Rocha and Rupe Repeat as NWC Volleyball Honorees

SPOKANE, Wash. -- After leading the Whitworth volleyball team to a second consecutive Northwest Conference championship in 2011, senior Kaimi Rocha and head coach Steve Rupe are repeat honorees as NWC Player of the Year and NWC Coach of the Year on the 2011 All-Northwest Conference team, which was released today.

Rupe is the NWC Coach of the Year for the fourth time and the second year in a row. Rupe had previously won in 2001, 2002 and 2010. He now has a record of 203-136 in his 13th year leading the Pirates and has led Whitworth to five Northwest Conference crowns.

Rocha (Sr., OH, Pukalani, Hawaii) is the NWC Player of the Year for the second consecutive season. She has been an offensive force in league play this year, leading the NWC in points per set (4.3), kills per set (3.68) and total kills (331). She also ranks fourth in the conference in total service aces (34). She was voted as the NWC Player of the Week three times this season. In addition to her NWC Player of the Year awards in 2010 and 2011, Rocha was also a First Team All-NWC honoree in 2008.

Rocha is joined on the 2011 All-NWC First Team by Bree Riddle (Sr., S, Spokane, Wash. - Freeman). Riddle led the league in total assists (919) and assists per set (10.21) this fall. In addition, she sets herself apart from other setters by making herself an offensive threat (nearly 1.0 kills per set) and a blocking threat (0.4 bps). Riddle was a Second Team All-NWC selection last season

Ka'ipo Rocha (Sr., MB, Pukalani, Hawaii) was named Second Team All-NWC. She led the Pirates and ranked sixth in the league in blocks per set (0.92) and was fifth in total blocks (83). Rocha was also second on the team and sixth in the NWC this season in hitting percentage (.242). On October 14th she set a school record with 13 blocks in a five-set win at George Fox.

Amanda Grumbach (Sr., OH, Curlew, Wash.) earned honorable mention consideration. She was the second-leading hitter for the Pirates this season, averaging 2.61 kills per set, and she led all Pirates in digs per set (3.53) and service aces per set (0.40). Grumbach, who transferred from Walla Walla CC as a junior, was a Second Team All-NWC selection in 2010.

These four players will lead Whitworth into the NCAA Division III tournament this weekend. The 23rd-ranked Pirates will take on 17th-ranked Cal Lutheran in the first round of the eight-team West Regional on Friday night at 8:00 p.m. The Pirates are making their second straight appearance, and fifth overall, in the NCAA Division III tournament.