(Editor's note: University of Providence media release)
GREAT FALLS – The University of Providence volleyball team received a plethora of recognition from the American Volleyball Coaches Association All-Region awards that were released on Thursday.
Cydney Finberg-Roberts, who was named the Frontier Conference Player of the Year two weeks ago, was named the Northwest Region Player of the Year along with the Region Setter of the Year. Sadie Lott was also named the Region Freshman of the Year. Finberg-Roberts, Lott and libero Sacha Legros were all named to the All-Region team.
Head coach Arunas Duda was named the Region Co-Coach of the Year of the year along with Eastern Oregon head coach Kaki Morehead. Assistant coach Drew Choules was also named the Region Assistant Coach of the Year for the second season in a row.
"It's great recognition for the girls and all of the hard work they've put in," Duda said. "It just goes to show that our program is getting to be where we want it to be consistently. It shows that we're on the right track with how we're training our kids and how we develop them. I couldn't be more proud of the kids and the effort they put in themselves off the court getting ready for the season. We're heading in the right direction."
Finberg-Roberts winning the Regional Player of the Year marks the second straight season an Argo has won the award after Kelsey Shaver won it last season. The redshirt sophomore from Columbia Falls was named the Frontier Conference Player of the Year and the Setter of the Year earlier this season. She finished the season ranked third in the nation in both assists per game (11.8) and total assists (1,116). She also broke the school single-season record for assists and assists per game, which is even more impressive considering the Argos had a shorter season than normal due to COVID-19.
"She has a really good grasp on how to run our offense," Duda said. "She comes in for extra work all the time and watches film with us. She prepares for every opponent so well. We know she's putting the extra work in and that's what makes her so good on the court. She understands how to train, how to improve, how to deal with adversity and setbacks. I'm very very proud of her."
Lott also adds to her magnificent collegiate debut with the Region Freshman of the Year recognition. The Idaho Falls native also received the Frontier Conference Freshman of the Year. Lott played all six rotations for the Argos and averaged 3.7 kills per game on a .256 hitting percentage. Defensively, she averaged 4.0 digs per set and recorded a total of 68 blocks on the season.
"I'm so excited for her," Duda said. "She's so humble and she's so deserving. She deflects all the praise off of her and tries to put it on her teammates and upperclassmen. She's a great all-around kid. She does everything for us on the court. She'll serve/receive, she'll play great defense, she blocks, she hits. She's a kid of high-character that does the right things. We knew she was going to be an impact player for us but she's exceeded our expectations as a freshman."
Legros was also recognized to the All-Region team. The libero from Verviers, Belgium, was a force defensively for the Argos, leading the nation in digs per set (7.6) and ranking seventh in total digs (672). She was also the main reason why as a team the Argos led the nation in digs per game (23.2). Legros also broke the school record for digs in a season and digs per set.
"She's such a catalyst for our team," Duda said. "She's the most competitive spirit on the court. She really drives us defensively with her court IQ and her drive. She's constantly coaching the underclassmen on the court. It's like having another coach on the court. She just makes some amazing plays every day. You love those kids who never take a day off and that's her."
Duda was named of the Co-Coach of the Year after being named the Frontier Conference Coach of the Year. After starting 2-2, Duda led the team to 20 straight wins, including the first two games of the NAIA national championship. The Argos won their first outright regular-season conference championship en route to winning their third straight Frontier Conference tournament championship. The Argos also qualified for the national tournament for the third season in a row.
"I'm humbled," Duda said. "It's been a crazy year and I think it's a testament to the fact that Drew and I did things the right way. We tried as hard as we could to keep these kids together during the COVID-19 process. It shows us that we're moving in the right direction. We're nationally recognized as a program now and this is where we want to be every year."
Choules was named the Region Assistant Coach of the Year for the second straight season. She was also named the Assistant Coach of the Year in the Frontier Conference.
"Drew is amazing," Duda said. "It's like having another head coach in the program. She's so instrumental with the relationships we build with the girls, the scouting reports that she spends so much time on. She's a great assistant coach. She adds so much. It's a very well-deserving award for her."
To view the complete list of AVCA NAIA regional awards, click here.