Valparaiso junior Taylor Root (Jenison, Mich./Jenison) has been named the Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight year as the league released its postseason award winners on Monday afternoon. Root also earned All-League honors for the third year in a row, while senior Jenny Pokorny (Geneva, Ill./Geneva) earned repeat All-League accolades as well. Freshman Morgan Beil (St. Louis, Mo./Marquette) joined her pair of upperclassmen teammates on the All-League team and also was a member of the All-Newcomer squad.
Root receives the Defensive Player of the Year accolade for the second straight season after averaging 5.37 digs/set during the regular season, a number which ranked second in the Horizon League and 24th nationally. The junior, who just set the league’s career digs record last week and also set a new mark for most Player of the Week honors, has tallied 618 digs on the year, a number which already ranks fifth in a single-season all-time at Valpo, as well as fifth on the league’s single-season chart. The Crusader libero has also chipped in from the service line, ranking second on the team with 23 aces on the year while committing just 10 service errors.
Pokorny becomes the fifth Crusader in Valpo’s five years as a Horizon League member to earn a spot on the All-League team in multiple seasons. The senior has registered 1,120 assists to date this year, pushing her career total to 2,852 assists, which ranks fifth all-time at Valpo. Pokorny also ranks among the Crusaders’ top players in a number of other categories, as she is tied for second on the team in digs (345) and is third in blocks (60) and aces (22). She also is a threat on the attack, posting 137 kills on the season, over 40 more than any of the league’s other primary setters.
Beil is the first freshman to make the All-League team since Root earned a spot on the 14-member squad as a rookie in 2009. The freshman middle, who is the only newcomer on the All-League squad this year, has proven to be a force on both sides of the ball this season. Beil ranks fifth in the league with a .291 hitting percentage, on pace to finish fourth in a single season in the category in Valpo history. She also has tallied 240 kills, second-most among Crusaders, and has paced Valpo in Horizon League play with 128 kills on .296 hitting. Defensively, Beil ranks among the top-10 in the league with 92 blocks on the year.