Cranston named Mountain West Player of the Year

Nov. 27, 2012

MW release | NCAA tournament information
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Colorado State senior Dana Cranston has been named the 2012 Mountain West Volleyball Player of the Year. It marks the fourth consecutive season that a CSU player has earned the league’s top honor, and the ninth time in the league’s 14-year history. The conference made the announcement Tuesday afternoon after a vote from the league’s nine head coaches.

In addition to Cranston, fellow seniors Brieon Paige and Megan Plourde, and sophomore Deedra Foss, were also named to the All-Mountain West team.

“In a year where there was so much parody, it’s a great honor to get so much recognition from our league’s coaches,” Head Coach Tom Hilbert said. “I’m proud of all my players, but certainly, those who received this honor.”

Cranston ranked second in the Mountain West in kills (3.89), points (4.60) and service aces (0.31), and led all outside hitters with a .277 hitting percentage.

“Dana took on a huge responsibility this season,” Hilbert said. “She went from being a support player to our anchor. She’s the anchor point-scorer for the Mountain West champions, and that’s a huge weight to carry every night. She did it with a tremendous amount of class and grace.”

Cranston, the preseason player of the year, hit double-digits in kills 22 times, including nine of her final 10 matches—part of an eight-match winning streak for the Rams. She also led CSU in kills 18 times this season. Additionally, she ranks third on the team in assists, fourth in digs and fourth in blocks. Cranston is a native of Fort St. John, B.C. It is her second All-MW selection.

With Plourde’s selection, she becomes just the fourth Ram to earn all-conference honors all four years of her career, joining Cindy Cox (1985-88 HCAC), Angela Knopf (1998 WAC, 1999-01 MW) and Tess Rogers (2002-05 MW). Only Kim Turner (Utah, 2000-03) had previously earned four all-MW selections

“Meg has always played with a great deal of maturity,” Hilbert said. “She understands her role and never has a bad match; that’s what’s most impressive about Meg. She consistently plays at such a high level.”

Plourde ranks eighth nationally in blocking at 1.54 per set, and averaged 2.98 kills on .389 hitting (second in the MW). The 2011 AVCA All-American holds more than 1,000 career kills and 600 blocks—one of two Rams ever to reach that milestone—and she has a chance to finish her career as the program’s top blocker. Plourde hails from Somerset, Wis.

Paige, a native of Fresno, Calif., also earned her second All-MW selection. In 2012, she led the conference in hitting (.391), also posting 2.84 kills and 1.09 blocks per set. She hit above .400 on nine occasions.

Foss, who was the 2011 MW Newcomer of the Year, led all setters with 11.11 assists per set, also adding .75 kills and 0.82 blocks per set. Despite being just a sophomore, the McKenna, Wash., native already ranks ninth in CSU history for career assists.

This season marks the eighth time since the formation of the MW that CSU has had at least four players represented. CSU’s all-time Mountain West Player of the Year award winners are: Knopf (2000, 01), Melissa Courtney (2003, 04), Mekana Barnes (2007), Danielle Minch (2009, 10) and Katelyn Steffan (2011).

The Rams are currently in the midst of an eight-match winning streak, propelling them to a fourth-straight MW title and 18th consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament. CSU plays Purdue on Friday in Tallahassee, Fla., in the first round of the tournament.

Name School Class Position Hometown
Liz Harden Boise State SR OPP Lake Forest, Calif.
Dana Cranston# Colorado State SR OH Fort St. John, B.C.
Deedra Foss Colorado State SO S McKenna, Wash.
Brieon Paige# Colorado State SR MB Fresno, Calif.
Megan Plourde^!# Colorado State SR MB Somerset, Wis.
Barbara Alcantara Fresno State SR S Curitiba, Brazil
Tessa Lea'ea Nevada SO MB Stockton, Calif.
Chantale Riddle New Mexico SO OPP Roswell, N.M.
Andrea Hannasch!# San Diego State SR MB New Braunfels, Texas
Raegan Shelton# San Diego State JR OH Amarillo, Texas
Kinsey Caldwell UNLV FR S Waverly, Iowa
Madeline Westman# UNLV JR MB Wauconda, Ill.
Erin Kirby# Wyoming SO MB Evanston, Wyo.
Jodi Purdy!# Wyoming SR OH Winterset, Iowa
Becky Stewart Wyoming JR L Parker, Colo.
Johnna Fouch# (setter) San Diego State JR S Redlands, Calif.
Miquella Loyato (libero) New Mexico JR L Pojoaque, N.M.
Player of the Year: Dana Cranston Colorado State SR OH  
Freshman of the Year: Kinsey Caldwell UNLV FR S  
Newcomer of the Year: Michelle Waber San Diego State SO OH  
Coach of the Year: Deitre Collins-Parker San Diego State      
^ = 2009 honoree
! = 2010 honoree
# = 2011 honoree