Bucs' Clayton named Southern Conference Player of the Year

Johnson City Press • Updated Nov 14, 2018 at 6:41 PM

East Tennessee State junior outside hitter Leah Clayton was named the Southern Conference volleyball Player of the Year on Wednesday. Sophomore Marija Popovic repeated as the Libero of the Year and head coach Lindsey Devine was named Coach of the Year as the league released its annual accolades.

Clayton led the Bucs with 438 kills and was second on the team behind Popovic with 298 digs. She added 46 blocks, 25 service aces and 22 assists in her junior campaign. She was named the SoCon Offensive Player of the Week three times this season. Clayton is ETSU’s seventh player of the year, tying Furman for the most in conference history, and the Bucs’ first since Briana Allmon was honored in 2016.

Popovic, the 2017 Freshman of the Year and Libero of the Year, earned her second straight Libero of the Year honor. She totaled a league-best 587 digs and was named the September and October Defensive Player of the Month.

Head Coach Lindsey Devine led the Bucs to a 26-5 overall record and a 15-1 mark in conference en route to the regular season title. This is her second SoCon Coach of the Year award after receiving the recognition in 2016.

Popovic and Clayton join senior setter Alyssa Kvarta on the All-SoCon First Team. Kvarta anchored the Bucs’ offense, finishing the regular season second among conference players with 1,210 assists. She amassed 2,000 career assists in her four years as ETSU’s setter and led the Bucs with a total of 25 service aces.

Also earning recognition were senior middle blockers Mariah McPartland and Braedyn Tutton, who were named to the All-SoCon Second Team. McPartland led the league with 125 blocks, while Tutton’s .337 hitting percentage was second among conference players. Tutton is also third on ETSU’s squad in total kills.

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