“This is more positive recognition for our program,” said fourth year co-head coach Hugh Hernesman. “We've had back-to-back record breaking seasons in terms of team success and with that comes the individual recognition.”
“Keelie, Stacey and Ashley have all received their awards and we've had a lot to say about their seasons. They have certainly all played a huge role in the season we had, but I'm most excited to see Caiti get recognized as well,” said Hernesman. “She basically carried us for the first half of the season and was our second leading point scorer. She provided us a strong presence on the right side that really allowed others to get their looks as well.”
Along with All-Southland Conference honors, including Libero and Student Athlete of the Year and first team All-Conference for Arneson, the Tomball, Texas, native was also named All-Louisiana Libero of the Year and to the first team. DiFrancesco and Elrod garner second team honors, while O’Connell earned Honorable Mention.
Arneson, DiFrancesco and O’Connell all earned 2012 All-LSWA honors as well.
The Lady Demons recorded the program’s most successful season as they finished 21-12 overall, 15-3 in Southland play, and earned a second place conference tournament seed, also a program high. Against Louisiana opponents, NSU went 8-0, facing Southeastern, New Orleans and McNeese twice each, and Louisiana Tech and Nicholls State once.
Arneson recorded a 5.70 digs per set average to rank fourth in the nation, as of Dec. 15, and lead the Southland. The 5’7 junior picked up a career-high 42 digs in the regular season finale at Stephen F. Austin, just one shy of making it into the NCAA record book. Arneson also earned All-Tournament team honors alongside Southland Freshman of the Year Elrod.
DiFrancesco also earned a repeat first-team All-Southland selection, noting seven double-doubles on the season. The Woodlands, Texas, native registered season-highs of 16 kills, twice, and dug up 20 attacks. Her 3,602 career attempts stand at third in the program and she ranks fourth in career kills with 1,070.
Elrod picked up second team All-Southland after leading the team with 14 double-doubles this year. She recorded season-highs of 19 kills, 21 digs and four total blocks, all against Stephen F. Austin.
O’Connell registered season bests of 17 kills, twice, 44 attempts, six service aces and 11 digs, while notching one double-double. The redshirt sophomore was seen on both sides of the pin this season while slapping the team’s most aces in a single match all season in a five-set thriller over Louisiana Tech.
The Lady Demons return to the court in the spring for a series of exhibition matches.
2013 All-Louisiana Volleyball Team
Briana Holman, LSU
Cori Martone, Tulane
Tea Juric, Tulane
Mel Mandelbaum, Tulane
Moira Kirk, Xavier
Cati Leak, LSU
Keelie Arneson, Northwestern State
Malorie Pardo, LSU
Taylor Reuther, Xavier
Ashley Elrod, Northwestern State
Andrea Hole, Louisiana-Lafayette
Malina Sanchez, McNeese
Stacey DiFrancesco, Northwestern State
Marcela Araya, ULM
Eva Allen, Loyola
Kayla Burling, Nicholls
Kayla Mashburn, Nicholls
Caiti O’Connell, Northwestern State
Tonice White, Louisiana-Lafayette
Chantelle Gardner, Louisiana-Lafayette
Desiree Elliott, LSU
Maria Coelho, Louisiana Tech
Player of the Year: Briana Holman, LSU
Libero of the Year: Keelie Arneson, Northwestern State
Newcomer of the Year: Celeste Ramirez, UNO
Coach of the Year: Sinisa Momic, Tulane