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All-Region Honors Pour in for Endicott Women's Volleyball; McAvoy Headlines as AVCA New England Rookie of the Year

Image of Colleen McAvoy hitting against Roger Williams.


BEVERLY, Mass. - Coming in on the heels of a 2018 campaign that ended with an 18-11 record overall, the Endicott women's volleyball team saw four members receive a total of seven all-region accolades. The Gulls claimed four from the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA), headlined by freshman Colleen McAvoy (Coventry, Conn.) AVCA DIII New England Rookie of the Year nod, and a total of three from the New England Women's Volleyball Association (NEWVA). Joining McAvoy with AVCA All-Region honors were Emma Mancini (Lynnfield, Mass.)Zoey Gifford (Natick, Mass.), and Mackenzie Kennedy (Andover, Mass.), while Gifford, Mancini and McAvoy also earned NEWVA honors. The collection of honors represents the single-highest season total in program history.


Following a freshman season in which she was named CCC Rookie of the Year, McAvoy garnered regional recognition, earning AVCA DIII New England Rookie of the Year honors, AVCA DIII All-New England Honorable Mention honors and NEWVA All-Rookie Team honors. Her AVCA Regional Rookie of the Year honor is the first in program history. The middle was dominant in 2018, hitting for a .364 average on the season which included a conference-best .426 average against Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) foes. 

Against the toughest portion of the schedule, McAvoy continued to perform at a consistent level, averaging 1.71 kills per set, 1.00 blocks per set and 2.53 points per set against nationally and regionally ranked opponents. The freshman produced five matches against the ranked portion in which she hit for a .300 average or better, including a dominant 10 kill effort in the team's 3-0 sweep of Springfield. Against the Pride, McAvoy hit .600 while also adding four blocks, three aces and two digs as Endicott swept Springfield for the first time in program history.


After a 2017 campaign in which Mancini became the second player in program history to earn AVCA First Team All-Region honors, Mancini earned the distinction again in 2018. In addition, the outside also earned NEWVA All-New England Region 2nd Team honors. The senior was named to the All-CCC First Team during a season in which she eclipsed the 1,000 kill plateau, and climbed to No. 6 on the Endicott women's volleyball all-time kills list. Mancini finished the season with 346 kills, the second-highest season performance of her career, to give her 1,130 career kills. 

Her efforts against regionally and nationally ranked foes helped led the team to four wins over ranked opponents as the Gulls knocked off Tufts 3-1, Wesleyan 3-1, Amherst 3-1 and Springfield 3-0 in 2018. In the 11 matches against ranked opponents, Mancini produced double-digit kill efforts in nine of those matches, including 15 or more in six of those matches. Her season-high performance of 26 kills came in the team's 3-1 win over Amherst, a match in which she hit .393. In all 11 matches, Mancini averaged 3.73 kills per set, 2.51 digs per set and 4.07 points per set.


Gifford took her game to new heights in 2018, earning the distinction of CCC Player of the Year to go along with All-CCC First Team honors. For the first time in her career, Gifford received AVCA DIII All-New England honors while also receiving NEWVA All-New England Region Honorable Mention honors. As of 11/4/2018, the junior was ranked 17th in all of Division III in assists per set, averaging 10.64 for the campaign. Her 1,107 assists in 2018 shattered her previous career-high of 923 and helped to vault her into sole possession of third place in Endicott women's volleyball career history. 

Against regionally and nationally ranked opponents, Gifford led the Gulls to four wins while averaging 10.39 assists per set, 2.54 digs per set and 0.32 blocks per set. While running an impressive offense, Gifford was a main contributor to a stout defense as she produced 16 double-double efforts in 2018, five of which came against ranked foes. Gifford eclipsed the 50 assists plateau twice in 2018, in the team's 3-1 win over Skidmore, and in the team's 3-2 loss to Coast Guard, while eclipsing 40 assists 16 times during the season. 


In her first season as the out-right starting libero, Kennedy produced at a top level, earning CCC Libero of the Year honors. In turn, Kennedy then went on to receive AVCA DIII All-New England Honorable Mention accolades for the first time in her career. With the distinction, she became the fifth libero in program history to earn Honorable Mention honors. For the season, Kennedy averaged 4.80 digs per set overall, and 4.26 digs per set in CCC play. Her 4.80 digs per set on the season represent the seventh highest single season average in Endicott women's volleyball history.

When it came to regionally ranked competition, Kennedy was at her best, producing a 5.46 digs per set average, well above her seasonal average. She eclipsed double-digit dig totals in all 11 matches against ranked opponents, including breaking the 20 dig mark in five of those contests. Her single match-high came in the team's 3-1 win over Wesleyan as she produced a 33 dig effort to propel the Gulls to the win. In addition, Kennedy racked up 27 digs against Wheaton, 26 against Bowdoin, and 24 against Babson, the next three highest totals of her 2018 season.

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(Photo Credit - David Le '10)

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