BRISTOL, Tenn. – The King University men's volleyball team has had the most successful season in program history, and six Tornado earned All-Conference Carolinas honors when the league announced the award winners at a banquet prior to the conference tournament semifinals. Jeff Sprayberry and Ryan Booher headlined this group, being selected Conference Carolinas Offensive Player of the Year and Coach of the Year.
For the first time in his career, Sprayberry has been named Conference Carolinas Offensive Player of the Year. Sprayberry becomes King's second Offensive Player of the Year, joining Joel Salva in 2011. He also garnered all-conference accolades for the second time in his career, earning first team recognition for the first time. A season ago he was selected second team all-conference.
The junior from Oak Forest, Ill., leads the league with 350 kills on the season, and averages 3.43 kills per set. His attack percentage also ranks 11th in the conference and he has had 13 matches where he has hit better than .300 this season. Nationally, Sprayberry ranks 20th in kills per set, 50th in attack percentage and 22nd in points per set.
He posted his season best of 27 kills twice, first against Eastern Mennonite University where he hit .477 and against at the University of Mount Olive where he hit .438. The outside hitter also added two double-doubles on the season, posting a season-high 12 digs at Eastern Mennonite.
Booher earns Conference Carolinas Coach of the Year honors for the second time in his career, the last coming in 2011. This season, Booher has guided the Tornado to their first Conference Carolinas regular season title, winning a program-best 16 conference matches. He also led King to a 20-win improvement from last season, winning a program-record 28 matches. The previous best for the program was 15 back in 2015. In the middle of the season, the Tornado won a program-record 15 straight matches, and on Tuesday night King hosted and won their first Conference Carolinas Tournament match in program history.
The duo of Jon Wheaton and Nick Drooker earned second team All-Conference Carolinas honors. This marks the first time for both they have been selected all-conference. Drooker was selected Conference Carolinas Freshman of the Year in 2015.
This season, Drooker leads the league with 995 assists and ranks second with an average of 9.95 assists per set. The Richmond, Va., native also leads Conference Carolinas with 59 service aces, ranking second with an average of 0.59 aces per set. The aces per set also ranks Drooker fifth in all of NCAA Division I and his assists per set average is 12th in the country. The junior also ranks eighth in the league with 180 digs and sixth with 56 block assists. On the season he has posted 10 matches with at least 40 assists, including a school record 64 helpers against Eastern Mennonite. He later handed out 59 assists and Mount Olive and owns four double-doubles on the season.
Wheaton has been a force in the middle for the Tornado, leading Conference Carolinas in attack percentage and blocking. He is hitting .437 on the season, a mark thank ranks second in the nation, and has posted 84 block assists and 98 total bocks for an average of 0.99 stuffs per set. The Lockport, Ill., native has hit better than .400 in 20 matches this season, including a season-best .600 when he accounted for 10 kills against Mount Olive. Earlier in the year he hit .444 with a career-high 15 kills at Eastern Mennonite. He posted his season-high of seven blocks in a match five times.
The tandem of Eddie Moushikhian and Jimmy Nuckolls each earned third team All-Conference Carolinas recognition. For Moushikhian it was his second all-conference award, being named second team in 2015, and it marked the first time in his career he has earned all-conference recognition.
Moushikhian has played well all the way around for the Tornado, posting three double-doubles on the season. The Alpharetta, Ga., native ranks seventh in the league with 277 kills and is 10th with 163 digs. At the service line, he has served up 30 aces to rank ninth in the league. Moushikhian had a four match stretch where he reached double figures in kill in early March. During that streak he posted a season-high 18 kills against Eastern Mennonite.
At libero, Nuckolls has posted 213 digs on the season, ranking him sixth in the conference. His 2.17 digs per set average ranks 23rd in the country and eighth in Conference Carolinas. The Kingsport, Tenn., native reach double figures in digs nine times, including a season-high 16 digs at Barton College.
The second seeded Tornado take on third seed Mount Olive at 5:00 p.m. on Friday in the Conference Carolinas Tournament semifinals hosted by Barton.