ON CAMPUS: Position change helps NC's Kochinsky earn all-conference honors
A three-sport standout at Northern Cambria High School, Breanna Kochinsky surprisingly didn’t have much to ponder before choosing college volleyball over basketball or track and field in 2010.
While she adored both basketball and track and field, Kochinsky perceived volleyball as the ultimate team sport, a belief she maintained throughout her impressive four-year college volleyball career.
Kochinsky continued to live by a team-first motto this year at St. Francis University, and the senior certainly reaped the benefits of her unselfish ways.
The Nicktown native moved from outside hitter to libero in an effort to shore up defensive concerns for the Red Flash. In her first year as the team’s defensive specialist, Kochinsky not only eclipsed the 1,000-career-dig plateau, she also led the Northeast Conference with 4.40 digs per set.
She was also named to the Michigan State and Youngstown State all-tournament teams.
For her efforts, Kochinsky got an All-NEC second team nod Saturday. She was the only member of the Red Flash, who won just five matches, to be named all-conference.
“I set that as one of my goals from the beginning of the year, although I didn’t think I would get it because we didn’t make it to the final four in our conference,” Kochinsky said of her all-conference honors. “I was a hitter last year, but when I saw that the NEC first- and second-team picks were getting about three digs per set, I talked to my coach about switching positions and he was all for it. Defense always came natural to me and I didn’t really have the height I needed to be a hitter, so the transition to libero was natural.
“I just wanted to help my team as much as I could and I thought I could do that by making a sacrifice and playing libero.”
Kochinsky transferred from Clarion to St. Francis following her freshman year in 2010. Since then, she’s totaled 1,001 digs, 321 kills, 105 assists and 38 aces, including a team-high 418 digs this year.
In 2011, Kochinsky finished with 215 kills, 307 digs, 19 assists and 17 aces, and in 2012, she totaled 102 kills, 276 digs, 26 assists and 13 aces.
In her senior year of high school, Kochinsky led the Colts girls’ volleyball team to a PIAA Class A championship in 2009, garnering the tournament’s most valuable player award in the process. Kochinsky was also on the Northern Cambria’s girls’ basketball teams that advanced to the PIAA Class A finals in 2008 and 2010, and she set school records in the 100- and 300-meter hurdles on the track as a senior.
“I’ve actually thought about playing basketball or going out for track this year but I figured I’d give my body a break,” Kochinsky said. “Volleyball was my first love and I’m satisfied with what I accomplished. I love a team sport and I picked volleyball because I thought it was the most team-oriented. It wasn’t really even a decision.”
AUBREE FRYE (IUP, volleyball): A senior right-side hitter/setter who graduated from Indiana High School in 2010, Frye played in each of IUP’s 34 matches for the second straight season, helping the Crimson Hawks to 13 wins this fall.
A defensive specialist, Frye piled up 225 digs, 102 service points, 37 kills, 11 assists and seven aces this season.
Frye had 13 digs, four service points and a season-high eight kills in IUP’s loss to Cedarville on Sept. 6. She added a season-high 22 digs and five service points in the Hawks’ win over Lock Haven on Sept. 28.
In 2012, Frye collected 76 kills and 14 blocks. She also finished third on the team in assists, aces and digs with 42, 28 and 308, respectively.
JOHN JONES, JOSH HUEY, SEAN GIBBON and IAN WEAVER (Westminster, football): Jones, a junior tight end, played in nine of 10 games for Westminster this season, which finished with a 4-6 record.
A 2010 graduate of Ligonier Valley High School, Jones caught one pass for five yards in the Titans’ loss to Hiram College on Sept. 7. He also finished 0-for-2 passing on the season.
In 2012, Jones played in just three of Westminster’s 10 games.
• A freshman and 2013 graduate of Purchase Line High School, Huey played in two games at running back for the Titans.
Huey got all four of his carries this year in Westminster’s loss to Thomas More on Sept. 21. He ran for 25 yards, 19 of which came on one carry.
• Gibbon, a sophomore linebacker and 2011 graduate of Indiana High School, played in two games for the Titans and didn’t record a tackle.
• Another sophomore linebacker, Weaver graduated from Punxsutawney in 2011. He’s on the roster but didn’t suit up this season.
JEANNIE BUJDOS: (Seton Hill, cross country): A junior and 2010 graduate of Indiana High School, Bujdos highlighted another outstanding season by placing 17th with a time of 22 minutes, 59 seconds at the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Championships on Oct. 26.
Bujdos then finished 0.4 seconds behind teammate Alyssa Brandis and took 23rd at the NCAA Division II Atlantic Region Championships to steer the Griffins to a fifth-place team finish on Nov. 9. The top four teams qualify for the national championships.
Earlier in the season, Bujdos placed second (18:17) for the second straight year at the annual National Catholic Championships at the University of Notre Dame on Sept. 20. She also finished second (19:56) at the Seton Hill University Griffin Classic on Sept. 7, and took third (18:27) at the Carnegie Mellon University Invitational on Oct.3.
Last year, Bujdos was named to the USTFCCCA Division II Cross Country All-Academic Team.
VERONICA BUJDOS, (Gannon, cross country): Bujdos, a sophomore and Indiana native who’s the younger sister of Jeannie Bujdos, earned all-region honors by placing 14th (21:21) at the NCAA Division II Atlantic Region Championships on Nov. 9.
Two weeks earlier, Bujdos finished 15th (22:55) to power Gannon at the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Championships on Oct. 26.
Bujdos also notched first-place finishes in three events, the Mercyhurst/Gannon Invitational, the Davis & Elkins Invitational and the Penn State Behrend Invitational.
Bujdos won the eighth annual Mercyhurst/Gannon Invitational with a time of 18:38. She won the Davis & Elkins Invitational with a time of 22:38 before winning the Penn State Behrend Invitational with a mark of 18:07.
Two weeks before her third first-place finish of the year, Bujdos took second (17:56) at the Harry F. Anderson Cross Country Invitational at Robert Wesleyan College on Sept. 28.
ALLIE LIBOSKI, (Saint Vincent, volleyball): A sophomore middle hitter and a 2011 Indiana High School graduate, Liboski received an honorable mention for the All-Presidents’ Athletic Conference team on Nov. 12.
Liboski helped the Bearcats to a 16-16 record by racking up 159 kills, 74 blocks, 14 digs and six aces.
Liboski amassed eight kills or more six times, including tallying 10 kills twice. She also had at least three blocks in nine matches, including an eight-block effort against Thiel College on Oct. 17. Liboski piled up nine kills and four blocks on two occasions.
Liboski paced the Bearcats to the first round of the PAC playoffs, where they lost 3-2 to Westminster College on Nov. 5.
Last year, Liboski appeared in 11 matches and notched 35 kills and nine blocks.
JOSH WANNAMAKER (Thiel, football): A freshman for the Tomcats, the 2013 Derry High School graduate earned second-team recognition on the Presidents’ Athletic Conference all-star team after the completion of his freshman season.
A 6-foot, 205-pound running back, Wannamaker played in only five games but rushed for 202 yards on 57 carries and caught five passes for 19 yards.