Nov. 17, 2012
Midland, Mich. - Four Grand Valley State players earned All-GLIAC honors on Saturday (Nov. 17), including one of the league's four specialty awards, as Betsy Ronda was named the 2012 GLIAC Freshman of the Year. The awards were announced between the two semifinal matches at the GLIAC Tournament, as Ronda and senior Eno Umoh were both named to the All-GLIAC First Team.
In addition to Ronda and Umoh earning All-GLIAC First Team honors, sophomore Abby Aiken was chosen to the All-GLIAC Second Team. Classmate Clair Ruhenkamp, the Lakers setter, earned All-GLIAC Honorable Mention status. Voting for the all-conference teams was conducted by the league's head coaches.
Ronda becomes just the fourth Laker in school history to be named the GLIAC Freshman of the Year, joining Rebeccah Rapin (2007) as the only GVSU players to earn the award under current head coach Deanne Scanlon. Carrie Baker (1991) and Colleen Murphy (1987) also earned GLIAC Freshman of the Year honors under then head coach Joan Boand.
Heading into Saturday's GLIAC semifinal match against Wayne State, Ronda leads the Lakers in kills (345), attacks (1,002), service aces (29), and points per set (3.62). She also ranks second on the team in digs (344) and fifth in blocks (38), while placing seventh in the GLIAC with 3.17 kills per set. A true freshman, Ronda has started in all 30 matches and played in 109 of GVSU's 110 sets this season. She has recorded a team-high 17 double-doubles this season, notched double-digit kills 21 times, and picked up 10 or more digs in 20 matches.
In addition to being named GLIAC Freshman of the Year, Ronda was voted to the All-GLIAC First Team and was the only freshman in the league to be named to either the all-conference first or second team. In fact, Ronda is the only Grand Valley State freshman to ever be selected to the All-GLIAC First Team. GVSU has had 50 First Team All-GLIAC honorees since 1977 and Ronda is the only freshman on that list.
Umoh earns her second All-GLIAC award, as she was a Second Team selection last season. Ranking second in the GLIAC in blocks per set (1.28) and 10th in hitting percentage (.288), Umoh has had a standout senior season. She leads GVSU in all four blocking categories: solo blocks (28), block assists (101), and total blocks (129), as well as blocks per set. At the end of the year, Umoh will have led the Lakers in block assists during all four seasons of her career.
Heading into this weekend's tournament, she is third all-time in GVSU history with 493 total blocks, looking to join Rapin (525) and Wendy Lesch (515) as the only players in Laker history with over 500 career blocks. She also ranks second all-time with 411 block assists, trailing only Rapin's 437 assisted blocks. Umoh has started in all 28 matches in which she has played this season, also totaling 206 kills, 49 digs, and 15 aces.
Earning her first all-conference honors was Aiken, a Second Team member. Ranking sixth in the GLIAC with 3.25 kills per set, Aiken has provided 338 kills, 150 digs, and 26 blocks this season. She has recorded double-digit kills in 18 matches, including the first seven of the season. Against Ashland on Oct. 6, Aiken notched a career-high and team season-high 24 kills in the 3-2 victory. She has totaled three double-doubles, including an 18-kill, 14-dig performance in a 3-1 win over Walsh on Sept. 22. Aiken also posted a pair of identical 18-kill, 13-dig outings in two 3-2 wins on Sept. 1 against Missouri S&T and Western Oregon.
An All-GLIAC Honorable Mention selection for the second year in a row, Ruhenkamp is sixth in the GLIAC with 9.61 assists per set. Her 1,788 assists in two seasons is already good for eighth-most in GVSU career history. She has started all 30 matches and played in every set this season, leading the Lakers in assists, while ranking third in digs (257) and aces (16), and fourth in blocks (39). Ruhenkamp has provided 30 or more assists in 18 matches, 40 or more nine times, and at least 50 assists in five contests. She has totaled seven double-doubles, including a career-high 59 assists and 18 digs in a 3-1 win over Walsh on Sept. 22.
In addition to Ronda being named Freshman of the Year, the other three GLIAC postseason awards were as follows: Northwood's Juliia Pakhomenko was the GLIAC Player of the Year, while NU's Tim Koth was the league's Coach of the Year. Junior Brandie Merren of Ferris State was tabbed as the GLIAC Libero of the Year.