PORTLAND, Ore. – After posting one of the most impressive rookie seasons in program history, Alaska Anchorage’s Eve Stephens was named Tuesday as the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year and a unanimous choice to the All-GNAC Team.
Having just completed a 21-7 campaign, the Seawolves also landed seniors Tara Melton and Chrisalyn Johnson as honorable mentions on the 2018 All-GNAC Team, as voted upon by the league’s 11 head coaches.
A 6-1 right-side hitter, Stephens led UAA with 3.18 kills per set, despite coming out for half of the rotations, and she ranked third on the team with 0.76 blocks per set. The Palmer native and former Colony High School star broke the Seawolves’ freshman record with a .330 attack percentage, smashing double-figure kills in 15 of the last 20 matches and hitting over .300 in 17 contests.
Stephens was named the GNAC offensive and Sports Imports/AVCA Division II National player-of-the-week for Sept. 10-16 after blast racking up 21 kills with no attack errors in a win over UAF, producing a .656 attack percentage that ranked No. 6 on the all-time GNAC list and best ever for a Seawolf in 17 years of GNAC play (minimum 18 kills).
With two GNAC teams still alive in the NCAA playoffs, Stephens currently holds league ranks of 6th in attack pct., 8th in kills per set and 9th in points per set (3.59).
Becomes the third straight Seawolf and fifth in the last seven seasons to earn the GNAC Freshman of the Year, following Julia Mackey (2012), Erin Braun (2013), Diana Fa’amausili (2016) and Casey Davenport (2017).
Meanwhile, Johnson picked up her second consecutive All-GNAC honorable mention nod after posting league ranks of 14th in kills per set (2.75) and 16th in digs per set (3.39). The former local Dimond High star led the Seawolves with 14 double-doubles and finished in the top 15 on UAA’s career lists for kills (7th, 1,083), kills per set (9th, 2.90), digs (14th, 1,003) and victories (t-8th, 78).
Last year’s GNAC Newcomer of the Year, Melton led the Seawolves and ranks fifth in the league with a .343 attack percentage. The Glendale, Ariz., native hit above .400 in 14 matches this year, including .536 with a career-high 17 kills to spark a road win over Concordia-Portland. Melton finished on UAA’s career list at 6th in attack percentage (.286), 14th in total blocks (225) and 13th in blocks per set, while her .343 season attack percentage ranked 3rd on that UAA list.