GREENSBORO, N.C. - University of Miami head volleyball coach Nicole Lantagne Welch has been named the Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year, the league office announced Wednesday. It is the second time the veteran mentor has earned the honor (2008).
"As a team and a program we knew that we were a little bit underestimated this season," Lantagne Welch said. "We had a lot to prove and were not picked high since we lost a lot of people. However, what a lot of people didn't know was how ready we were to step out to the court and compete. It is a credit to all of the players in our program and the coaches on the staff to how hard we have worked this year to put ourselves in this position."
In her 12th season at the helm of the program she created, Lantagne Welch defied expectations this season to put the Hurricanes in contention to win their first ACC title. The team lost four starters from last year's roster, including three All-ACC selections. Miami was picked to finish in fifth place in a preseason poll of the league coaches.
"I am very happy for Nicole and the program," interim Director of Athletics Blake James said. "This award is a tremendous recognition of the job that she has done not only this year, but during her time at the University of Miami."
With All-ACC selections also announced, Lantagne Welch put six players on the team, tying an ACC record. Miami is in the top four in the conference in all statistical categories, including leading in opponent hitting percentage (.148), assists (13.31/set), kills (14.33/set) and blocks (2.92/set).
UM has been ranked as high as No. 23 this season and has won its most league matches (17) since joining the conference in 2004. Five different Hurricanes have earned ACC Player of the Week honors on six occasions this season.
Lantagne Welch is the only head coach of the program since it re-started for the 2001 season. One win away from its first ACC title, Miami will also be looking to qualify for the NCAA Tournament for the fourth consecutive season. She is 243-188 (.673) overall and 110-71 (.607) in ACC play in 12 seasons after earning All-ACC status as a setter during her playing days at Maryland.
Miami (25-4, 17-2) is currently No. 23 in the ACVA Coaches Poll and will travel to face Florida State for the ACC title Friday at 1 p.m. The match will be broadcast on ESPN3.
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|2012 ACC Volleyball Individuals Awards|
|Player of the Year||Ashley Neff||Jr.||MB||Florida State|
|Defensive Player of the Year||Ali McCurdy||Jr.||L||Duke|
|Freshman of the Year||Paige Neuenfeldt||Fr.||MB||North Carolina|
|Coach of the Year||Nicole Lantagne Welch||Miami|
|2012 All-ACC Team|
|Sandra Adeleye %||Sr.||MH||Clemson|
|Ali McCurdy #||Jr.||L||Duke|
|Christiana Gray #||Sr.||MB||Duke|
|Ashley Neff @||Jr.||MB||Florida State|
|Fatma Yildirim||Sr.||OH||Florida State|
|Sareea Freeman||Sr.||MB||Florida State|
|Monique Mead %||Sr.||RS||Georgia Tech|
|Megan Cyr||Sr.||S||NC State|
|Chaniel Nelson @||So.||RS||North Carolina|
|Emily McGee #||Sr.||OH||North Carolina|
|Cara Baarendsee #||Sr.||OPP||Virginia Tech|
! - Two-Time selection
# - Three-Time selection
% - Four-time selection
|2012 All-ACC FreshmanTeam|
|Katty Workman||Fr.||OH||Boston College|
|Chanell Clark-Bibbs||Fr.||MB||Georgia Tech|
|Paige Neuenfeldt||Fr.||MB||North Carolina|