Bellevue College volleyball Coach Jocelyn Lawrence was named North West Athletic Conference North Region Coach of the Year for the first time. Middle blocker Audrey Saelens and setter Kendle Valede-Nunez both made first team regional honors, while outside hitters Shea O’Brien and Averi Dyer both made second team regional honors. This was Lawrence’s third season with the Bellevue College Bulldogs. This was also Saelen’s second consecutive year winning regional first team honors.
The award is voted on by the Northern region coaches. Each coach personally decides how and why to vote for someone, taking things into consideration such as overall season and improvement from year to year. The Bulldogs finished the season as the fifth ranked team in the Northwest Athletic Conference according to the NWAC Under Armour coaches poll. Above them were undefeated Linn Benton Community College in Oregon, Walla Walla community college, North Idaho College, and Highline College. The Bulldogs placed seventh in the NWAC playoff this season. The previous year, the Bulldogs lost in the first round of the playoffs to the eventual champion, Blue Mountain College. Bellevue College finished second in the Northwest Region in 2014 as well.
“It has taken a lot of dedication from not only me but my assistant to have a good offseason with our returners but to recruit personalities that fit our team and coaching style along with their talent. Winning this award solidifies that hard work and dedication can pay off if you stay true to yourself and work hard to your goals. This award is truly the reflection of the hard work of this team, from the players through the coaching staff,” said Lawrence.
Over the course of the season, Lawrence focused on improving the communication across the team, as well as working on improving playing as a team and getting assists. Lawrence encourages the team to prove to everyone every game that they are one of the conference’s best.
Lawrence went into detail about her philosophy as a coach. “I believe in setting expectations and holding accountability to them. I set our standard and work to coach each girl individually to meet that standard. Every player is different but they all can reach the same goal. My girls are not just volleyball players to me, their lives matter to me and they become like my kids. We have had an extremely successful season at Bellevue if not one of the most successful ones to come through Bellevue recording a 38-11 overall record,” shared Lawrence.
“We worked hard to create a culture in which individual players could find their time to be leaders for this team,” Lawrence added.
“Because of that all 12 of them were a huge part of our success. I think the keys are always willing to learn and grow, to not get complacent or ever feel like you have it all figured out. Be willing to listen to your players and figure out the best way to coach each of them individually. Continue to set high expectations and always hold yourself accountable.”