Star-Bulletin Sports

Saturday, December 18, 1999



Final Four

Cacciamani, Walsh
co-Players of Year

By Cindy Luis


The best of the best will be on the court today when No. 1 Penn State and No. Stanford battle for the NCAA women's volleyball at the Stan Sheriff Center.

Not surprisingly, the national player of the year will be on the court as well ... actually, on both sides. Penn State's Lauren Cacciamani and Stanford's Kerri Walsh yesterday were named co-Players of the Year by the American Volleyball Coaches Association, the third time in the 15-year history of the award it has been shared.

"It's a real honor but you can't do it without having a good team behind you,'' said Cacciamani, a 6-foot-2 senior middle blocker.

"Words can't describe how great I feel about this," added Walsh, a 6-2 opposite. "I am truly honored. Winning this honor was truly a surprise. I was not expecting it, but I am glad I can bring it home to Stanford."

Walsh was named a first-team All-American for the fourth time earlier this week, becoming only the second player in the history of collegiate women's volleyball so honored. The Pac-10 player of the year leads the Cardinal (31-2) in digs (3.16 dpg), is second in kills (3.22 kpg) and third in hitting percentage (.356) and blocks (1.34).

Cacciamani is a two-time first-team All-American and two-time GTE Academic All-American. The Big Ten player of the year leads the Nittany Lions (35-1) in kills (4.66 kpg) and blocks (1.57 bpg), and leads the nation in hitting percentage (.410).

Founder's Award to Nolen, Tait

Marilyn McReavy Nolen, the head women's volleyball coach at St. Louis University, and Tom Tait, the former Penn State men's coach, were also honored yesterday as recipients of the AVCA Founder's Award.

The award goes to those involved in the advancement of the sport of volleyball for a minimum of 15 years.

Nolen began playing for the U.S. women's national team in 1967 and was on the 1968 and 1972 Olympic teams. She later led Sul Ross State to two AIAW national titles and one at Utah State.

Nolen brought programs at Kentucky, Florida and North Florida to national prominence and has been with the Billikens since 1994. Last year, she coached her 1,000th career match and this season earned her 750th career victory.

Tait began playing volleyball in 1965 at Penn State and started the Nittany Lions women's program in 1974. He has coached also numerous teams at the junior national and international level and continues as a USAV and FIVB coaches instructor.

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