Penn State and Michigan Take Home Major Big Ten Volleyball Awards
Nov. 26, 2007
PARK RIDGE, Ill. - After becoming the first team in Big Ten history to win five consecutive conference titles, Penn State was honored again on Monday as junior middle hitter Christa Harmotto became the third different Nittany Lion in as many years to be named Big Ten Player of the Year. In addition, middle hitter Arielle Wilson became the sixth consecutive Penn State player to receive Freshman of the Year honors, and PSU head coach Russ Rose was named Coach of the Year by the conference coaches and the media, marking the ninth time he has been recognized. Rounding out the 2007 Big Ten volleyball individual honors, Michigan senior libero Stesha Selsky was named Defensive Player of the Year.
A native of Aliquippa, Pa., Harmotto is the ninth Nittany Lion in program history to be named Big Ten Player of the Year. The junior shattered the conference record with a .469 hitting percentage in Big Ten matches and has been among the national leaders all year in that category, concluding the regular season with a .483 clip in all games played. Harmotto also finished second in the conference in blocks per game, averaging 1.75 per Big Ten contest, and is among the NCAA's best with an average of 1.63 stuffs in all games played. Harmotto was a three-time Big Ten Player of the Week selection this year.
Wilson became the first freshman since 2003 and the second ever to lead the Big Ten in blocks, averaging 1.78 per conference game. The Broadview, Ill., native finished second in the Big Ten with a .382 conference hitting percentage and tallied a .406 clip in all contests. Wilson is the seventh Nittany Lion to be named Big Ten Freshman of the Year and the sixth in a row, following Sam Tortorello (2002), Cassy Salyer (2003), Kate Price (2004), Nicole Fawcett (2005) and Megan Hodge (2006). Wilson was a two-time Big Ten Player of the Week selection this year, earning the award once on offense and once on defense.
Selsky is the first Wolverine to take home Defensive Player of the Year honors. The senior broke Michigan's school record for digs with 2,140 for her career, becoming just the third player in Big Ten history to reach the 2,000 saves milestone. The Manhattan Beach, Calif., native led the Big Ten with 5.71 digs per conference game and averaged 6.08 saves in all games played, putting her among the NCAA's elite in that category. Selsky was a two-time Defensive Player of the Week selection this year.
This year, Rose's Nittany Lions became the first program in history to win five consecutive conference titles and the seventh squad since double round-robin play began in 1985 to finish the Big Ten schedule with an undefeated record. The 29th-year mentor put Penn State in the No. 1 spot in the AVCA national rankings for the first time since 1999, and led his squad to its 27th NCAA appearance. The Lions join Stanford as the only two programs in the nation to have appeared in every NCAA Volleyball Championship. This marks the seventh time that Rose has been honored as Big Ten Coach of the Year by his peers, the ninth time he has been recognized by the media and the seventh time he has received the nod from both groups.
Harmotto is also a member of the 2007 All-Big Ten team, joining teammates Nicole Fawcett, Alisha Glass and Megan Hodge. Fawcett and Hodge were unanimous selections to the squad, marking the third honor of Fawcett's career, Hodge's second and Glass' first. Also unanimously chosen to the 2007 All-Big Ten Team, Ohio State's Danielle Meyer earned her third career honor and Michigan's Katie Bruzdzinski received her second. Wisconsin senior Taylor Reineke is the fourth three-time honoree on the squad, and is joined by teammates Jackie Simpson and Brittney Dolgner, who each received their second career accolades. Rounding out the team, Michigan State's Ashley Schatzle and Purdue's Stephanie Lynch each took home their second career laurels, while Minnesota's Jessy Jones earned her first.
Nine of the 11 Big Ten schools were represented on the All-Conference ballot as Illinois' Vicki Brown and Laura DeBruler, Indiana's Lauren Ditteon, Michigan State's Katie Johnson and Wisconsin's Jocelyn Wack were named Honorable Mention All-Conference.
DeBruler also earned a selection to the All-Freshman Team and was joined by Michigan's Lexi Zimmerman, Minnesota's Brook Dieter and Lauren Gibbemeyer, and Penn State's Wilson and Blair Brown.
The conference office also announced honorees from each of the 11 volleyball squads for the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award. The student-athletes chosen are individuals who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. In addition, the student-athletes must be in good academic standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting. Honorees for women's volleyball are Illinois' Ashley Edinger, Indiana's Juli Pierce, Iowa's Emily Hiza, Michigan's Selsky, Michigan State's Miken Trogdon, Minnesota's Kelly Roysland, Northwestern's Brittney Aldridge, Ohio State's Briana McCarthy, Penn State's Melissa Walbridge, Purdue's Samantha Mader and Wisconsin's Audra Jeffers. These 11 student-athletes are now candidates for the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award, as the conference office will honor one male and one female student-athlete from each institution at the end of the school year.
A complete listing of the 2007 All-Big Ten Team and individual honors follows.
Unanimous selections in ALL CAPS