Bird, Tinklenberg earn All-GPAC honors

Rachel Tinklenberg

Rachel Tinklenberg

Dani Bird

Dani Bird

MITCHELL, S.D. – Two members of the Dakota Wesleyan University volleyball team earned All-Great Plains Athletic Conference honors, the league announced Wednesday morning.

Junior Rachel Tinklenberg and sophomore Dani Bird both earned All-GPAC Honorable Mention accolades. This is the first honor for Tinklenberg, a Pipestone, Minn., native, and the second for Bird, an Omaha, Neb., native who also earned honorable mention status as a freshman in 2011.

Tinklenberg, a 6-foot-1 middle hitter, finished second on the team with 236 kills despite missing time due to an injury this season. She averaged 2.68 kills per game. She was also third on the team with 52 total blocks, including 19 solo blocks. In three seasons with the team, Tinklenberg has 552 kills and 178 total blocks.

Bird, a 5-10 outside hitter, led the team and tied for seventh in the GPAC with 357 total kills. She averaged 2.95 kills per game and played in all 121 games for the Tigers this season. She also finished second on the team with 309 digs and was second with 64 total blocks. Bird had a team-high 20 solo blocks and led DWU with 40 service aces.

The power-hitting duo helped Dakota Wesleyan to a 7-27 overall record this season and a 2-13 mark in the GPAC. The Tigers lose just one senior to graduation in May in defensive specialist Kayla O’Connell.

Hastings College senior outside hitter Kendra Schwein was named the league’s player-of-the-year and Bronco head coach Matt Buttermore earned coach-of-the-year honors. Hastings, Doane College and Morningside College all made the NAIA National Championships.