wales (RI) (So., San Clemente, Calif.)
Courtney Collins, Rivier (Gr., Litchfield, N.H.)
Faith Gray-Williams, Simmons (So., Las Vegas, Nev.)
Talia Lombardo, Suffolk (Sr., Windham, N.H.)

PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Brylee Frank, Johnson & Wales (RI)
Elyssa Nicolas, Johnson & Wales (RI)
Kiana Perez, Lasell
Nancy Somera, Johnson & Wales (RI)
Saint Joseph (Conn.)

Jaiden Williams, Albertus Magnus (Fr., Orange, Conn.)
Abygail Chapdelaine, Anna Maria (So., East Longmeadow, Mass.)
Nicole Olivieri, Colby-Sawyer (Sr., Salem, N.H.)
Selina Brito, Emmanuel (Mass.) (So., Lowell, Mass.)
Monica Cordova, Johnson & Wales (RI) (Sr., Jersey City, N.J.)
Allie Jo Amos, Lasell (So., Prescott, Ariz.)
Emily Oliver, Norwich (Sr., Sagamore Hills, Ohio)
Erika Andreoli, Regis (Mass.) (Sr., Naugatuck, Conn.)
Taylor White, Rivier (Sr., Dunstable, Mass.)
Nina Nevarez, Saint Joseph (Conn.) (Fr., New Milford, Conn.) 
Madison Provencher, Saint Joseph's (Maine) (So.,  Rochester, N.H.)
Julia Fusco, Simmons (So., Beverly, Mass.)
Bridget Allison, Suffolk (Sr., Westford, Mass.)

The Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) is an NCAA Division III association made up of 13 member institutions and over 3,000 student-athletes across the New England region. Founded in 1995, the GNAC annually sponsors and administers 20 championships, while balancing academic integrity, athletic opportunity and community involvement in an effort to enhance the student-athlete experience.