STONY BROOK, N.Y.Alyse Lahti (Pepper Pike, Ohio), a sophomore libero on the University of New Hampshire women’s volleyball team, has been named America East Defensive Specialist of the Year. Lahti headlines a group of a league-best five Wildcat all-conference honorees. The annual awards were announced on Friday night at the America East banquet on the campus of Stony Brook University.

Lahti is joined by First Team All-Conference honorees sophomore right-side hitter Kirsten Bates (Calgary, Alberta) and senior outside-hitter Emmy Blouin (St. Albertm Alberta). Joining Lahti on the Second Team are sophomore setter Kate Uitti (Pinckney, Mich.) and senior outside hitter Jessica Compton (Woodridge, Ill.). In addition to their on the court performances, Bates, Uitti and Compton were named to the America East All-Academic team for their accomplishments in the class room.

Lahti, who was a second-team all-conference selection, played in all 100 games this season. An all-rookie selection last year, she led the confer­­ence with 5.12 digs per game, totaling 512 on the season. She also recently set the single-season digs record at UNH with 512 defensive digs so far this season. Overall, the sophomore ranks seventh on the school’s all-time list in that category.

Bates, a true triple threat for the Wildcats, ranks in the top 10 in the conference in kills (6th – 3.54 kpg) and aces (10th – 0.37 apg) and is also among the team leaders in hitting percentage and blocks.

Blouin moved into third place on the Wildcats’ all-time career kills list and joined the 1,000-kill club this season with 1,281 kills in her storied career. She is averaging 3.79 kills per game and 4.28 points per game third and fourth in the conference, respectively. Blouin has led the team in kills each of the past two seasons and amassed a total of 747 kills in that span.

Uitti improved on last year’s standout freshman season with an impressive sophomore season. She registered a career-high 1,139 assists this year, a total that ranks fifth best all-time in single season campaigns. Uitti currently ranks second in the conference in assists at 11.99 apg. Her impressive season adds to her career as she now ranks second all-time in career assists with a total of 1,991.

Compton had a break out season this year for the Wildcats as she recorded a career-high 208 kills., which ranks sixth in America East. She was also a standout leading the team with 77 blocks, a total that gives her 197 in her career and ranks eighth on UNH’s all-time career blocks list.

The All-Academic squads are a product of the June 2005 Athletics Director meetings. Faculty representatives and athletics directors from each of the conference’s nine member institutions decided to honor some of the league’s top athletes that are also quality students.

The All-Academic Team has been selected based on the student-athlete’s academic and athletic accomplishments. Academic achievement for consideration requires student-athletes to have a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.00 entering the season. Athletically, student-athletes are required to be a nomination on the post-season awards ballot, which is determined by the league’s head coaches.

These five honorees and the rest of the Wildcats will be in action at Stony Brook University’s campus November 17 for the 2007 America East Volleyball Championship. The second-seeded New Hampshire faces third-seeded Albany at 3:30 p.m.

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