SIOUX CITY – Great Plains Athletic Conference regular season tri-champions Hastings, Dordt and Northwestern were each honored with three individuals on the first-team all-conference squad released on Wednesday.
The trio of players from those three teams account for nine of the 14 first-team members as selected by the league’s 11 head coaches.
Dordt junior Jamie Gesink, a three-time first-team selection, is the GPAC Setter-of-the-Year after leading the league with 1,326 assists and ranking second in assists per game at 10.6.
Ema Altena, one of Gesink’s main targets at outside hitter for the Defenders is also a three-time first team honoree after leading the league in kills with 556 and kills per set with 4.5.
Dordt senior Summer Jansen earns first team honors for the first time as the libero led the league in digs with 654 and digs per set at 5.2.
Hastings senior Katie Placke, also a three-time first-team selection, is the GPAC Player-of-the Year during a season in which the former league Freshman-of-the-Year had 291 kills, a .331 hitting percentage and 496 assists for the defending national champions.
Two more three-time honorees include a pair of Midland juniors in Priscilla O’Dowd (358 kills) and Jessica Peters (922 assists).
Northwestern’s three first-team selections include Lauryn Hilger, a repeat honoree, along with A.J. Horstman and Anna Kiel.
Hilger, a junior, ranked seventh in the GPAC with a .279 kill efficiency and hit for double figures in 10 matches while the all-rotation player averaged 2.8 digs per set.
Horstman, a sophomore, ranked in the top 10 in both hitting percentage (.274) and ace serves (41) while posting 16 matches with 10 plus kills.
Kiel, a sophomore middle hitter, averaged 3.5 kills per set while hitting at a .375 clip, second in the league behind O’Dowd (.396). She has 26 matches with 10 plus kills while also accounting for 85 blocks and two digs per set.
Northwestern setter Lacey Wacker is the GPAC Freshman-of-the-Year after an initial college campaign of 1,301 assists, second most in the GPAC and a league-best 11.3 assists per set.
Hastings senior Jill Bax is the GPAC Libero-of-the-Year as the repeat first-team selection had 403 digs and averaged 4.5 per set.
Morningside senior Nikki Oberfoell, a libero, earns first-team honors for the first time after recording 534 digs, third most in the GPAC for an average of 4.9 per set.
Hastings, Dordt and Northwestern shared the league title with identical 14-2 marks and are three of five teams along with Morningside and Midland representing the league that will participate in the NAIA National Championships at the Tyson Events Center Nov. 28 to Dec. 2.
Hastings coach Matt Buttermore was honored for the second straight season as league Coach-of-the-Year.