2005 AVCA NAIA National Player of the Year


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California Baptist University Sophomore Verania Willis
Named AVCA NAIA National Player of the YearSM

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) is pleased to announce California Baptist University sophomore outside hitter Verania Willis as its 2005 AVCA NAIA National Player of the YearSM.

Willis sparked the Lancers to the NAIA National Tournament title with a win over Columbia College (Mo.) in the championship match. She provided a team-high 5.46 kills per game while hitting .315 for Cal Baptist in her first season competing in NAIA. Willis added 2.44 digs, 0.77 blocks and 0.25 aces per game for the Lancers, who entered the NAIA National Tournament as the number-two seed.

Willis competed for Palm Beach Community College in 2004 as she earned NJCAA all-region honors. She posted 667 kills, 731 digs, 184 blocks and 89 aces. Willis led NJCAA in kill average with 6.29 per game, while finishing third in digs per game at 6.90. She also competes for the Costa Rica National Team, leading her team to a seventh straight Central America Cup championship in 2004. Willis is a two-time most valuable player of the Central America Cup, winning the honor in 2003 and 2004.

California Baptist finished the season with a 34-5 overall record with three of the five losses at the hands of the top-ranked Fresno Pacific University and another to national runner-up Columbia.

Willis will officially receive her AVCA National Player of the Year Award at the AVCA All-America/Players of the YearSM banquet in San Antonio on Friday, Dec. 16. The banquet, which will take place at the Marriott Rivercenter Hotel, is held in conjunction with the 2005 AVCA Annual Convention and NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball National Championship.

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