Total of 11 Skyhawks honored with OVC Beach Volleyball postseason accolades as Wilson/Noe earn OVC Coaching Staff of the Year Award
On the eve of the 2023 OVC Beach Volleyball Championship, the league announced its postseason honorees as 11 UT Martin honorees were recognized with awards.
The league’s head coaches and sports information directors voted Skyhawk head coach Jaclynn Wilson and associate head coach Julia Noe as OVC Coaching Staff of the Year for the second time in the last three years. Dylan Mott/Logan Wallick, Kambree Lucas/Olivia O’Keefe, Haeleigh Paulino/Jenna Vallée received All-OVC first team status. Lucy Kaufman/Addy Vaughn captured All-OVC second team accolades while Kayla Bryant secured a spot on the OVC All-Freshman squad.
Wednesday night’s announcement marks the first time in OVC history that one university has produced three All-OVC first-team pairs in the same season. UT Martin had previously combined for two overall All-OVC first-team pairs in the history of the award, which was initiated in 2021.
Wilson and Noe have led the Skyhawks to many firsts in 2023. UT Martin became the first beach volleyball program to claim back-to-back regular season championships as the Skyhawks are the first OVC school to go undefeated in conference play (10-0), posting a dominant 48-2 record in individual matchups. Amongst UT Martin’s OVC-record 24 victories were a pair of wins against nationally ranked foes (No. 11 Georgia State, No. 20 Stetson) on back-to-back days earlier this month. The Skyhawks reeled off a school-record 13 consecutive victories from March 21 to April 7 and nabbed six of the league’s nine Pairs of the Week this spring. The team’s success has brought along national attention as UT Martin has received votes in the American Volleyball Coaches Association Collegiate Beach Coaches Top 20 Poll in three straight weeks.
Mott/Wallick each dial up another career All-OVC award as this is the second straight first-team mention for Mott (a redshirt sophomore from Hendersonville, Tenn.) and third consecutive All-OVC accolade for Wallick (a graduate out of Waddell, Ariz.). Together, those two joined forces for an 8-2 record (including two match-clinchers) at No. 1 in OVC play with a 16-9 overall record. Over a four-day stretch in early April, they generated three straight match-clinching points – including the aforementioned victory at No. 11 Georgia State. They enter tomorrow’s OVC Championship tournament as the current OVC Pair of the Week, an award they won twice in 2023.
Lucas comes away with her second All-OVC nod in a row, teaming up with O’Keefe for an impressive 10-0 campaign out of the No. 2 spot in the Skyhawk lineup. Lucas (a junior who hails from Brazil, Ind.) and O’Keefe (a junior from Scottsdale, Ariz.) quickly formed a bond that was devastating to all opponents – piling up a 23-9 overall record spread across the No. 1 and No. 2 positions. They were responsible for exactly half (five) of UT Martin’s match-clinching points in OVC play and at one point reeled off 10 consecutive victories from March 21 through April 1. They brought home the OVC Pair of the Week award on three separate occasions (March 7, March 28, April 4) this spring.
A senior out of Peoria, Ariz., Paulino wins her third career All-OVC award as she has been spotlighted on the league’s first team twice. From March 15 forward, she exclusively teamed up with Vallée (a sophomore who hails from Pornichet, France) and the duo went 20-3 overall while competing at No. 4 – including an unblemished 10-0 mark in league play. They remarkably won 15 consecutive decisions from March 18 until April 7, often setting the tone and putting the Skyhawks in prime position after the first wave in a match.
Vaughn/Kaufman each garner the first All-OVC team award of their career, following up on an OVC All-Freshman award a year ago by Vaughn (a redshirt sophomore from St. Henry, Ohio). Competing out of the No. 3 slot in the lineup, Vaughn/Kaufman (a redshirt senior out of Eureka, Mo.) posted a perfect 10-0 record against OVC competition and a 19-7 mark overall. They partnered exclusively together from March 4 on, eventually emerging victorious in 11 straight matches from March 18 through April 1. They managed three match-clinching points in OVC play and also sealed the big triumph with a winner-take-all point over No. 20 Stetson on April 8.
A Louisville, Ky. native, Bryant produced a sizzling .667 winning percentage (14 wins in 21 tries) and a 4-0 record against OVC competition during her debut collegiate season. She mostly partnered up with Kayla Carrell (9-6, 4-0 OVC) and also played alongside Vaughn (5-1) in 2023. Bryant began her collegiate career with four straight victories with Vaughn at her side before producing a season-best six-match winning streak alongside Carrell from March 21 through April 4. Bryant proved to be versatile throughout the season, playing at No. 3 (5-1 record), No. 4 (1-1) and No. 5 (8-5).
UT Martin’s journey for its second consecutive OVC Championship trophy begins tomorrow at 5 p.m. when it faces the winner of the No. 4 Tennessee Tech/No. 5 Lindenwood match at the Skyhawk Beach Volleyball Complex.
(UTM Sports Information)