WILMINGTON — There were many worthy candidates across the league for Mideastern Conference Player of the Year this season as West Brunswick High School standout Hannah Pugh earned top honors following a vote by the division’s seven coaches.
While the Hoggard Vikings have dominated the area as four-time conference champions, with a 50-match unbeaten streak against league opponents, Pugh’s performance for the Trojans was outstanding. She finished the year with 394 kills and a .362 hitting percentage.
To put that in perspective, hitting percentage is figured out by the number of kills minus errors divided by total attacks. Among the four major NCAA division I volleyball conferences, a solid kill percentage is right around 36-percent.
Like many local players, Pugh is a member of the Cape Fear Volleyball Club, which is run by Hoggard’s longtime Coach Ron Strickland, along with Ashley Coach Larry Salefsky. The organization serves as a premiere place for area athletes to make the necessary strides to improve all facets of their game. Pugh hopes to find a spot at the college level in the near future.
The award is Pugh’s second such accolade after she was named Mideastern Conference Player of the Year as a junior.
Defense doesn’t get much love when it comes to a most valuable player, but if it did Hoggard libero Maddie Schider (577 digs) would be in the mix for a player of the year selection as the Hillsdale College commit joined Pugh on the Mideastern Conference First-Team, alongside teammate Kirby Smith (358 kills).
The Vikings’ duo guided Hoggard to a 12-0 mark in league play and 21-6 overall record, which included a trip to the third round of the 4A state playoffs.
Outside Hitter Alyssa Gowdy propelled New Hanover to a second-place finish in the division as a first-team selection, with 257 kills. Katherine Boudreau (Ashley) and Victoria Elder (Topsail) rounded out the First-Team All-Conference picks as the top attackers for their respective teams.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Hannah Pugh, West Brunswick
COACH OF THE YEAR: Ron Strickland, Hoggard
TEAM SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD: South Brunswick
- Katherine Boudreau, Ashley
- Madie Schider, Hoggard
- Hannah Pugh, West Brunswick
- Alyssa Gowdy, New Hanover
- Kirby Smith, Hoggard
- Victoria Elder, Topsail
- Sydney Eavey, New Hanover
- Courtney Loughran, New Hanover
- Abby McEnaney, South Brunswick
- Julia Rhine, New Hanover
- Hannah Freas, Laney
- Liza McLatchey, New Hanover