Volleyball dominates All-Big 12 awards
IRVING, Texas -- The third-ranked Texas Volleyball team earned a total of nine Big 12 Conference awards, including five All-Big 12 First Team honors, Freshman of the Year and Coach of the Year accolades, the conference office announced Monday.
Head coach Jerritt Elliott was named Big 12 Coach of the Year for the second time (2004) in his Texas career after leading the Horns to a 24-3 record, a 19-1 mark in Big 12 play and their first Big 12 Championship since 1997. Elliott guided Texas to the No. 4 national seed in the 2007 NCAA Tournament and the No. 1 seed in the Gainesville Regional.
Sophomore opposite hitter Ashley Engle, freshman outside hitter Juliann Faucette, sophomore outside hitter Destinee Hooker, senior setter Michelle Moriarty and junior middle blocker Lauren Paolini were named to the All-Big 12 First Team, while Faucette was honored as the league's Freshman of the Year.
Senior middle blocker Brandy Magee was named honorable mention All-Big 12, marking her third career conference award. Faucette also added Big 12 All-Freshman Team honors, headlining the six-member team.
Texas led all schools, placing six members on the all-conference teams, followed by Nebraska (5) and Kansas State (4). Nebraska's Sarah Pavan earned player of the year honors, while the Cornhuskers' Christina Houghtelling earned co-defensive player of the year honors. Kansas State's Angie Lastra and Nataly Korobkova were voted libero of the year and newcomer of the year respectively.
Faucette earns Texas' second straight Freshman of the Year honor after Engle claimed the honor in 2006. Faucette leads Texas in kills per-game (4.64), while ranking second in the Big 12. The two-time Big 12 Player of the Week ranks fourth in the league in points with 5.26 points per-game and boasts a .329 hitting percentage.
Engle, the glue behind Texas' 19-match Big 12 win streak, earns her second All-Big 12 First Team honor in as many seasons. The Yorba Linda, Calif., native hit at a .320 clip for the year, notching 3.03 kills, 1.21 assists, 2.29 digs and 1.00 blocks per-game.
Hooker, a two-time Big 12 Player of the Week selection, captures her second straight All-Big 12 First Team honor after helping anchor Texas' high-powered attack in 2007. The San Antonio, Texas, native ranks second in the Big 12 in points per-game (5.57) and third in kills per-game (4.62). Hooker is currently hitting .339 and averaging 2.12 digs and 1.01 blocks per-game.
Moriarty, a four-time Big 12 honoree and two-time first team selection, leads the Big 12 in assists per-game (14.12) and ranks fifth in the NCAA. Texas' career assists leader has led the Longhorns to a nation-best .341 hitting percentage in 2007.
Paolini earns her first career honor after leading all Big 12 players with a .468 hitting percentage in 20 conference matches. The Ann Arbor, Mich., native recorded a team-high 112 total blocks for the year, averaging 1.24 blocks per-game and 2.86 kills per-game.
Magee, a three-time All-Big 12 honoree, leads Texas with a team-high .406 hitting percentage and team-best 1.29 blocks per-game. The Longhorns' all-time hitting percentage leader helped the Longhorns to a league-best 3.28 blocks per-game in 2007 after missing most of 2006 with a knee injury.
Elliott and his third-ranked Texas volleyball team return to action on Friday, Nov. 30 when they host first and second rounds of the 2007 NCAA Tournament at Gregory Gym. UT will face Texas State in the first round on Friday at 6:30 p.m. immediately following the New Mexico State/LSU first-round match at 4:30 p.m. Winners of the first-round matches will meet on Saturday, Dec. 1, at 6:30 p.m. for the right to advance to the Gainesville Regional next weekend.
All-session ticket packages ($6-$18) for the NCAA Tournament matches hosted by Texas this weekend may be purchased in advance at TexasBoxOffice.com or at the Bellmont Hall ticket office on the UT campus. Individual session tickets ($5-$10) will go on sale at the Gregory Gym box office on Friday, Nov. 30.