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Leonard, Bolf close regular season with GAC honors

ARKADELPHIA -- Ouachita Baptist senior Stormi Leonard was named the Great American Conference's Setter of the Week for the third time in her record-setting final season, while Henderson State junior Courtney Bolf took Offensive Player of the Week honors.

Leonard, of Decatur, Texas, capped her regular-season career by averaging a GAC-leading 13.57 assists per set for the Tigers (22-8, 11-5) in victories against Southern Arkansas (8-21, 2-14) and Arkansas Tech (17-11, 10-6). She collected 48 assists and eight digs in a four-set win versus Southern Arkansas before she set the GAC high this season for assists in a three-set match with 47 against Arkansas Tech.

"It feels great earning this award for my last week of regular season play," Leonard said. "I think it was a great week for our team, and our offense was able to click more than ever.

"Our defense didn't let anything hit the floor, so I was able to spread the ball around pretty easily. All the hitters were firing away, and it was a lot of fun to see all of that come together leading into the tournament."

Leonard had a .444 hitting average for the week. The Tigers hit .349 against Arkansas Tech, their best mark against a GAC opponent this season.

"For Stormi to get Setter of the Week for the last week of conference is a testament to her and our whole team," said Ouachita head volleyball coach Allison Frizzell-Kizer. "She has maintained her goals for the year and is continuing to make efforts to make the team's goals come to life.

"We are proud of her for competing day in and day out on the court. Our offense was clicking and defense was doing its job to keep the ball in play. Overall, a great team effort to give Stormi the opportunity to spread the ball around."

Leonard produced 30 or more assists in all but two matches this season. The GAC's all-time leader in assists ended the regular season with 4,658 assists, which ranks in the top five in the nation among active players.

Henderson freshman Taylor Scalzi was also nominated for the weekly award. She averaged 5.33 assists per set in two victories last week for the Reddies (26-5, 13-3).

Also nominated were Hayden Blair, Oklahoma Baptist; Rachel Heussner, Harding; Caitlin Murdock, Southern Arkansas; and Kaitlyn Robinson, Northwestern Oklahoma State.

Bolf, of Fort Worth, Texas, totaled 34 kills in a pair of three-set victories against Arkansas-Monticello (6-26) and Southern Arkansas. She tallied 15 kills and 22 digs against the Blossoms.

Against Southern Arkansas, Bolf became the ninth Reddie to reach the 1,000-kill milestone when she hit .417 for 19 kills against the Muleriders to help the Reddies finish the regular season with 26 wins, their best tally since winning 28 matches in 2001.

Ouachita outsider hitter Katie Camp was also nominated after hitting 18 kills with a .364 attack percentage against Arkansas Tech. The other nominees were East Central middle blocker Karina Erreguin, Harding middle blocker Zoe Hardin, Northwestern outside hitter Hannah Williams, Oklahoma Baptist outside hitter Malia Leatherland and Southern Arkansas right side Morgan Gross.

Henderson libero Kenzie Thoman was nominated for the league's defensive award after averaging 5.33 digs per set in last week's matches. Harding senior outside hitter Madison Poen was voted the Defensive Player of the Week. The other nominees were Northwestern libero Tobi Barker, Oklahoma Baptist middle blocker Brecken Roquemore, Southern Arkansas defensive specialist Camryn Bihary and Southern Nazarene libero Logan Matthews.

Henderson tied for the second-best conference record in the league and will enter this week's tournament as the No. 3 seed. The Reddies will meet sixth seed Oklahoma Baptist (16-16, 9-7) in the opening match on Thursday at noon at Bank OZK Arena.

The win over the Golden Suns earned Ouachita the fourth seed in the tournament. The two teams will match up again on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in the final match of the quarterfinals.

Henderson and Ouachita were absent from the GAC football awards for the second straight week after garnering the most honorees throughout the season. The two will meet on Saturday at 1 p.m. in the 92nd edition of the Battle of the Ravine at Carpenter-Haygood Stadium and Ruggles Field.

Running back Shun'cee Thomas earned a nomination on offense averaging 10.2 yards on 13 rushing attempts for two touchdowns in a 35-10 victory for the Tigers (10-0) against Southern Arkansas (8-2). Receiver Ben Johnson was nominated after catching nine passes for 118 yards for the Reddies (5-5) in a 24-17 home defeat to Arkansas-Monticello (5-5).

Southern Nazarene sophomore quarterback Gage Porter was voted Offensive Player of the Week. The other nominees were Arkansas Tech running back Bryan Allen, Harding running back Cole Chancey, Southern Arkansas receiver Karonce Higgins, East Central running back Tyson Jones and Oklahoma Baptist running back Ruben Thompson.

Ouachita linebacker Austin Guymon was nominated on defense after making eight tackles and an interception on Saturday. The Defensive Player of the Week award went to Southern Nazarene sophomore defensive back Jakel Davis. Also nominated were East Central safety Justin Hayden, Harding cornerback V'Onte Williams, Monticello defensive end Easton Siedl, Oklahoma Baptist defensive back Landon Rowlett and Southern Arkansas linebacker Kobe McDonald.

Southern Nazarene freshman kick returner Alfed Gear was named Special Teams Player of the Week. Ouachita defensive back Keandre Evans was also nominated with a blocked field goal. The other nominees were East Central punter Jack Preston, Harding kicker and punter Cameron Scott, Oklahoma Baptist punter Hayden Ashley and Southern Arkansas kicker Austin Wilkerson.

Sports on 11/07/2018

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