By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- Willamette University senior middle hitter Emma Liband (Sandpoint, ID/Sandpoint HS) as well as freshman setter and opposite Jaiden Mason (Charlotte, NC/Charlotte Christian School) have been named to the 2017 All-Northwest Conference Volleyball Team as Honorable Mention selections. A total of 20 players from the nine conference teams were chosen for All-NWC recognition.
The Bearcats concluded the season with an 8-16 overall record, including 5-11 in the NWC. Liband topped the Bearcats with 94 blocks and ranked second in the NWC with 1.12 blocks per set. She led the Bearcats with a .217 hitting percentage while pounding out 116 kills. Mason contributed in most facets of the game, as she averaged 1.96 kills, 4.83 assists, 3.17 digs, 0.48 blocks and 0.27 service aces per set.
"It's great that these two players were honored by the conference," Willamette Head Coach Tom Shoji said. "It's a good ending for Emma and with Jaiden it'll be something to really build around."
Honorable Mention All-Northwest Conference
Emma Liband (Sr., MH) earned Honorable Mention All-NWC recognition for the first time. Libond's 116 kills ranked third on the team. Her .217 hitting percentage ranked 11th in the NWC. She averaged 1.38 kills per set. She led Willamette in blocks for the second time in her career. She also was first on the team in 2015 when she recorded a career-high 116 blocks and 1.55 blocks per set. This year, her 94 blocks resulted from a consistent effort at the net, as she was credited with three or more total blocks in 18 of 24 matched.
In four seasons with the Bearcats, Liband played in 86 matches and 280 sets. She provided Willamettre with 370 career kills and 304 career blocks. She earned a .212 career hitting percentage. She registered 67 block solos, including a career-high 29 solo stops this season. Liband averaged 1.32 kills and 1.09 blocks per set in her career.
Her single-match highs were 13 kills against Sul Ros State University (Texas) on Sept. 9, 2016 and 12 blocks against Whitworth University on Nov. 6, 2015. She also provide WU a career-high .450 hitting percentage versus Lewis & Clark College on Nov. 3, 2017.
Jaiden Mason (Fr., S/OPP) was one of the top freshman and one of the best all-around players in the NWC this season. She ranked first for the Bearcats with 165 kills, 406 assists and 23 service aces. She was second in the team with 266 digs. She also earned 40 total blocks. She attained a .161 hitting percentage.
During the season, Mason achieved a triple-double in two consecutive matches. She produced 14 kills, 18 assists and 14 digs against Whitman College on Oct. 20. One day later against Whitworth, she supplied 11 kills, 17 assists and 12 digs. In addition, she accumulated double-doubles in six matches, giving her eight matches with at least two stats in double-digits.
She established a career high with her 14 kills against Whitman. She set a career-high with 42 assists versus University of Puget Sound on Sept. 29 and registered a career-high 24 digs against Lewis & Clark on Nov. 3.