FLORENCE, S.C. – Three Francis Marion University volleyball players and head coach Sonny Kirkpatrick earned post-season honors at the recent Peach Belt Conference Tournament in Savannah, Ga.
Sophomore middlehitter Lezlie Logan (Cleburne, Texas) and sophomore libero Jessica Strader (Kettering, Ohio) were both named to the All-Conference Team, while outside hitter Michelle Settergren (Walnut, Calif.) was selected the Peach Belt’s Freshman of the Year.
Kirkpatrick was voted the PBC’s Coach of the Year after directing the Patriots to their most successful season since 1999. FMU went from a 20-loss season in 2003 to a 20-win campaign this year. Picked to tie for sixth in the PBC preseason coaches’ poll, Kirkpatrick guided Francis Marion to a third-place finish during the Peach Belt regular season and an appearance in the PBC Tournament semifinals this past weekend. He also recorded his 200th career coaching victory during the 2004 season.
Kirkpatrick is the third Patriot coach to garner PBC Coach of the Year honors, joining Debbie Fore (1994) and Jerry Pruitt (1996, 1998).
Logan set a Patriot season record with 546 kills and led the squad with 4.11 kills per game and 0.69 blocks per game. She registered a .244 attack percentage, was second on the team with 49 service aces, and averaged 0.56 digs per game.
Strader, a part-time setter in 2003, moved to the libero position in 2004 and enjoyed a record-setting season. She set school and Peach Belt season records for digs (663) and most matches with at least 20 digs (17). She also led Francis Marion with 54 service aces.
Settergren led the Patriots in attack percentage with a .296 mark, and was third on the team in kills (349), kills per game (2.77), and blocks per game (0.54). She is the third FMU rookie to earn the award, joining Crystal Poskey (Co-Freshman of the Year in 1996) and Logan, who was Co-Freshman of the Year in 2003.
Settergren was also named to last weekend’s PBC Tournament All-Tournament Team.
The 2004 Patriot squad did not include any seniors.