McIntyre Selected as 2013 America East Setter of the Year; Witsaman and Schmidt Also Honored on All-Conference Squads
DURHAM, N.H. – A year after sharing the award, UMBC senior Mallory McIntyre (Winnipeg, Manitoba/St. Mary's Academy) has been selected as the 2013 America East Setter of the Year, the conference announced at this season's awards banquet Thursday night at the University of New Hampshire.
In addition, McIntyre was named to the All-Conference First Team for the second year in a row and was joined by classmate Emily Witsaman (Medina, Ohio/Medina). Junior hitter Hannah Schmidt (Catonsville, Md./Mount de Sales), a 2011 All-Rookie Team honoree, was chosen for the league's Second Team. McIntyre and Schmidt were also honored on the All-Academic Team for their success in the classroom, as well as on the court.
"I'm really happy for all of our all-conference award winners," said ninth-year head coach Ian Blanchard. "It's a great accomplishment and speaks to the athletes we're recruiting.
"We're getting athletes of high-character that can work through adversity and are all excellent students. These athletes represent everything we want for our program."
A year after taking the reins of the Retrievers' offense and setting career-highs as a junior, McIntyre outdid herself in her final year in Baltimore. The senior led the conference with a 10.28 assists per set average, handing out 1,038 assists to bring her career total up to 1,960, the eighth-highest in school history. In addition to leading UMBC to the second-best hitting percentage in the conference (.203), McIntyre recorded a career-high 192 digs this season while registering nine double-doubles, the second most for the team behind classmate Ali Goc (Oshawa, Ontario/R.S. McLaughlin).
"This is Mallory's second year in a row winning Setter of the Year and I think her accomplishment reflects a lot of hard work, grit, and determination," added her head coach.
Equally as successful in the classroom, McIntyre has compiled a 3.42 grade-point-average (GPA) in her first three years at UMBC while studying for a degree in media and communication studies. The senior has also been working towards minors in American studies and management of aging services. She was recognized on the America East Commissioner's Honor Roll as a junior in 2012 after being mentioned on the America East Honor Roll each of her first two seasons. On campus, McIntyre has earned Semester Academic Honors three times for her work.
"Mallory and I have a strong bond that was forged during her freshman year and I've watched her mature over the years," Blanchard continued. "We've had our share of difficult conversations and the growth I've seen in her over the last three years of her career has been such a special sight to have witnessed."
"It hasn't been easy for her. She's had to work really hard to get better, and I think this award is a reflection of her desire to improve and her devotion to the team. Any time a setter gets an award like this, it is a reflection on her team."
Witsaman earns a place on the All-Conference First Team after missing nearly a year of competition due to an arm injury. Returning to the court against local rival Towson on Sept. 10, Witsaman sparked the Retrievers to a three-set sweep by powering down six kills on just seven swings. The senior went on tally a career-best 217 kills this season while hitting .302, the second-best percentage in the America East. Witsaman was also a force at the net, combining to turn away 67 block assists to jump to sixth all-time in UMBC history.
"I have seen a great transformation in Emily and she is easily one of the hardest working athletes on our team," Blanchard said. "She's such a great teammate and she brings an aura of positivity with her when she walks into the gym."
Honored in her freshman year, Schmidt returns to the All-Conference lists in 2013, receiving a spot on the All-Conference Second Team and All-Academic Team. Schmidt was part of a balanced UMBC attack in which five Retrievers recorded 200 or more kills. The junior was not just an offensive threat as she added 280 digs to go along with 268 kills while recording eight double-doubles on the season.
"Hannah has battled some injuries this season, but it seems like nothing will stop her from competing and helping us win," Blanchard said. "She has a quiet determination and is willing to do anything she can for the sake of the team."
In her studies, Schmidt has accumulated a 3.36 GPA while working towards a degree in biological sciences and studying to receive a minor in emergency services. She was recognized on the America East Commissioner's Honor Roll as a freshman and has received semester academic honors twice during her time at UMBC.
The Retrievers enter the 2013 America East Championships as the No. 2 seed and will face the No. 3 seed, Albany, in the semifinals on Friday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. at Lundholm Gymnasium, the home gym of regular season champion New Hampshire.