Observer staff

Eastern Oregon middle blocker Madisen Garlie has left an indelible
impact on the Mountaineers’ program in just two years on the court.

The Cascade Collegiate Conference took notice of her play in 2017, and Thursday night named the redshirt senior co-player of the year along with Corban’s Alaina Gentili.

“I wasn’t really expecting it at all. (I) haven’t really thought about it,” Garlie said. “I feel very honored and happy to have gotten it. It’s been a long haul. It feels very rewarding.”

Garlie, the 6-foot-3 product of Challis, Idaho, caused problems for opposing teams at the net all season long, especially with her height and leaping ability. Garlie was the runaway leader in blocks in the CCC with 161, and her 1.55 block-per-set average is third in the nation. In addition to her presence on the defensive side, she also played a role in the EOU offense with 231 kills.

The senior said receiving the award is even more special given the road she’s traveled in recent years after transferring to EOU from Oregon Tech and sitting out a year with a knee injury.

“All the stuff that I’ve gone through and now receiving this award makes it seem a lot more special,” she said, adding that her family and teammates have been instrumental for her. “Family’s No. 1 and I couldn’t have done it without them supporting me through everything.

“I couldn’t do it without the team obviously. I had to rely on them to do their job before I could do mine.”

She helped the No. 13 Mountaineers to a 15-5 record in conference, which tied the team for second, a 22-8 mark overall and a berth into the semifinals of the CCC tournament.

“It was always our intent and our goal, in the end, that she was going to be one of the best players in the conference because of not only her athletic ability but her mental toughness, as well,” said EOU head coach Kaki McLean-Morehead.

Garlie is the second Mountaineer in as many years to earn the accolade, following Rachelle Chamberlain who, interestingly enough, played a huge role in convincing Garlie to transfer to Eastern.

Joining Garlie in receiving honors was libero Kiley McMurtrey. The freshman was seventh in the conference in digs per set with 4.49, led the Mountaineers on the season with 462 digs and as a result was named CCC freshman of the year.

“I’m pretty excited about Kiley being named freshman of the year. She’s made a big difference to our team,” McLean-
Morehead said. “To have the other coaches in our conference really notice and reward her for what she does is awesome.”

Garlie, in addition to being named co-player of the year was also selected to the CCC first team. She was joined on the first team by Amanda Miller. The senior outside hitter led the Mountaineers with 334 kills and added 89 digs and 47 blocks.