Following a stellar season, leading the Central Arkansas Beach Bears to a 15-9 record and the top seed in the Southland Conference Showcase, the pairing of Megan Nashand Haley Tippett earned national recognition on Wednesday, being named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association's inaugural Top Flight Team.
The Top Flight Team, designed to reward hard work and consistency regardless of roster position, recognizes pairs that compete together and at a particular spot in at least 15 matches and win at least 75% of those matches, regardless of overall dual results.
Nash, a senior from Oakville, Ontario, and Tippett, a junior from Roanoke, Texas, teamed together a team-high 23 times, compiling an overall record of 16-7 on the year.
The pair was in the top flight for the Bears 17 times, going 13-4 at the number ones.
Nash and Tippett won at least three contests in a row three times this season and were victorious in five straight matches from April 13 through April 20, and finished the season by winning eight of their final 10 matches.
Thirteen of their 16 wins overall, and 11 of their 13 wins at the top spot came in straight sets, while they were swept just twice.
"We're very proud of Haley and Megan for being selected as recipients for the Top Flight Award," UCA head coach Jeni Jones Chatman said. “Both Megs and Haley are very talented players and athletes, and they worked very hard to help our team achieve the overall success we has again this season. Throughout the season their chemistry got better and better, and it is no surprise that that led to more success on the court. We are fortunate to be in our second year as a program and have players that can help our team earn the overall success that we have earned, as well as make a statement on a national level."
In total, 48 pairs earned Top Flight status this season, with 11 taking the honor at the number ones.
Myers named to Academic All-America First-Team
UCA senior infielder Kate Myers wrapped up a stellar career on the softball field this season, helping lead the Central Arkansas softball Bears to the 2018 NISC, their second national postseason tournament appearance in program history, all while collecting numerous honors for her work in the classroom.
That list of honors grew by one on Monday, as Myers was named to the CoSIDA/Google Cloud Academic All-America First Team, becoming just the second player in program history to earn Academic All-America honors and the first to be named First-Team.
Myers, from Tulsa, Oklahoma, was a leader for the Bears this season, wearing the #13 jersey in honor of Michelle Short while playing show-stopping defense at shortstop and hitting third.
She earned All-Southland Conference honorable mention after ranking in the top-15 in the league in sacrifice flies (t-1st, 5), assists (2nd, 156), sacrifice bunts (t-2nd, 9), doubles (4th, 15), on-base percentage (7th, .432), walks (t-7th, 28), runs batted in (t-7th, 41), batting average (12th, .322), and slugging percentage (14th, .527).
The winner of the Southland's prestigious F.L. McDonald Scholarship, which is presented to two student-athletes per year, one male and one female, to be applied to graduate study, Myers tallied multiple hits in 12 contests this season and added nine games with multiple RBI.
She graduated from Central Arkansas on March 5 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a minor in Sports Psychology with a perfect 4.00 GPA and will continue her academic career at Oklahoma State's College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Myers is one of 19 student-athletes selected with a 4.00 GPA, and is one of just five from Southland Conference institutions to earn placement on the Google Cloud Academic All-America Teams, widely regarded as the nation's most prestigious academic honor.
"This is a tremendous honor for an amazing woman," Central Arkansas head coach David Kuhn said. "I am so happy for Kate because she has worked tirelessly in the classroom and on the field. It's great to see her rewarded for that hard work."