Norfolk State’s Gabrielle Gilbert claims MEAC Rookie of Year

Title image via Nick Sutton

Courtesy of Norfolk State Athletics

Norfolk State freshman Gabrielle Gilbert is the first NSU volleyball player to have the honor of calling herself an All-MEAC First Team selection, and she only needed one year to achieve the feat.

Gilbert was named to the All-MEAC First Team on Thursday, as the conference unveiled its postseason honorees at the 2023 MEAC Volleyball Championship Banquet. She also received the MEAC Rookie of the Year award.

Middle blocker Grace Smith also received a postseason accolade, joining Gilbert on the MEAC All-Rookie Team.

Gilbert became the first player in Norfolk State volleyball history to earn the MEAC Rookie of the Year award, also becoming the first All-MEAC First Team selection in program history.

Gilbert and Smith also became the first Spartan tandem to be named to the MEAC All-Rookie Team in the same season.

An outside hitter from Indianapolis, Ind., Gilbert has taken the MEAC by storm in her first season of collegiate volleyball. She has earned six weekly conference accolades, taking the MEAC Rookie of the Week recognition on five occasions.

Gilbert’s 3.54 kills per set ranks second in the MEAC, providing valuable versatility with 1.53 digs per set. She has recorded three double-doubles this season. Entering postseason play, Gilbert still has a chance to break the program record Jessica Johnson set in 2016 of 3.66 kills per set.

A Manassas, Va. product, Smith has established herself as a premiere net presence in her debut season, averaging 1.14 kills and 0.71 blocks per set.

Smith enjoyed a breakthrough performance at Coppin State, tallying nine kills and three blocks against the top team in the conference standings. She recorded three or more blocks on 11 occasions, recording a career-best of five at North Carolina Central.

Norfolk State gets its postseason play underway on Friday against Maryland Eastern Shore, the No. 4 seed, at 2:30 p.m.

For complete coverage of Norfolk State Athletics, please follow the Spartans on social media at @nsuspartans (Twitter), /NorfolkStateAthletics (Facebook), @NSUAthletics (Instagram), @nsuathletics (YouTube) or visit the official home of Norfolk State Athletics at

MEAC Volleyball 
2023 Postseason All-MEAC Teams 
As voted on by the league’s head coaches and sports information directors 
Player of the Year: 
Rya McKinnon, Howard 
Rookie of the Year: Gabrielle Gilbert, Norfolk State
Setter of the Year: 
Andrea Tsvetanova, Coppin State 
Defensive Player of the Year: Ashley Roman, Coppin State 
Coach of the Year: Tim Walsh, Coppin State 


Name Class Ht. Pos. School Hometown 
Ashley Roman R-Sr. 5-5 Coppin State Isabela, Puerto Rico 
Andrea Tsvetanova R-Sr. 5-9 Coppin State Sofia, Bulgaria 
Rya McKinnon So. 5-11 OH Howard Hoover, Ala. 
TaKenya Stafford R-So. 5-11 OH Coppin State Los Angeles, CA 
Gabrielle Gilbert Fr. 6-0 OH Norfolk State Indianapolis, Ind.  
Alondra Maldonado Sr. 6-1 OH Delaware State Patillas, Puerto Rico 
Kelsie Dawson Jr. 6-1 MB Delaware State Nashville, Tenn. 
Cimone Woodard Jr. 6-3 MB Howard Missouri City, Texas 
Geraldyn Palacios Sr. 6-1 MB Coppin State Medellin, Colombia 


Name Class Ht. Pos. School Hometown 
Kayla Diaz Sr. 5-7 Howard Rockland, NY 
Emmie Modlin So. 5-11 OH N.C. Central Pinehurst, NC 
Laila Ibrahim So. 6-1 OH Coppin State Calgary, Alberta, Canada 
Loren Johnson Jr. 5-6 LB N.C. Central Charlotte, NC 
Ella Sanders Fr. 5-10 OH Delaware State Albuquerque, NM 
Claire Simpson So. 5-6 LB Howard Plainfield, IL 
Derionah Abner Gr. 5-6 RS Maryland Eastern Shore Orlando, FL 


Name Class Ht. Pos. School Hometown 
Gabrielle Gilbert Fr. 6-0 OH Norfolk State Indianapolis, IN 
Ella Sanders Fr. 5-10 OH Delaware State Albuquerque, NM 
Jada Williams Fr. 6-2 MB Morgan State Fredericksburg, VA 
Anisa Dorlouis Fr. 5-8 Maryland Eastern Shore Gainesville, Fla. 
Coco Figueroa Fr. 5-5 LB Coppin State Bayamon, Puerto Rico 
Grace Smith Fr. 6-1 MB Norfolk State Manassas, Va.

Related posts

Leave a Comment