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WOMEN’S VOLLEYBALL: Wildcats’ Walker Voted 2019 GNAC Player of the Year


Five-time GNAC champion
JWU places four on First Team

WINTHROP, Mass. – Five-time defending Great Northeast Athletic Conference champion Johnson & Wales University (RI) has placed four student-athletes on the 2019 GNAC Women's Volleyball All-Conference First Team, highlighted by senior Kate Walker earning Player of the Year honors.

The league's 13 head coaches vote to decide the All-GNAC teams and major award winners, as the GNAC office unveiled the 2019 selections on Tuesday. For the complete list of selections, please see below.

Joining Walker as a First Team honoree from JWU were senior outside hitter Maria Coniglio, senior setter Brylee Frank, and junior libero Elyssa Nicolas, who also earned the 2019 GNAC Libero of the Year award.

The always-efficient Walker once again led the GNAC in hitting percentage with a stellar .443 clip, as she is averaging 3.22 kills and 0.82 blocks per set for JWU, who went undefeated in GNAC play for the fourth consecutive season en route to its fifth straight GNAC Championship, blanking Rivier University, 3-0, this past Saturday.

Coniglio has averaged 3.36 kills, 0.25 aces and 2.99 digs per set thus far, while Frank is averaging 9.96 assists and 2.42 digs per set.

Nicolas enters NCAA Tournament play with a per-set average of 4.72 digs, as JWU prepares to take on Maine Maritime at Tufts on Friday (time TBD).

Simmons University earned the other two major individual awards, as freshman outside hitter Sydney Iannantuono was named the 2019 GNAC Rookie of the Year and head coach Scott Grandpre was voted the GNAC Coach of the Year.

Iannantuono, a 5-8 East Lyme, Conn. native, averaged 2.34 kills and 2.16 digs per set for the Sharks, who earned the No. 2 seed in the GNAC Tournament and placed five on the All-GNAC teams under Grandpre.

Rounding out the First Team selections were Rivier's Taylor Dunster and Jess Whyte, along with Simmons junior Morgan Weeg, who averaged a GNAC-leading 3.83 kills per set for the Sharks.

Dunster and Whyte both averaged 2.94 kills per set, with Whyte hitting an impressive .357 and Dunster chipping in with 3.38 digs per set.

First Team
Maria Coniglio, Johnson & Wales (RI)
Brylee Frank, Johnson & Wales (RI)
Elyssa Nicolas, Johnson & Wales (RI)
Kate Walker, Johnson & Wales (RI)
Taylor Dunster, Rivier
Jess Whyte, Rivier
Morgan Weeg, Simmons

Second Team
Hannah Dolan, Johnson & Wales (RI)
Kiana Perez Diaz, Lasell
Kathryn Farnum, Norwich
Avery Pollard, Rivier
Amanda Fortune, Simmons
Faith Gray-Williams, Simmons
Morgan Lauvray, Simmons

Third Team
Naarah Cox, Colby-Sawyer
Morgan Flynn, Colby-Sawyer
Katryna Veasey, Regis (Mass.)
Sydney Racevicius, Rivier
Sydney Iannantuono, Simmons
Hannah Fabiano, Suffolk
Harmony Johnson, Suffolk

GNAC Player of the Year – Kate Walker, Johnson & Wales
GNAC Libero of the Year – Elyssa Nicolas, Johnson & Wales
GNAC Rookie of the Year – Sydney Iannantuono, Simmons
GNAC Coach of the Year – Scott Grandpre, Simmons
GNAC Institutional Sportsmanship Award – Saint Joseph's College of Maine

2019 GNAC All-Sportsmanship Team
Ashley David, Albertus Magnus
Taylor Hoffstedt, Anna Maria
Olivia Goodrich, Colby-Sawyer
Tenzin Dotsang, Emmanuel
Kelly Delaney, Johnson & Wales       
Meg Roberts, Lasell
Sarah Farnum, Norwich
Caiti Pope, Regis
Joy Maswoswe, Rivier
Nina Nevarez, Saint Joseph (CT)
Nicole Baron, Saint Joseph's (Me.)
Grace Pontius, Simmons
Sarah Mullahy, Suffolk

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.