Nov. 13, 2012
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. -- Navy volleyball players Alex Karika (Fr., Cranberry Township, Pa.) and Erin Fortner (Jr., Villa Hills, Ky.) garnered post-season accolades from the Patriot League on Tuesday. Fortner earned First-Team All-Patriot League honors while Karika received second-team all-league accolades and was named as league's rookie of the year.
The major individual awards and the all-league teams were determined through voting by the league's coaches.
Karika becomes the sixth Mid to be tabbed as the league's top rookie (freshman) and the first to receive the honor since Beth McArthur in 2003. She led all setters in the league in both assists (550) and assists per set (10.38) during the league season and currently leads the league in assist average (9.84) for the full year. Should Karika end the season leading the league in assists per set, she would be the first Mid to do so since Beth Salness in 1998. Additionally, her 896 assists this year ranks third at Navy during the rally scoring era, while her average of 10.38 assists per set ranks third under rally scoring rules and is the 10th-highest single season average in school history.
She dished out an average of at least 10 assists per set in nine of 14 league matches, with a high of 58 coming in Navy's five-set win over Lehigh on Sept. 28. Karika also recorded three double-doubles (with digs) during the league campaign, six double-doubles for the full season and currently ranks ninth in the league in service ace average (0.24).
Karika was the lone freshman to appear on either of the league's first or second teams, making her the first freshman Mid to garner all-league accolades since Ashley Van Hartesvelt in 2001.
Fortner earned all-league accolades for the first time in her career. She is the first Mid to earn a first-team nod since 2007 (Rachel Dougherty). The right-side hitter ranks second in the league in kills per set for both the full season (3.36) and the league portion of the year (3.59). Fortner's kill average for the season ranks fifth at Navy during the rally scoring era. Despite splitting her entire freshman year and half of her sophomore season as a setter, she still ranks seventh at Navy under rally scoring rules with 674 career kills.
Slowed by a couple of nagging injuries at the start of the 2012 season, a healthy Fortner was at her best once the league season was underway. After averaging 3.03 kills per set and hitting .179 against non-league foes, she posted an average of 3.59 kills per set and hit .198 against Patriot League opponents. Fortner tallied at least 10 kills in 13 of Navy's 14 league matches and in 19 of 25 matches for the full year. This included a season-high 21 kills in Navy's season-ending four-set match against Colgate. That was one of nine league matches and 14 matches on the entire season in which she led the Mids in kills. A versatile player, she also produced a trio of double-doubles with digs and ranked third on the team among six-rotation positions in digs.
The laurels earned by Karika and Fortner marks the first time since the 2005 season that two Mids garnered all-league recognition in the same season.
Major Individual Award Winners
Player of the Year - Ariana Mankus, Army, Sr., OH
Setter of the Year - Mary Vaccaro, Army, So., S
Libero of the Year - Rachel Charles, Lehigh, Jr., L
Rookie of the Year - Alex Karika, Navy, Fr., S
Coach of the Year - Ryan Baker, Colgate
First-Team All-Patriot League Recipients (listed alphabetically by school)
Morgan Hendrix, American, Jr., Opp./MB
Sara Rishell, American, So., OH/MB
Ariana Mankus, Army, Sr., OH
Mary Vaccaro, Army, So., S
Lindsay Young, Colgate, Jr., OH
Taylor Poole, Lehigh, Sr., MB
Erin Fortner, Navy, Jr., OH
Second-Team All-Patriot League Recipients (listed alphabetically by school)
Margaux Jarka, Army, Jr., OH
D.J. Phee, Army, Jr., L
Caitlin Cremin, Colgate, Jr., L
Kaylee Fifer, Colgate, Jr., S
Diane Seely, Colgate, So., MB
Rachel Charles, Lehigh, Jr., L
Alex Karika, Navy, Fr., S