Big Rapids, Mich. - Two members of the Ferris State University women's volleyball program attained 2012 Daktronics Division II All-Region First Team accolades in a recent announcement.
Senior middle hitter Anne Sutton (Grand Rapids/Northview) along with junior libero Brandie Merren (Hopkins) both received Daktronics All-Midwest Region First Team recognition in voting conducted by the region's sports information directors.
As a first team recipient, Sutton and Merren are now under consideration for Daktronics All-America accolades, which will be announced in the near future. Previously, Sutton was named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division II All-Midwest Region Team along with senior setter Samantha Fordyce (DeWitt).
Joining Sutton and Merren on the first team were Indianapolis senior hitter Kristina Kerrigan along with the Greyhounds' sophomore setter, Meghan Binkerd. The other outside hitters on the First Team came from the GLIAC, as Northwood sophomore Juliia Pakhomenko and Ashland senior Brittany Snider were voted to the team. Both middle hitters on the First Team were seniors and came from rival GLIAC schools in Sutton and Grand Valley State's Eno Umoh. Merren was the only libero chosen to the first team.
The All-Midwest Region Second Team also featured seven players, including Lewis teammates Jen Krumwiede (senior outside hitter) and Amy Choi (junior libero). The other outside hitters were Wisconsin-Parkside junior Bridget Nickel and Drury senior Alex Smith. Both of the middle hitters on the Second Team were freshmen; Krista Haslag of Missouri S&T joined Rockhurst's Kelsey Stratman as the lone first-year players on either team. Ashland's Crystal Elliott was voted the Second Team libero.
Four schools (Ashland, Ferris State, Indianapolis, Lewis) had two players apiece named to the 14-member Midwest Region teams, while 10 institutions were represented overall. Indianapolis and Ferris State each had a pair of First Team members. Of the 14 players that were named to the All-Midwest Region teams, eight players came from the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC), while the GLIAC had six players honored as all-region selections. Seniors represented half of the voting, as seven seniors earned all-region status (including four on the First Team), while there were three juniors, two sophomores, and a pair of freshmen on the All-Midwest Region teams
Sutton, who was an Academic All-American a year ago, ranked among the nation's top 10 players this season with a .388 attack percentage and led the Bulldogs in kills (346) and blocks (88). She also earned both All-GLIAC First Team and Capital One Division II Academic All-District IV First Team honors for the second consecutive campaign and finished first in the league in attack percentage along with ranking among the leaders in both kills and blocks.
Merren made the most of her first season as the squad's libero as she compiled a team-leading 527 digs (4.50 avg.). She took over for 2011 GLIAC "Libero of the Year" Lisa Tobiczyk and recorded only 31 reception errors in 597 attempts (.948) in 117 sets. This season, she also posted the school's second-most assists (77) and was third on the team in service aces (27). Merren placed third in the conference in total digs during the regular-season.
The duo helped Ferris State earn a bid into the 2012 NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Volleyball Tournament for the second-straight year where FSU reached the regional semifinals this past weekend (Nov. 29-30) in Indianapolis, Ind.
FSU made its 17th overall NCAA Division II Tournament appearance and posted a 24-8 overall record this campaign. The Bulldogs also recorded a 16-2 mark in GLIAC play and were only a single match away from winning a second consecutive conference title.