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April 30: Warner Named Stockton Female Athlete of the Year
Stockton made a little history in 2011 as the Ospreys tied an NJAC volleyball record by winning their fourth consecutive league championship. Stockton also extended a pair of winning streaks, 22 straight wins over NJAC opponents and 17 wins in a row at home. The Ospreys played in the NCAA Tournament for the fourth consecutive year and finished another successful season with a 25-9 overall record that included a perfect 8-0 mark in conference play.
Junior Stephanie Warner led the nation in hitting percentage (.468) and piled up a lengthy list of postseason honors. Warner was named an AVCA Second Team All-American to become the first Osprey to be selected to an All-America team, excluding honorable mention. The middle hitter also was voted to the All-New York Region Team for the second straight year. Warner was named NJAC Player of the Year and earned her third straight NJAC First Team nod as well. In addition to her league-best hitting percentage, she also finished second in the league in blocks (0.83 bpg) and sixth in kills (2.48 kpg).
Sophomore Nicole Serekian was chosen AVCA All-America Honorable Mention, All-New York Region and NJAC First Team after leading Stockton in kills (3.21 kpg). Serekian and Warner were joined on the NJAC First Team by senior Christine Velott, her fourth straight all-conference honor, and senior Laura Hausman. Velott finished second on the team in digs (2.96 dpg) and service aces (0.29 sapg) plus third in kills (2.37 kpg) while Hausman led the Ospreys in assists (6.43 apg). Velott also was named to the Capital One Academic All-District 2 First Team for her work in the classroom as well as on the court.
Freshman Ashley Gubista and sophomore Kasey Hennecke copped postseason rewards for their efforts too. Gubista was named All-New York Region Honorable Mention after an outstanding rookie year in which she finished second in the NJAC in digs (5.12 dpg). The libero was selected NJAC Rookie of the Week five times and NJAC Defensive Player of the Week once. Hennecke was named NJAC Honorable Mention after finishing third in the league in hitting percentage (.264). Head coach Allison Walker led Stockton to league dominance once again, and she was named NJAC Coach of the Year for the third time.
After a 4-2 start, the Ospreys reeled off six wins a row, including four at home, to improve their record to 10-2. Stockton went just 3-3 in its next six matches, but all three defeats came against regionally ranked opponents who were part of an upgraded schedule that helped the team prepare for postseason play. The Ospreys then embarked on a season-best seven-match winning streak in the first two weeks of October that brought them to 20-5 on the year. Stockton again hit a difficult part of the schedule and dropped three of its next four, all to regionally ranked foes.
Stockton closed the regular season with a pair of sweeps, including a win over Montclair State that gave the Ospreys their second straight undefeated NJAC regular season record. Stockton then defeated Rutgers-Camden and Ramapo in the NJAC tournament to win its fourth straight league title and earn another automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Unfortunately, the Ospreys drew a ranked opponent in their NCAA first round match for the fourth time in a row. Although Stockton acquitted itself well, the team fell to #3 Emory University to finish with a stellar 25-9 record.