Awards continue to roll in following Western Kentucky’s historic 2020-21 campaign as Lauren Matthews (second team), Paige Briggs (fourth team) and Nadia Dieudonne (honorable mention) earned All-American honors from VolleyballMag.com.
VolleyballMag.com said: “Our panelists voted for no less than 21 first-teamers. But each of our teams has 14 players with the only mandate to the voters was that the first and second teams had to have both a setter and a libero. We chose not to have an all-freshman team for this season that was split in two by the pandemic, but continue our tradition of breaking the traditional all-sports All-American mold and honoring a fourth team for the third consecutive year. And, as in those previous two years, we easily could have had a fifth.”
Matthews – an American Volleyball Coaches Association Second Team All-American – averaged 3.96 kills and 1.22 blocks per set in her junior season. Matthews had a .444 hitting percentage (eighth in NCAA), 309 kills (36th in NCAA) and 3.96 kills per set (67th in NCAA).
After being named AVCA South Region Player of the Year, Briggs also earned a spot on the AVCA’s honorable mention All-American list. A six-rotation outside hitter for the Lady Toppers, Briggs averaged 3.68 kills per set while hitting .329. She led the team in digs at 3.41 digs per set and added 21 aces (0.27 per set) and 34 blocks (0.44 per set). Her 287 total kills ranked 54th nationally this season.
Facilitating the WKU offense to the second-best hitting percentage in the country, setter Dieudonne was also a Senior CLASS Award first team member and AVCA honorable mention All-American. She led WKU to a .344 team hitting percentage while averaging 11.68 assists per set – which ranked fourth in the NCAA. Dieudonne’s 911 total assists ranked sixth in the country. Dieudonne added 130 digs (1.67/set) and 34 blocks (0.44/set) in addition to 35 kills and 12 aces in her second season at WKU after transferring from Xavier.
Briggs, Dieudonne and Matthews helped WKU finish 23-1, which will go down as the best season win percentage (.958), fewest losses and the best start to a season (23-0).