BRISTOL, Tenn. – The Conference Carolinas co-champion King University women's volleyball team had six players honored by the league on Wednesday. Payton Tipton led this group as she was named the league's Defensive Player of the Year while Kelsey Griffitts, Summer Kremer and Olivia Underwood all garnered first team honors.
For the second consecutive year, Tipton earned Conference Carolinas Defensive Player of the Year after leading the league in digs. Tipton led Conference Carolinas' top defense as the Tornado racked up the most digs in the league. The junior has accounted for 491 digs this season, eclipsing last season's mark of 454. Her average of 4.09 digs per set ranks third in the league. Not only has she played stellar defense, but she is the most potent server in the league, and third most effective in the country. The Cleveland, Tenn., native leads the league in total aces (83) and her conference-best aces per set average of 0.69 also ranks third in all of NCAA Division II. Tipton was also named second team all-conference for the second consecutive season.
Griffitts has turned in a spectacular senior campaign in Navy and Scarlet, being named first team all-conference. The middle hitter has led Conference Carolinas and ranked near the top of the national rankings in attack percentage all season. In matches through November 17, she ranked second in NCAA Division II with an attack percentage of .402. The Bristol, Va., native is also tied for the team lead with 66 blocks, including a team-high 23 solo stuffs. Her 251 kills rank third among Tornado. Griffitts has not made more than three attack errors in a match this, including six occasions with zero attack errors.
Kremer earns first team all-conference honors after being named to the league's second team a season ago. The junior led Conference Carolinas in kills most of the season, and currently ranks second with 370 behind Player of the Year Hannah Schellenburg of Belmont Abbey College. The Mills River, N.C., native also only trails Schellenburg with an average of 3.33 kills per set. Not only has Kremer accumulated high kill numbers, but she also hits at a high clip, ranking eighth in the league with an attack percentage of .268. She has reached double figures in kills in 19 matches, including a season-high of 20 in King's 3-1 win over conference co-champion Belmont Abbey on September 20. Kremer also ranks third on the team with 42 blocks, seven solo and has accounted for 143 digs.
Underwood earns first team all-conference honors as a sophomore after earning third team recognition a season ago. The Pearland, Texas native leads the league by nearly two assists per set with an average of 9.45 helpers per set. So far this season the sophomore has dished out more than 200 more assists than she did last season as she leads Conference Carolinas with 1,124 assists in 2013. She is one of four Tornado to record at least 200 digs this season at 209. Underwood has also accounted for 25 blocks and 35 service aces. Her four double-doubles rank second on the team, and 53 assists in King's 3-1 win over Belmont Abbey set a career-high.
Grace Underwood earned postseason recognition for the first time in her career as she was named second team all-conference. The sophomore only trails teammate Griffitts in the league with an attack percentage of .371 this season. That mark is also good enough for 10th in NCAA Division II. Her 66 blocks are tied for the team-lead with Griffitts, 10 of which are solo stuffs. She is one of six Tornado to record at least 100 kills this season, ranking fourth on the team with 188. The Pearland, Texas native has hit at least .500 in a match 13 times this season and had zero attack errors in match 13 times, including each of the last three matches. Underwood matched a career-high with 14 kills against Mount Olive College on 16 attempts without making an error.
Last, Maribeth Kern earned third team all-conference after playing all six rotations for the Tornado. The Buchanan, Va., native leads the Tornado with seven double-doubles. She set a career-high early in the season when she accounted 25 digs against University of West Alabama. The next weekend she set a career-high in kills, posting for 23 to go along with 15 digs in a 3-0 win over Carson-Newman University. The sophomore ranks second on the team, and is one of three Tornado with more than 200 kills at 258. Her 322 digs rank only behind Tipton among Tornado. She carries averages of 2.35 kills per set and 2.93 digs per set while accounting for 24 blocks, five solo.
Second seeded King will be in action again tonight when they host sixth seed Limestone College in the Conference Carolinas Tournament semifinals. First serve is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. in the Student Center Complex.