Johnston, Milnick Earn National Awards

Arkansas Tech University’s Lexie Johnston was named 2017 American Volleyball Coaches Association NCAA Division II freshman of the year on Wednesday, Dec. 5.

Johnston (photographed, left) recorded 303 kills and 91 blocks during the 2017 season. Her .399 hitting percentage led the Great American Conference and ranks among the top 10 nationally this season.

Only Bridget Pyles, who hit .412 for the Golden Suns in 2000, has recorded a higher single-season hitting percentage in Tech volleyball history.

A product of Nixa, Mo., Johnston was also named honorable mention AVCA All-America. Her teammate, sophomore setter Amanda Milnick of Tahlequah, Okla., was selected to the AVCA All-America second team.

Milnick (photographed, right) made 1,190 assists, 198 kills, 296 digs and 41 service aces in 2017. She notched 13 double-doubles and three triple-doubles during her sophomore campaign.

Milnick and Johnston are the sixth and seventh All-America selections in ATU volleyball history, joining Stacy Burnett-Mallett (NAIA honorable mention, 1991), Dong Mei Cui (AVCA honorable mention, 1997), Ningning Liu (Daktronics third team, 2002), Sarah Von Lienen (AVCA honorable mention, 2010) and Laura Farney (AVCA honorable mention, 2011).

Their play helped the 2017 Golden Suns finish with an overall record of 35-1, regular season and postseason Great American Conference championships and the fifth NCAA Division II Tournament appearance in ATU volleyball history.

Johnston and Milnick also collected AVCA All-NCAA Division II Central Region honors, while ATU head coach Kristy Bayer was named NCAA Division II Central Region coach of the year.

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