Fincher Selected First Team All-Northwest Conference

Waltz Receives Honorable Mention for Third Year in a Row

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University outside hitter Sarah Fincher (So., Reno, NV/Bishop Manogue HS/Southwest Baptist Univ.) and middle hitter Shannon Waltz (Sr., Honolulu, HI/La Pietra School for Girls) have been chosen for the 2013 All-Northwest Conference Volleyball Team in voting by the league's head coaches.

Fincher was named First Team All-NWC. Waltz received Honorable Mention All-NWC recognition for the third consecutive season.

Overall, a total of 23 athletes were named to the 2013 All-NWC Volleyball Team. Six players were selected for the First Team, with six players on the Second Team and 11 players chosen for Honorable Mention.

Samantha North from Pacific Lutheran University was named NWC Player of the Year. Amber Aguiar from Pacific Lutheran was chosen NWC Libero of the Year, and Kevin Aoki from PLU was named NWC Coach of the Year.

First Team All-Northwest Conference

Sarah FincherSarah Fincher (So., OH) started all 25 matches and played in 97 of 99 sets after transferring to Willamette from Southwest Baptist University (Mo.). She led the Bearcats and ranked third in the NWC with 334 kills. For the season, she was first on the team and fifth in the NWC with 3.44 kills per set and ranked eighth in the NWC with a .217 hitting percentage.

In NWC matches, she achieved a .252 hitting percentage to rank fourth in the conference.

Fincher pounded a season-high 25 kills against Pacific University on Oct. 4. She earned 21 kills against Whitman College on Sept. 21 and added 21 more against George Fox University on Nov. 9. Overall, she reached double figures in kills 20 times, including the final 12 matches of the season.

She also attained double-digit digs in 12 matches, with a season-high of 18 against Pacific on Oct. 4. She registered a double-double with 10 or more kills and 10 or more digs in the same match a total of 11 times.

Honorable Mention All-Northwest Conference

Shannon WaltzShannon Waltz (Sr., MH) achieved a .339 hitting percentage to lead the Northwest Conference while playing in 23 matches and 87 sets. She ranked second on Willamette's roster with 187 kills and an average of 2.15 kills per set. She recorded a career-high 20 kills in the final match of the season at George Fox on Nov. 9.

During the season, Waltz contributed 67 total blocks and 0.77 blocks per set to rank second among the Bearcats. She earned a season-high six total blocks versus Pacific on Nov. 1, and attained five total blocks in three other matches.

In four years at Willamette, Waltz produced 534 kills and an average of 1.79 kills per set. She played in 90 matches and 298 sets as a Bearcat. She achieved an impressive .286 career hitting percentage.

Her efforts at the net enabled her to accumulate 253 total blocks in her career with 37 block solos and 216 block assists. She garnered a career-high nine total blocks against Whitworth University on Sept. 22, 2012. In addition, Waltz recorded career totals of 69 service aces and 139 digs.

The 2013 Season

Willamette won its last four matches and six of its final seven contests. The powerful surge over the second half of conference play allowed the Bearcats to take fourth place in the NWC standings with an 8-8 record.

Early in the season, Head Coach Tom Shoji guided Willamette to second place at the Molten Classic in Colorado Springs, Colo. The Bearcats fell to then #17-ranked Colorado College in the championship match. Late in the season, WU defeated #18-ranked University of Puget Sound, 3-0, at Cone Field House on Nov. 8.

Willamette finished the year with a 12-13 overall record. It was the most wins by WU since the Bearcats went 19-6 in 2004.


All-Northwest Conference
Volleyball Team for 2013

Sarah Fincher led the Bearcats with 334 kills and 3.44 kills per set. She earned a season-high 25 kills against Pacific on Oct. 4.

Sarah Fincher led the Bearcats with 334 kills and 3.44 kills per set. She earned a season-high 25 kills against Pacific on Oct. 4.