Northwestern State’s Brister leads pair of All-Southland honors

Northwestern State volleyball finished its best regular season under head coach Sean Kiracofe in 2019, both in overall and conference record, earning third place in the Southland Conference.

The stellar season netted a pair of selections to the annual All-Southland Conference teams, announced by the league office on Wednesday.

Junior record-breaker Hannah Brister was a repeat first-team selection and the conference Player of the Year, the first NSU player to earn the honor. Senior Alexis Warren picked up an all-SLC honor with a spot on the third team.

Sam Houston’s Addison Miller was named the conference’s Libero of the Year while Stephen F. Austin’s Debbie Humphreys was the league’s Coach of the Year for the third straight season after leading the Ladyjacks to another undefeated conference season.

Brister, the Southland Freshman of the Year from 2017, added to her individual trophy case garnering a Player of the Year honor this season with her record-breaking performance.

The Paincoutrville native shattered the NSU record for kills in a season of 431 set by Christina Stone in 2002. She blew by that mark and finished the regular season with 478 kills with a chance to be the first player in school history to reach 500 for a season.

Brister has been ranked in the top 15 in the country the entire season in total kills (478 – 11th) and kills per set (4.69 – 13th). She leads the conference in kills, kills per set, points, points per set, attacks and attacks per set.

On the season, Brister reached double-digit kills in 27 different matches, had 20 or more kills in eight matches and was name the conference Player of the Week on five different occasions.

She surpassed the 1,000 kill milestone this season and is just 14 kills from entering the top five in career kills at Northwestern State with a full senior season ahead of her.

“There was a lot of great volleyball and individual performances this season in the Southland,” Kiracofe said. “In my opinion Hannah consistently stood out from beginning to end. It is a deserved honor for a great season, and she is going to continue to shine for the rest of her career.”

A true six-rotation player, Warren earned the first all-SLC honor of her career with a spot on the third team.

She finished the regular season with 301 kills and 330 digs, her second 300-300 season at NSU, and second on the team in both categories. During the year she earned one SLC Offensive Player of the Week honor.

She became just the fourth player in program history to record 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs in her career, reaching the kills mark in her final match at Prather Coliseum. She will finish her career ranked in the top seven in total kills and digs at Northwestern State.

“I’m very happy for and proud of Lex and feel this is a great validation of her senior season and the career she had for our program,” Kiracofe said. “She is an important part of everything that we do on and off the court and she definitely earned this honor.”

The No. 3-seeded Lady Demons open Southland Tournament play at 1:30 p.m. Friday afternoon against Houston Baptist in Conway, Arkansas.