Volleyball hands out yearly awards, Mataya MVP

Jamie Foland

The Alaska women’s volleyball team held its annual banquet Sunday afternoon in the Binkley Room at Pike’s Waterfront Lodge and freshman setter Katlyn Mataya (Mount Vernon, Wash./Psychology) was named the Most Valuable Player for the 2012 season.

Mataya led the Nanooks and ranked fifth in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference with 9.86 assists per set (887 total) and also tallied 21 service aces, which was tied for 19th on the conference list. She had season-highs of 61 assists, 18 digs, seven kills and three aces.

“Katlyn is a once in a lifetime player,” assistant coach Mallory Larranaga said. “She was named our 2012 MVP because of her contagious competitive attitude. Katlyn wants to win every day, all the time, no excuses. This is the mindset you want your MVP to have. At the center of our team, Katlyn has done an outstanding job as a freshman setter and has already changed the pace of Nanook Volleyball. A true leader and a deserving recipient, we are proud of her honor.

Freshman outside hitter Sam Harthun (Oregon City, Ore./Photojournalism) and senior libero Allison Oddy were also presented with the other top-two individual awards.

Harthun garnered Offensive Player of the Year honors after being named GNAC Co-Rookie of the Year. She ranked fifth in the league and first among rookies with 3.49 kills per set (314 total) and also cracked the top-30 on the GNAC list with a .192 hitting percentage. Harthun turned in season-bests of 31 kills, a .654 hitting percentage, 15 digs, three blocks and three aces.

“An important quality for an outstanding offensive player is consistency,” Larranaga said. “This season, Sam was consistently great. Her competitive drive and athleticism earned her this well-deserved honor. I’m excited to see what her future holds and I expect her to break records.”

Oddy was awarded the Defensive Player of the Year award for the third straight year after leading the Nanooks’ backcourt with 4.61 digs per set, which ranks second all-time in single-season program history. She finished her career as the second-leading digger in Alaska volleyball history with 1,282 digs. She set a new career-high with 37 digs at rival Alaska Anchorage this past season.

“Ally is one of the most dynamic defensive specialists I have ever coached,” Larranaga said. “She was named Defensive Player of the Year for the third straight season because of her relentless athleticism. I’m so proud of what Ally has accomplished here at UAF. Along with her athletic accolade, she is an excellent student and we are thankful for the example she leaves our team.”

Freshman middle blocker Megan Morrison (Spring Hill, Fla./Mathematics) received the Unsung Hero award while junior outside hitter Keri Knight (Arvada, Colo./Business administration) was presented with the PHD (Pride, Hustle & Desire) certificate.

Sophomore middle blocker Britt Glaeser (Fairbanks, Alaska/Business) was named Miss Fit and freshman setter Jordan Ferland (Beaverton, Ore./Emergency management) received the Most Inspirational Award. In addition, all eight freshmen on the roster were recipients of the Coaches’ Award.

Head coach Phil Shoemaker was also honored for his 13 years of service at the helm of the program. He retired as the winningest coach in Nanooks history with 132 wins and a combined 375 wins in 29 years as a head coach.

“In Phil’s final days here in Fairbanks, it has become very evident that the community has loved him as much as he has loved his 13 years Alaska,” Larranaga said. “He is a true man of character, a caring coach, and a wonderful mentor. As we watched videos from all the alumni throughout Phil’s tenure, you get a small window in to how many lives he changed. Although he will be missed, he and his family are Nanooks forever!”