Dec. 6, 2005
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The honors just keep coming for the Sweet 16-bound Boilermaker volleyball team as two Purdue players were listed among the best players in the Mideast Region as announced by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) on Tuesday. Senior setter Renata Dargan garnered All-Mideast Region honors, while freshman middle hitter Stephanie Lynch earned honorable mention all-region accolades.
Both players, who have made their mark on the Purdue record books this season, will now be listed on the AVCA All-America ballot. Dargan is the first Boilermaker player to earn first team accolades since 1989 when Debbie McDonald was so honored, while Lynch is Purdue's second straight honorable mention selection, following Kim McConaha, who was so honored last season.
The all-region honor is the latest accolade for Dargan, who was named a unanimous first team All-Big Ten a week ago, after earning honorable mention honors as a sophomore and junior and being named to the all-freshman team. The three-time Big Ten Player of the Week has dished out 12.66 assists per game through 33 matches in 2005, while also adding 1.87 digs, 1.51 kills and 0.83 blocks per game to the team's totals. She registered her first career triple-double with 61 assists, 13 kills and 13 digs against No. 8 Wisconsin on Sept. 30. Dargan also has recorded six double-doubles, while leading the team in hitting percentage (.345). The New Lenox, Ill., native broke the school career record for assists on Sept. 7 and has raised the mark to 5,839, making her the first Purdue player to eclipse the 5,000-assist milestone. Her assists tally ranks fifth on the Big Ten career list. Dargan also has earned a spot among the career top 10 list for block assists (7th with 316) and is just 12 blocks away from the top 10 in total blocks.
"It is a great honor, not just for myself, but for our team," Dargan said. "It has been a successful year and with team success individual recognition comes. We have been through a lot the last four year and everything is coming into place right now. It is a great way for my senior year to end. Individual accolades don't mean a lot to me, but it does mean that our program is finally getting the respect that it deserves. This a great honor for our team also."
Lynch, who garnered honorable mention All-Big Ten and All-Big Ten freshman team honors last week, is the first Purdue freshman to garner regional honors since four-time honoree Debbie McDonald garnered all-north central region honors as a rookie in 1986. The middle hitter has racked up 2.82 kills per game on a .337 hitting percentage, while also leading the team with 1.37 blocks per game. The New Albany, Ind., native ranks third on the Purdue single-season block assists list with 132 and is just three total blocks away from the Top 10 in that category. Lynch has led the team in blocks on 20 occasions and in kills three times. She has recorded five or more blocks in 10 matches, while putting down double-digit kills 17 times. Lynch has boasted a hitting percentage of .300 or better in 17 matches during the season.
"This is surprising, but it has a lot to do with my teammates," Lynch said. "I would be able to do anything on the court without them. Without a good defense behind me, good sets from Renata, the other players around me and the upperclassmen encouraging me and the good leadership on our team, I wouldn't have the confidence that I do. It is hard to do much without good passing and good sets, especially at my position. This is definitely a team honor."
The Mideast Region includes all schools from the Big Ten Conference, the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, the Mid-American Conference and Northeast Conference as well as two independent schools. Dargan is one of nine Big Ten players listed among the 12 All-Region selections. Lynch is among three Big Ten players listed among the six honorable mention selections.
The Boilermakers are in the midst of their best season in terms of wins since 1985 with a 25-8 record and are bound for the third round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1982. No. 16 Purdue will take on No. 3 Washington in the Sweet 16 in College Station, Texas, at 8 p.m. eastern on Friday. The match will be broadcast live on WLAS 1410 AM and on purduesports.com.
Fans are invited to help send off the Boilermakers on their trip to Texas by lining State Street at 3:15 p.m. Wednesday. The bus carrying the Boilermakers to Indianapolis will be led down State Street by the Boilermaker Special. Come out and support the Boilermakers as they make a push toward the Final Four.