5 HU volleyball players honored

The Crossroads League announced its 2020 Volleyball All-Conference honorees and among the list were five Huntington University Foresters.

A pair of seniors in Ariene Butler and Jennings Tacosik topped Coach Kelsey Herber’s crew by earning Second Team All-Conference accolades. The duo was two of 14 players named Second Team.

For Butler, it marks her fourth straight league badge which includes back-to-back Second Team honors. As a rookie, she claimed a spot on the All-Freshmen Team and was an Honorable Mention pick as a sophomore.

The 5-5 libero sits atop the Crossroads League in total digs (333) and second in digs per set (5.3). Nationally, she ranks 11th and 31st respectively in those same statistical categories. Butler piled up a team-best 279 receptions with a passing accuracy of .961. She also led the Foresters with her .977 serve percentage, posting just five errors on the year.

Butler (Huntington North High School) will graduate from HU third in program history in career digs (1923) and second in career passing accuracy (.942).

“Ariene is the type of player who our opponents are told to keep the ball away from,” said Coach Herber. “The combination of her athleticism, skill set, ability to read her competition and volleyball IQ makes her a valuable asset on the court.

“She has also been an extension of the coaching staff on the floor in the way she communicates with her teammates and initiates adjustments. I am thrilled that she is being honored by the conference for her outstanding performance this season.”

Tacosik, an Honorable Mention selection the last two years, also had a stellar final season organizing HU’s offense. The 5-9 setter handed out 600 assists for a 9.09 assist-per-set average to rank third and fifth respectively among her league peers, 10th and 25th among her NAIA peers.

The Albion native (Lakewood Park Christian School) also racked up a league-leading 35 aces this season which ranks her fourth across the country. Additionally, she posted 137 digs, 42 kills and 13 blocks over the course of the fall.

Tacosik wraps up her Forester career with 3166 assists as one of just four Foresters in program history to tally over 3000 assists. She also finishes up her time in green and white with 179 career aces to land the No. 5 spot in the program record books.

“As a setter running the 5-1, Jennings has one of the most difficult jobs on the court,” said Herber. “She is someone I trust when it comes to deciding what we run on the court because she is constantly ‘thinking’ the game.

“Not only does she run our offense for us, but she also has to defend and is a strong blocker and offensive weapon for us at the net. She has put together an excellent performance this season, and I am excited that the conference has chosen to honor her.”

Three Foresters also garnered attention from the conference as Honorable Mention picks.

Senior Nicole Flickinger (NorthWood High School, Wakarusa,) saved some of her best for last by leading the team in service attempts with 237. The 5-6 defensive specialist registered 155 digs, second only to Butler, and posted a .948 passing accuracy.

Senior Brea Metz (Hauser High School, Hope,) tallied 129 kills and a .153 hitting percentage on the year. The 5-10 outside hitter also finished with 11 blocks.

Of these two seniors, Herber is thankful the league recognized the significant impact they’ve had on the program this season. “Nicole is an intelligent and consistent player for us in the way she defends our back line. Brea’s aggressive line shot and enthusiasm on the court has led this season to be her highest level performance in her career.”

Freshman Abby Robinson (St. Teresa HS, Decatur, IL,) wasted little time adjusting to the collegiate game. The 5-8 outside hitter paced the Foresters offensively with 168 kills which ranks her fifth in the conference. Her 2.9 kill-per-set average was the eighth best in the CL. Over the course of the season, she also recorded 89 digs, 13 blocks and a .959 passing accuracy.

Robinson’s season has Herber excited about what’s to come. “Abby brings a level of intensity to the court that makes her an offensive weapon that we are grateful to have for three more seasons.”

Huntington wrapped up the year with an overall record of 3-14.