Although the post-season has come to an end for the Sonoma State University volleyball team, Kelsey Hull and Caylie Seitz walked off the court with All-American distinction.
During the Championship Quarterfinals in Louisville, Ky., it was announced that the two each earned a spot on the All-American Team. Senior Hull earned a place on the second team, while junior Seitz was named to the first team.
“I’m very proud of our girls for the kind of discipline and emotional maturity that it takes to be this good for this long,” said Head Coach Bear Grassl. “I think that when players win awards it’s also a product of the whole team being successful.”
Despite having to miss the first six games of the season because of emergency surgery to remove her appendix, Hull has consistently shown she is a serious competitor. In addition to earning a spot on the All-American team, Hull has been nominated the California Collegiate Athletic Association Player of the Year.
“I was grateful to have gotten All-American distinctions, but I wouldn’t have been able to be recognized for my work if it weren’t for my team’s successes as well,” said Hull. “The better teams are the ones who are successful even after overcoming the problems.”
For Seitz, this was her second consecutive first-team honor. She leads the conference in number of kills this year, totaling 465. However, in her career at Sonoma State she has scored 1,256 kills. She’s ranked first in the West Region and seventh in the nation, averaging 4.47 kills per set.
“It’s a little hard to put into context how remarkable her production is. The people who have the ball furthest away it’s more difficult to score,” said Grassl. “She has the most eyes on her, it’s not that she scores at the rate she does, but it’s how efficient she is. She’s just about the strongest and best athlete I’ve coached, very driven. She’s a very special athlete.”
Hull is no stranger to the All-American team either. This year marks the third time she’s earned this honor. She’s ranked second in the conference for kills, averaging 3.71 kills per set. She has the third most digs this season on her team.
“[Kelsey’s] extremely well-rounded, she’s a player that does a lot of different skills well,” said Grassl.
This is the first time the Sonoma State volleyball team has earned a conference title and progressed to the post-season. According to Grassl, the women’s volleyball team is only the ninth team in the Sonoma State athletic department’s history to win a regional championship.
“They’re a special group. They’re only the ninth regional champ for SSU, altogether very special achievement,” said Grassl. “We’re the little engine that could. Our athletic department is not as fully funded as the other teams we play.”
Despite having a rocky start to the season with senior injuries, the Sonoma State volleyball team finished out their season with a strong 23-7 overall ranking. Even though this is Hull’s last year on the team, Grassl said her leadership left a lasting impact that will help shape the team for seasons to come. Seitz will be returning to the court next season to hopefully keep the winning tradition alive.