Nov 15, 2013 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorSamantha Unruh and Kiara Skinner of Central Wyoming College have been named to the all-Region IX volleyball team based on their performances during the 2013 season.
The two, along with teammates Asya Oguz and Jess Kohler, also were named to the North all-conference team.
The all-region team is made of up 15 players. The all-conference has 18 players on the team.
"Right now there isn't much of a difference between all-region and all-conference," CWC head coach Tiffany Stauffenberg said. "There was a difference when we had Dawson in there. Volleyball has kept the Wyoming all-conference team. It's a way to get more people recognized by doing an all-conference and all-region team."
Stauffenberg was named the conference coach of the year.
Unruh was a two-year player for Stauffenberg, while Skinner is a freshman.
"Samantha and Kiara are both great middles," Stauffenberg said.
In 33 matches this year, Unruh had 116 assisted blocks and 28 solo blocks.
"Samantha is on there with her blocking," Stauffenberg said. "She ended up No. 9 in the nation in blocks. We didn't have to look at her for her offense. She was the one that everybody knew was a good blocker."
Skinner slammed 204 kills. She averaged 1.87 kills per set for the Rustlers.
"Kiara could put the ball down," Stauffenberg said.
Kohler was No. 1 in the National Junior College Athletic Association in digs per set at 6.33.
Oguz was No. 1 in kills for the Rustlers with 272.
"Asya and Jess were both very steady for us," Stauffenberg said.
This is the third time Stauffenberg has been named coach of the year in her time at the helm of the CWC program.
"It's 100 percent team award," Stauffenberg said. "I was recognized because of how we changed so much from the first half of the season to the second half of the season."
CWC went 1-5 in the first half of the season in Region IX play.
"Offensively, we weren't the team that I knew that we could be," Stauffenberg said. "I had two people in the position that didn't plan them to be in right away. It's just took a lot of time to get our setters where they were consistent and our hitters knew where the ball was going to be.
"It just took time. I had so many freshmen and it took time to adjust. There were so many new bodies. It was just a lot of learning. Once we did, we started clicking."
The Rustlers were 5-1 in the second half.
CWC finished the regular season as the No. 4 seed for the postseason tournament.
In the tournament at Torrington, Sheridan College and Northwest College knocked off the Rustlers.
"I was pretty shocked because we were going in as the No. 4 seed," Stauffenberg said. "I was very honored."
Northwest College went on to eliminate Casper College and stun nationally ranked Western Wyoming twice in the championship match for the crown.
CWC ended the year with a 15-18 overall record.
The four sophomores this year were Kohler, Unruh, Oguz and Marissa Cutts.
"I'm excited about the girls that I have returning next year," Stauffenberg said. "Right now, I'm out recruiting in every position."
Stauffenberg jumped-started in the recruiting process during the Wyoming state volleyball tournament last month at the Casper Events Center.
"I think that there are a lot of great Wyoming kids out there this year, more than there has been in the past," Stauffenberg said. "I'm excited to fill the shoes that I'm losing."
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