Stevens Named NJAC Volleyball Defensive Player of the Year; Cooper Tabbed Coach of the Year

Montclair, NJ (11/5/09) - Senior libero Meghan Stevens (Woodcliff Lake, NJ / Pascack Hills) was named the Defensive Player of the Year for the second time in three years while head coach Elise Cooper was selected as the Coach of the Year as Montclair State placed four players on the 2009 New Jersey Athletic Conference All-Conference Team announced on Thursday.

Seniors Kara Burnham (Moorestown, NJ / Moorestown) and Karen Martin (Sicklerville, NJ / Washington Township) were named to the First Team while senior Anna Chesnakova (East Brunswick, NJ / East Brunswick) was named to the Second Team.

Stevens, who was also named to the Second Team, claimed the honors she previously won in 2007 as she currently ranks fourt in the NJAC overall in digs at 4.27 per game while finishing second in digs against NJAC competition at 4.35. Second all-time in digs in MSU history, Stevens has collected 359 for the season and 1,479 in her career. In addition she has contributed 35 service aces which is second on the team. She has recorded double-digits in digs in 24 of 28 matches this season. She also has posted 13 matches of 15-plus digs, including a season-high 27 in MSU's four-set win over William Paterson on October 13.

Burnham collected her third All-Conference honors overall and second First-Team selection. She was an Honorable Mention pick in 2008. The fourth player to reach the 1,000-kill mark at MSU, Burnham leads the team with 219 kills and has also contributed 25 service aces, 62 digs and 40 tota blocks which is currently second on the team. She ranked 11th overall in hitting efficiency, 10th in kills, fifth in blocks and eighth in points. Burnham is third all-time in kills at 1,024 and ranks fourth in total blocks with 270.

Martin moved up to the First Team after earning Second-Team honors in 2008. Martin is third on the team in kills with 192 and has added 11 assists, 26 service aces and 216 digs - second on the team. She became the third player in school history to reach 1,000 digs in a career, a mark she reached against Rutgers-Camden at home on October 6. Martin, who is sixth all-time in kills with 891, is ranked in the Top 20 in four different categories in the NJAC, including hitting efficiency, kills, points and digs.

Chesnakova earned her third All-Conference honor (Second Team selection in 2006 and 2007) as she was the third player in school history to reach the 1,000-kill plateau as she collected 16 versus Ramapo on October 15. Fourth on the team in kills with 181, she leads the team with 95 total blocks, 43 of which have been solo. She is sixth in the NJAC in hitting efficiency (.327) and is second in blocks, 16th in points scored and 18th in kills per game. She is the all-time leader in blocks with 461 (231 solo) and is third all-time in kills with 1,069 and second all-time in points scored with 1,418.

Now in her third season at the helm of the MSU program, Cooper led Montclair State to its first NJAC regular-season title as the Red Hawks posted a perfect 8-0 mark in conference play for the first time in program history while earning the top seed in the NJAC Tournament. Cooper, who led MSU to the 2007 NJAC Championship, has compiled a 51-45 mark.