Rigo headlines volleyball's AE honors as Rookie of the Year

Evann Slaughter

Nov. 15, 2012

Cambridge, Mass. - Freshman Melissa Rigo (East Northport, N.Y.) has been named America East Rookie of the Year to headline four Stony Brook volleyball team All-America East selections, the conference office announced Thursday.

Rigo becomes the second Seawolves player to earn Rookie of the Year honors, joining current junior Evann Slaughter (Clinton, Md.), who won the award in 2010. Both Rigo and Slaughter were also named first-team All-America East, and Rigo was the only freshman on the team.

Rigo and fellow freshman Nicole Vogel (Costa Mesa, Calif.) were placed on the All-Rookie team, and senior Greta Strenger (Woodbury, Minn.) was named to the All-Academic team.

Rigo had one of the most dominant seasons in Stony Brook history, averaging a conference-best 4.52 kills per set overall and 4.81 kills per set in conference games only. She ranks first among freshmen in the nation in points per set at 5.05, which is also good for 15 in the nation overall. She is second among freshmen and 14th overall in the country in kills per set.

Rigo, who was named Rookie of the Week seven times and Player of the Week twice, posted 10+ kills in every match this season, 20+ kills nine times and had the program's first 30-kill match on Nov. 11, when she had 31 in a five-set loss to Binghamton. She also finished third on the team to digs, which contributed to her 12 double-doubles this season.

Slaughter, who was a second-team All-America East selection in 2011, moves up to the first team after finishing sixth in the conference in hitting percentage (.237) and eighth in kills per set (2.80). She had 274 kills and a team-best 88 blocks, including 26 block solos. Her best performance of the season came on Nov. 4 vs. New Hampshire when she hit .462 with a match-high 16 kills in a four-set win over the Wildcats.

Vogel was Stony Brook's primary setter this season. She averaged 8.93 assists per set, fifth-best in America East. She was named America East Setter of the Week on Oct. 27 after recording a then career-high 50 assists and led SB to a .300 team hitting percentage in a four-set win at Hartford. She was the first Seawolves player to reach 60 assists in a match since August 2008 when she had 60 on Nov. 11 vs. Binghamton.

Strenger, a three-time America East Honor Roll student, was named to the All-Academic team for the first time. She has a 3.39 GPA in Women's & Gender Studies and also serves as Stony Brook's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee Co-President.

All-America East 1st team
Sara Pope, Albany
Gabby Whitworth, Albany
Grace Vickers, Binghamton
Mallory McIntyre, UMBC
Morgan Thatcher, New Hampshire
Melissa Rigo, Stony Brook
Evann Slaughter, Stony Brook

All-America East 2nd team
Viktoriia Stroilo, Albany
Traci Vandergrift, Albany
Amanda Dettmann, Binghamton
Iva Partaleva, Binghamton
Alexandria Roland, Binghamton
Ali Loynachan, UMBC
Krystal Mlemchukwu, UMBC 
Sherelle Walker, UMBC 

America East All-Rookie team
Tatum Jungsten, Albany
Krystal Mlemchukwu, UMBC 
Sherelle Walker, UMBC
Brenna Buckwalter, New Hampshire
Tori Forrest, New Hampshire
Melissa Rigo, Stony Brook
Nicole Vogel, Stony Brook

Player of the Year: Sara Pope, Albany
Setters of the Year: Amanda Dettmann, Binghamton & Mallory McIntyre, UMBC
Defensive Specialist of the Year: Viktoriia Stroilo, Albany 
Rookie of the Year: Melissa Rigo, Stony Brook
Coach of the Year: Glenn Kiriyama, Binghamton 

America East All-Academic team
Jordyn Suhr, Binghamton
Grace Vickers, Binghamton 
Taylor McCreery, Hartford
Kami Nethersole, Hartford
Saretta Nethersole, Hartford
Jessie Schnepp, New Hampshire
Greta Strenger, Stony Brook