Valparaiso had a league-best four players selected to the Horizon League All-League team as the league announced its year-end awards on Wednesday. Kim Bukowski (Waukesha, Wis./West), Brittany Malicoat (Elkhart, Ind./Memorial), Angie Porché (Lynwood, Ill./Thornton Fractional South) and Allison Sears (Elkhart, Ind./Memorial) were all named to the All-League squad. In addition, Porché was named the Player of the Year, while Malicoat was selected as Defensive Player of the Year for the second season in a row.
Porché becomes just the third Crusader volleyball player to earn league Player of the Year honors, joining Mid-Con honorees Cheri Hughes (1996) and Lauren Moulton (2004). The junior outside hitter, who received postseason league recognition for the third straight year, leads the league in kills by better than a full kill per set and currently ranks fifth in the nation with an average of 4.64 kills/set. Her 483 total kills on the season already rank fourth in a single year in Crusader history. Earlier this season, she set new Valpo career records for both kills and attacks and currently has 1,547 kills and 3,846 attacks.
Malicoat becomes the first player in program history to earn multiple league Defensive Player of the Year honors. A three-time postseason honoree, the senior libero is among the top-20 players in NCAA history with 2,250 career digs. She ranks second in the league and 14th in the nation with an average of 5.25 digs/set. Earlier this season, Malicoat had a streak of 77 straight matches reaching double figures in digs snapped, the third-longest known streak in NCAA Division I history. This year, the senior has tallied 562 digs, fourth in a single season in Valpo history and among the top-five single-season totals all-time in the Horizon League.
Bukowski earns her first career year-end honor after a regular season in which she set the Crusaders to the top spot in the nation in both kills/set and assists/set. The junior setter is currently averaging 11.46 assists/set, by far the best in the Horizon League and good for 15th nationally. Bukowski’s 1,192 assists on the season already rank her tenth in a single year in Valpo history.
Sears picks up her first career year-end league accolade as well in a season in which she has been a vital threat in the Crusader offense. The senior middle hitter currently ranks third in the Horizon League with an average of 3.26 kills/set, the best among all league middles. Sears also sits eighth among league players with a .258 hitting percentage on the season.
All four honorees were named league Players of the Week twice during the 2008 campaign, with Bukowski, Porché and Sears earning the accolades on offense and Malicoat on defense. The quartet and the rest of the Crusaders will look to capture Horizon League gold this week at the Horizon League Championships, starting with a 4 p.m. CST match against Green Bay on Friday.