The third-ranked North Medford volleyball team lived up to its preseason hype by cruising through the Southwest Conference season unbeaten.
And to no one's surprise, the Black Tornado also dominated the all-SWC voting that was announced on Tuesday, with North placing four competitors on the 11-person first-team and claiming player- and -coach-of-the-year honors.
Senior outside hitter Whitney Hodnett capped yet another stellar regular season for the Tornado by being named player of the year.
"Whitney certainly improved every year for us," said North Medford's Ron Beick, who was voted coach of the year after leading the Tornado to its third unbeaten conference campaign since 1994. "Her self confidence and just her positive approach to the game is a great role model to all the kids."
Joining Hodnett on the first team were fellow seniors Erica Schultz (outside hitter), Megan Bartling (middle) and Natalie Lorenz (setter).
South Medford had one representative in senior outside hitter Carli Sash, while Grants Pass placed Monica Jordan (senior setter) and Chelsey Chamberlain (senior outside) on the top unit.
SWC runner-up Sheldon also had four first-teamers in sophomore Gabbi Parker (middle), and seniors Molly Cochran (middle), Allix Strahon (setter) and Hannah Thompson (libero).
Hodnett, a first-team last season, led the Black Tornado with 115 kills, nine aces and 99 digs to go with 14 blocks.
Schultz, another four-year starter, paced North Medford with a team-best 112 digs and added 77 kills, 25 blocks and a team-high 23 aces.
"She's a great example of hard work and great athleticism paying off," said Beick of Schultz. "She was a middle for two years and then we moved her to right side this year and she's become a phenomenal right-side blocker. She's like a goalie."
Bartling posted 82 kills and led the team with 53 blocks, while Lorenz had 349 assists — the second-highest single season mark at North Medford. Lorenz also had 11 aces and 51 digs.
"There's always pressure on the setter to play defense and not have to worry about setting," said Beick. "She's adapted to that very well. She always does a good job of keeping everyone involved and making sure the right people get the ball at the right time."
"Megan has really come into her own," added Beick. "Even when she's out of position, she does a great job getting a hand on the ball."
The Black Tornado also had three second-teamers in Kyle Jolley (senior middle), Jaci Abeloe (junior outside) and Kelly Satterfield (senior outside/libero).
South Medford had two second-team competitors in senior middle Tori Glover and senior setter Sara George, while Lauren Thompson (senior middle) and Kinzie Towry (senior outside) made the honorable mention list.
North Medford opens the postseason tonight at 6 with a home state-playoff match against McKay.
SWC Volleyball All-Conference
Player Team Yr.
Chelsey Chamberlain Grants Pass Sr.
Gabbi Parker Sheldon So.
Whitney Hodnett North Medford Sr.
Erica Schultz North Medford Sr.
Megan Bartling North Medford Sr.
Molly Cochran Sheldon Sr.
Allix Strahon Sheldon Sr.
Monica Jordan Grants Pass So.
Natalie Lorenz North Medford Sr.
Hannah Thompson Sheldon Sr.
Carli Sash South Medford Sr.
Player of the year — Whitney Hodnett, North Medford.
Coach of the year — Ron Beick, North Medford.
Kelly Kurlychek South Eugene Sr.
Kyle Jolley North Medford Sr.
Justine Specht Sheldon Sr.
Katrina Lines Roseburg Sr.
Tori Glover South Medford Sr.
Jaci Abeloe North Medford Jr.
Sara George South Medford Sr.
Taylor Hatleberg Sheldon Jr.
Gabby Pelayo South Eugene So.
Kelly Satterfield North Medford Sr.
Nikki Bassett Roseburg Jr.
Hitters — Emory Wonham, South Eugene, Jr.; Lexi Harn, Sheldon, Jr.; Lauren Thompson, South Medford, Sr.; Jayme McVicker, South Eugene, Jr.; Kinzie Towry, South Medford, Sr.
Reach reporter Kevin Goff at 776-4483, or e-mail email@example.com