No. 3 Volleyball earns six Big 12 postseason honors
Dec. 1, 2008
AUSTIN, Texas -- The third-ranked Texas Volleyball team earned a total of six Big 12 Conference awards, including four All-Big 12 First Team honors, Freshman of the Year and one all-freshman team selection, the conference office announced Monday.
Texas (25-3, 18-2 Big 12) landed junior opposite hitter Ashley Engle, sophomore outside hitter Juliann Faucette, junior outside hitter Destinee Hooker and senior middle blocker Lauren Paolini on the All-Big 12 First Team, while setter Michelle Kocher was honored as the league's Freshman of the Year. Kocher also added Big 12 All-Freshman honors, headlining the six-member team.
Texas' four selections tied Nebraska for most first-team honorees. Engle and Hooker were both honored as first-team selections for the third time, while Paolini and Faucette became two-time All-Big 12 honorees.
Nebraska's Jordan Larson earned player of the year and defensive player of the year honors, while fellow Husker Sydney Anderson won newcomer of the year. Iowa State's Ashley Mass was voted libero of the year and Nebraska's John Cook took home coach of the year honors.
Kocher earned Texas' third straight freshman of the year honor after Faucette (2007) and Engle (2006) claimed the honor the past two seasons. Kocher, a five-time Big 12 Rookie of the Week, has led the Longhorns to the nation's second-best hitting percentage (.340) and the Big 12's top mark in her rookie campaign. The Wheaton, Ill., native has registered 11.16 assists and added 1.73 digs per-set in 2008.
Engle, an AVCA All-America honoree in 2006, has produced in every statistical category for the Longhorns, averaging 2.93 kills, 1.03 assists, 2.22 digs and 0.72 blocks per-set, while hitting at a .318 clip. The Yorba Linda, Calif., native currently ranks eighth in the Big 12 in hitting percentage and ninth in service aces per-set (0.29).
Faucette, the 2007 AVCA National Freshman of the Year, ranks third on the Texas squad with 2.93 kills per-set and has added 1.84 digs and 61 total blocks in her sophomore season. The San Diego, Calif., native has produced three kill/dig double-doubles on the year.
Hooker, a three-time Big 12 Player of the Week selection, captures her third straight All-Big 12 First Team honor after leading the league in kills (4.13) and points per-set (4.96). The San Antonio, Texas, native ranks seventh in the Big 12 in hitting percentage (.328) and third in service aces per-set (0.32).
Paolini earns her second career honor after leading all Big 12 players with a .478 hitting percentage and ranking second in the NCAA in the same category. The Ann Arbor, Mich., native has registered 2.53 kills and 0.89 blocks per-set to date and ranks third on the club in service aces.
Head coach Jerritt Elliott and his third-ranked Texas volleyball team return to action on Friday, Dec. 5 when they host first and second rounds of the 2008 NCAA Tournament at Gregory Gym. UT will face Lamar in the first round on Friday at 6:30 p.m. immediately following the Wichita State/Rice first-round match at 4:30 p.m. Winners of the first-round matches will meet on Saturday, Dec. 6, at 4:30 p.m. for the right to advance to the NCAA Austin 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, Dec. 5.