Abbey Sutherland is in her second season as head coach of the Green Bay volleyball program, coming off one of the most historic and memorable seasons in program history.
In her second season, Sutherland led the Phoenix to an overall record of 21-9. In nonconference play, the team defeated Ohio State University at the Champyinz Invitational, which was the program’s first victory over a power-five school since 2015. Green Bay finished third overall in the Horizon League at 12-4. Not only did the team earned a spot as an AVCA Top 50 team for the first time in program history, but the Phoenix ranked 45th overall in the NCAA’s RPI, the highest mark to end a season for any team in the program’s history as well.
During the 2019 campaign, Taylor Wolf was named back-to-back Horizon League Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year. In addition, Maddie Yoss was named back-to-back Horizon League Setter of the Year and Brenna Hesse earned All-Freshman Team honors. Emily Lautenschalger, Taylor Wolf and Maddie Yoss were featured on the conference’s All-Academic Team also for Green Bay.
In just her first year at the helm, Sutherland delivered the first-ever Horizon League regular season championship to Green Bay. The Phoenix finished 13-3 in the conference, and subsequently went on to win a Horizon League Tournament title and advance to the 2018 NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Tournament for the first time since 2003 as well as only the second time ever. Sutherland was named the Horizon League Coach of the Year in recognition of her and the team’s accomplishments during the 2018 season.
Under her direction in 2018, Taylor Wolf was named Horizon League Player of the Year, Maddie Yoss was named Setter of the Year and Vanessa Buman was named Defensive Player of the Year. Alexandra Zakutney was also named to the All-Freshman Team, while Yoss and Austyn Everingham landed on the All-Academic Team.
Sutherland came to the Phoenix after spending the previous five seasons at nearby UW-Stevens Point, where she led the Pointers to a 146-36 record during her successful tenure. Under Sutherland’s leadership, UWSP won two WIAC regular season championships, two WIAC tournament championships and back-to-back runs to the NCAA Tournament Final Four.
The West Bend, Wis., native has averaged over 29 wins per season during her time as head coach with the Pointers, and enjoyed a standout playing career at St. Norbert College in De Pere, where she was twice named MWC Player of the Year. Sutherland chose to return to her home state of Wisconsin in 2013, accepting the head coaching job at UWSP after spending three seasons as the head coach at Southern Miss.
In what was considered to be “rebuilding” year in 2017, Sutherland still led the Pointers to 24 wins with a very young and inexperienced team. In 2016, UWSP amassed 27 wins behind four experienced seniors and Sutherland’s guidance. Her 2015 team qualified for the NCAA Tournament, winning its first game before falling in the Second Round, finishing 27-9 in that season.
In 2014, UW-Stevens Point was 33-5 overall, including a 21-match winning streak prior to falling to Emory in four sets in the national semifinals. The Pointers won the St. Paul Regional with sweeps of St. Benedict and Coe before edging Cornell (Iowa) 15-11 in the fifth set to claim the regional championship for the second-straight season. At the NCAA Division III Championship in Newport News, Va., the Pointers claimed a thrilling five-set win over Claremont-Mudd-Scripps by a 16-14 score in the decisive fifth set.
In Sutherland’s first season of 2013, UW-Stevens Point went on the deepest NCAA Tournament run at that time in program history, making it all the way to the national semifinals. UWSP defeated three straight teams ranked in the top six, before falling to Cal Lutheran. In 2013, the Pointers compiled an overall record of 35-5 and the 35 wins were the most by a UWSP team since 1985. The team won 24 straight matches prior to the loss to Cal Lutheran.
Sutherland coached two-time WIAC Player of the Year Alexis Hartman, who was UW-Stevens Point’s first-ever conference player of the year and four-time All-WIAC pick. Sutherland has also coached over 10 All-WIAC players and helped sophomore April Gehl earn AVCA Honorable Mention honors this past season, who led the WIAC in kills and ended the season with 14 double-doubles in the final 18 matches.
Prior to coming to UWSP, Sutherland spent three seasons as head coach at the University of Southern Mississippi. She compiled a 44-47 record as head coach there, taking over the program in 2010, after spending six seasons as an assistant coach with the program, four as the team’s top assistant.
Sutherland’s 2011 Golden Eagles had three student-athletes earn All-Conference USA honors including a first team selection and a first team all-region performer. The 2012 squad continued its academic excellence and earned its third consecutive team academic award from the AVCA and had a player earn Capital One Academic Second Team All-American accolades.
In 2010, Sutherland guided Southern Miss to a 19-12 record and a fourth-place finish in Conference USA. Sutherland is one of only two first-year head coaches in volleyball to record a winning season at Southern Miss.
She completed her collegiate playing career with the Green Knights with 4,554 assists, 1,503 digs and 128 aces. Sutherland was a three-time First-Team All-Midwest Conference selection and a two-time conference Player of the Year. She twice received honorable-mention all-region honors.
Sutherland helped St. Norbert finish first in the Midwest Conference in 2002 and advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. She was voted her team’s most valuable player as a junior and senior and also received academic all-conference honors.
She received her bachelor’s degree in Spanish and secondary education in 2004 from St. Norbert and a master’s degree in teaching languages, with a Spanish emphasis from Southern Mississippi in 2006.
Sutherland is a graduate of the 2019 NCAA Women Coaches Academy class #48 that was held in Denver. The NCAA Women Coaches Academy, hosted in partnership between WeCOACH and the NCAA, is a 4-day educational training available to NCAA coaches of all experience levels, and is designed for women coaches who are ready to increase their individual effectiveness by learning advanced skills and strategies that directly affect their personal and team success.