DURHAM, N.C. – ACC Volleyball Player of the Year Kellie Catanach and fellow All-ACC selections Becci Burling, Christiana Gray and Amanda Robertson were all named to the AVCA All-East Region Team, and head coach Jolene Nagel was named the East Region Coach of the Year as announced on Tuesday by the American Volleyball Coaches Association.
Nagel and those four Blue Devils led Duke (26-6, 16-4 ACC) to the 2010 ACC Championship and to the NCAA Volleyball Championship Regional Semifinal round where Duke will face Missouri on Friday, December 10. The four all-region selections tie for the second most in school history, matching the total of the 1993 Duke volleyball team that advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight.
Nagel, in her 12th year at Duke, guided the Blue Devils to their sixth consecutive NCAA Volleyball Championship berth and the program’s third ACC Championship in the past five years. She and her staff of 12th-year associate head coach John Wasielewski, assistant coach Cristina Pintilie, director of operations Michelle Bruin and volunteer assistant coach Jim Freeman led Duke to its fifth consecutive 25-win season and first NCAA Sweet 16 appearance since 1994. Nagel and her staff were previously honored with the East Region Coach of the Year award in 2000 and 2006.
Catanach, who became Duke’s seventh ACC Player of the Year honoree, leads the ACC and ranks 22nd nationally with 11.25 assists per set. She doubles as one of Duke’s top defensive players, averaging 2.16 digs and 0.59 blocks for a defensive unit that is holding opponents to an ACC-low .168 hitting percentage. Catanach, a native of Tampa, Fla. (Plant), and a two-time all-region honoree, also recorded her 4,000th career assist in Duke’s last match – a 3-2 NCAA Second Round win over Ohio – and ranks third on Duke’s all-time assist list.
Burling, a senior co-captain along with Catanach, earned her first career All-East Region citation after leading Duke with 359 kills and 452.0 points through Saturday’s win over Ohio. The 6-1 native of Monument, Colo. (Lewis-Palmer), recorded her 1,000th career kill in 2010 and currently ranks 14th on Duke’s all-time kills list.
Gray, a 6-5 sophomore from Carmel, Ind. (Cathedral), had a breakout season in her second year and led the ACC with a .391 hitting percentage. Also Duke’s leading blocker with 116 stops this season, Gray averages 3.88 kills for every attack error for the best mark on the team. She hit a combined .343 in Duke’s last two NCAA Tournament wins.
Robertson, a 6-3 junior from Roxboro, N.C. (Person), has emerged as one of the top right side hitters in the ACC. A dual threat, Robertson has posted nine double-doubles while ranking eighth in the ACC with a .334 hitting percentage. She ranks third on the team with 331 kills, 286 digs and 57 blocks and at one point hit .286 or better in 10 consecutive matches.
Those four all-region selections, along with freshman libero Ali McCurdy, senior outside hitter Claire Smalzer and junior outside hitter Sophia Dunworth, will lead Duke into its first Sweet 16 appearance since 1994 on Friday against Missouri. The match will start at 5 p.m. in State College, Pa.