Burleson, Jaeger earn honorable mention All-Southland honors


Credit both to Gary Hardamon/NSU Photographic Services

The Northwestern State volleyball team’s improvement within the Southland Conference was reflected on the all-conference teams announced by the league Wednesday.

The Lady Demons placed a pair of players on the honorable mention all-conference list, doubling their haul from the 2015 season. Sophomore libero Channing Burleson and senior setter Natalie Jaeger were Northwestern State’s selections.

A season ago, Glynna Johnson was NSU’s lone representative.

“I am very proud of Channing and Natalie, and they are both deserving of this honor,” said second-year head coach Sean Kiracofe, whose team won two more conference matches than in 2015 and will make a return to the conference tournament Friday after missing this past season’s event.

“They have both been a consistent part of our successes and progress this season. We are going to miss everything Natalie brings to the team after she graduates, and we cannot wait to see what Channing is able to accomplish during the remaining two seasons of her career.”

Burleson, in her first season as a libero, has produced the third-highest single-season dig total in Northwestern State history. Through 31 matches, Burleson has tallied 559 digs, which is tied for 17th nationally and second in the Southland.

Burleson’s 4.82 digs per set rank 54th nationally and third in the Southland. In addition to her defensive prowess, Burleson added 20 service aces, third on the team.

In her first season as a starter in a 6-1 offensive system, Jaeger turned in the eighth 1,000-assist season in program history.

Through 31 matches, Jaeger, a second-team Academic All-Southland selection as a junior, has handed out 1,031 assists, the seventh-highest total in school history. Jaeger’s 2,671 career assists are the fourth-highest total in school history and her 145 career service aces rank third in school history.

Burleson and Jaeger will lead Northwestern State into its first-round Southland Conference Tournament match against Central Arkansas at 1:30 p.m. Friday in the Farris Center in Conway, Arkansas.