PITTSBORO, N.C. – Three members of the Salem volleyball team were acknowledged by the USA South Conference on Thursday, Nov. 7, when the league announced its top performers for the 2019 season. Among the Spirits recognized for their contributions were Kathryn O'Connell and Taylor Moulton, who were named Second Team East Division, and Anna Schneider, who was selected as a member of the All-Sportsmanship Team.
O'Connell finished the season in the top-five of 11 statistical categories, ranking first in kills (271), kills / set (2.66), solo blocks (27), assisted blocks (66), total blocks (93) and blocks / set (0.91). The Harrisburg, N.C., native reached double-digit kills in 16 of 28 matches, notching a single-match season-high 14 in clashes with USA South foes Mary Baldwin (Sept. 28) and Greensboro (Nov. 5).
O'Connell ended her junior slate by eclipsing double figure digs in 19 matches, coming through with a single-match season-high 21 in a four-set win over N.C. Wesleyan (Oct. 5). She posted 12 double-doubles over the course of the season, including six between Oct. 1 and Nov. 5. O'Connell also made her presence felt on Salem's front row, posting at least multiple solo blocks on nine occasions, including a four-block outing against Greensboro (Oct. 5). The best of her 16 multi-assisted-block performances came versus both Piedmont International (Sept. 17) and Emory & Henry (Nov. 3), where she tallied seven apiece.
"Kathryn works very hard on and off the court," said head coach Bouaketh Chanthavisouk. "She competes at a high-level everyday. She's willing to get extra reps and lift a bit more to get the results she wants. You would never think Kathryn has played all six rotations on a regular basis until this year, but it's true. She's made some huge improvements in her game."
Moulton, named as a Second Team East Division performer in both 2017 and 2018, was an integral part of Salem's success in 2019, ranking in the top-five of nine major statistical categories. While she finished second in both kills (255) and kills / set (2.50), Moulton led the team in digs (339) and digs / set (3.32). Moulton, who became the second player in program history to top the 1,000-kill plateau, graduates as the all-time leader in both kills (1,096) and digs (1,357), becoming the first player in Salem history to finish with at least 1,000 in each category.
Moulton eclipsed double-digit kills in 12 matches, topping the mark on 10 occasions against USA South Conference foes. Her best single-match outing of the season was against Greensboro (Oct. 26), where she drove home 16 kills in a 3-1 win over The Pride, while posting a .245 attack percentage. The Walnut Cove, N.C. native came through with 17 double figure dig outings in 2019, including a single-match career-high 24, which came against Greensboro in the final match of her career on Nov. 5.
"Taylor has given her blood to this program and even when she's banged up, manages to perform at a high-level as well," said Chanthavisouk. "I think her high volleyball IQ made up for some of her physical limitations due to injuries this season. She'd be pretty scary on the pin if she was playing at full strength. Her presence will be missed."
Schneider earned a spot on the All-Sportsmanship team after amassing 115 kills (1.20 kills / set), 53 total blocks, 42 assisted blocks, 11 solo blocks and 12 service aces in her junior season. Schneider finished second in solo blocks to O'Connell and was one of six players with at least 10 service aces on the season.
Schneider recorded at least five kills on 11 occasions, including a single-match season-high nine kills in a clash with Averett (Oct. 22). She committed just one miscue in 24 total attacks, finishing with a .333 attack percentage. Schneider was responsible for multiple solo blocks on three occasions, coming through with a single-match season-high three blocks versus Piedmont International (Sept. 17). The Fort Thomas, Ky., native emerged with multiple assisted blocks in 12 matches, including a single-match season-high five at Emory & Henry (Nov. 3).
For more information on Salem volleyball check out www.salemspirits.com.