(Photo courtesy MSU Billings)

MSUB Athletics

PORTLAND, Ore. – MSU Billings Senior Ashlynn Ward was named Great Northwest Athletic Conference First Team and fellow senior Stormy Siemion was recognized with an Honorable Mention team award the conference office announced Tuesday.

Ward, a 6-foot-1 outside hitter from Rexburg, Idaho was selected as a first team honoree for the first time in her career. This season, the senior was consistently ranked in the top-5 in the GNAC in kills per set and this week is No. 3, finishing up her season averaging 3.46. On the outside, Ward ended the year with 398 kills and a .243 attack percentage for 15th in the conference. She is also ranked sixth in the league in points per set with 3.77.

“We are really proud of Ashlynn,” MSUB head coach Casey Williams said. “Not only has she been recognized through MSUB as a leader on the court, she has been recognized in the conference as one of the top outsides. She has worked really hard to accomplish this and we couldn’t be more proud of her.”

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“Ashlynn had a tremendous career here at MSUB,” Williams continued. “She has been dominant for us on offense and has the unique ability to terminate the ball with almost any set she is given; her presence on the court will be greatly missed next year.”

Ward ended the year playing in all 30 matches and 115 sets for MSU Billings. She led the team in attack percentage and kills and was second in blocks with 64.0 for .56 per set. The senior finished her final season as a Yellowjacket with the best numbers of her collegiate career. This year, Ward was rotated into the back line where she accumulated 149 total digs and had two service aces.

This year, Ward became just one of eight Yellowjackets to accumulate 1,000 career kills. Ward finishes her career on five of the 10 MSUB all-time records.

She is No. 7 in career kills (1,156), No. 6 in attempts (3,304), No. 10 in blocks assists (181), No. 9 in hitting percentage (.212), and No. 6 in sets played (400).

Like Ward, Siemion finished her last season on the volleyball court with some of the best numbers of her career. In the GNAC, the outside hitter is sixth in kills per set at 3.39 and 16th in digs at 3.24. She is ranked seventh in points at 3.67 per set.

Siemion was second on the MSUB team in attack percentage at .123 and third in service aces at 15.

The native of Huntley, Mont., finishes her career having amassed 800 kills, 70 assists, 41 service aces, 952 digs, and 52 total blocks. Her digs total of 952 places Siemion on the MSUB all-time list at No. 9.

“Stormy was our go-to’s this year and got a good majority of our balls,” Williams said. “She was aggressive with all of her attacks. Stormy was one of the smaller outsides in our conference but did not let that affect her at any point. This has been the best year for Stormy both on offense and defense. She was in on almost every play and we are so excited that Stormy has been honored as an Honorable Mention all-conference selection.”

Morgan Hooe from Alaska Anchorage was named the GNAC Player of the Year while UAA head coach Chris Green was named the GNAC Coach of the Year. Alison McKay from Simon Fraser was named Defensive Player of the Year, Dana Fa’amausili from Alaska Anchorage was selected Freshman of the Year, while Michele Brown from Concordia (Ore.) was named Newcomer of the Year.

The Yellowjackets ended their 2016 season with four straight road contests culminating with a match at Simon Fraser on Nov. 19. MSU Billings finished the season with a 7-23 overall record and 5-15 in the GNAC for 9th place in the conference.