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Five Paladins Receive SoCon Postseason Honors, Young Tabbed as Coach of the Year

Five Paladins Receive SoCon Postseason Honors, Young Tabbed as Coach of the Year

Greenville, S.C. – Five Paladins were named to Southern Conference All-Conference Teams and Michelle Young picked up Coach of the Year honors, it was announced Tuesday by the league office. 

Jamila Johnson was the Paladins' first-team honoree, while Nicole Mack, Christen Sikora, and Meg DeMaar were named to the league's second team. Middle blocker Courtney Hoffman was named to the All-Freshman squad.

In her 18th season at the helm of the Furman volleyball program, Young led the Paladins to their fourth SoCon regular-season title, second in the last four seasons. Furman, coming off a disappointing 2016 season and picked to finish sixth in the preseason coaches' poll, finished with a 20-9 overall record and 14-2 mark in conference play. The Paladins recorded a 10-game winning streak in conference play and picked up non-conference wins at Georgia Tech and Liberty.

Johnson was named First Team All-Conference after tallying a team-high 384 kills, ranking fourth in the conference in kills per set (3.80) and finishing second on the team in digs with 329. The junior also added 25 blocks on the year, as well as 19 aces. A native of Greenville, S.C., Johnson picked up a career-high 28 kills in a five-set loss at Tennessee in September, turned in double-digit kills in 23 matches this season, and was named the league's offensive Player of the Month for September. This is her second-career postseason honor, as she was named to the All-Freshman squad in 2015.

DeMaar, who missed the majority of 2016 with a back injury, was named All-SoCon second team after leading the team with 468 digs. The Glen Ellyn, Ill., native was twice named the league's Defensive Player of the Week this season, and picked up double-digit digs in 12 matches in SoCon play.

Sikora was also named SoCon second-team after finishing second on the team in kills with 268. Sikora turned in 138 kills in SoCon play, including a season-high 18 kills at Chattanooga. The Southlake, Texas, native hit better than .300 five times in conference play, including a career-high .426 percentage against The Citadel.

Mack joined her teammates on the All-Conference second team after finishing third on the team in kills with 254 and leading the Paladins in kills in conference play with 179. The sophomore put up big numbers in SoCon play, tallying double-digit kills in 13 of 16 matches, including a career-high 21 at Western Carolina. The Cascade, Colo., native was named the league's Offensive Player of the Week in October and finished every SoCon match with single-digit attack errors.

Redshirt freshman Courtney Hoffman was named to the league's seven-member All-Freshman team, after putting down 185 kills, a .300 hitting percentage and leading the team with 83 blocks.

The Paladins earned the No. 1 seed in the upcoming SoCon Tournament and will face the winner of No. 8 Mercer vs No. 9 The Citadel on Friday at 2:30 p.m.