ROSEMONT, Ill. - The Big Ten announced the 2017 postseason volleyball awards on Tuesday, with standouts from Nebraska, Penn State and Wisconsin earning recognition. The Nittany Lions’ Simone Lee was named the Big Ten Player of the Year by a vote of the conference’s coaches. Penn State’s Haleigh Washington was tabbed the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year while Nebraska’s Kelly Hunter was named Setter of the Year. Wisconsin’s Dana Rettke earned Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors, while Nebraska head coach John Cook and Penn State head coach Russ Rose were named Big Ten Coach of the Year by the conference’s coaches and media contingent, respectively.
Lee, a unanimous All-Big Ten selection, ranked third in the Big Ten in points (468.5) and points per set (4.50) this season. The Menomonee Falls, Wis., native was named a Senior CLASS Award finalist and earned Big Ten Player of the Week recognition twice this season. Lee is the 13th student in Penn State history to be named Big Ten Player of the Year, and the first since Ariel Scott in 2012.
Washington earned unanimous All-Big Ten honors, and leads the nation and the conference with a .515 hitting percentage. The Colorado Springs, Colo., native was named a Senior CLASS Award finalist and earned Big Ten Player of the Week recognition five times this season. She is only the third Penn State student to earn Defensive Player of the Year accolades and the first since Katie Slay won the award in 2011.
Hunter, a unanimous All-Big Ten selection, averaged 11.00 assists per set during Big Ten play, while leading the Huskers to a .297 team hitting percentage. The two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree was named Big Ten Setter of the Week twice this season. This is the first Setter of the Year award for a Nebraska student since the award’s inception in 2012.
Rettke, a unanimous All-Big Ten and All-Freshman selection, ranks fifth nationally and second in the Big Ten with a .445 hitting percentage. The Riverside, Ill., native earned Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors a record nine times this season. She is the fifth student in program history to win the award and the second-consecutive Badger freshman to earn the honor.
Cook earned top billing among the conference’s coaches for the third time, including his second as Nebraska’s head coach. Cook, who previously served as the head coach at Wisconsin, also received the award in 1997. This season he guided Nebraska to a 26-4 overall record, a program-best 19-1 mark in Big Ten play and a share of the Big Ten Championship. Under Cook’s tutelage, the Huskers earned the No. 5 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. The award marks Nebraska’s second Coach of the Year honor.
Rose earned top billing among the conference’s media contingent after guiding Penn State to a 29-1 overall record and a 19-1 mark in Big Ten play en route to its 17th Big Ten title and the first since 2013. The Nittany Lions also earned the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Championship. Rose’s award from the media marks his 15th all-time.
Nineteen Big Ten players were named All-Big Ten by the conference’s coaches, with 10 unanimous selections. Joining Hunter, Lee, Rettke and Washington as unanimous honorees were Michigan State’s Autumn Bailey, Minnesota’s Stephanie Samedy and Samantha Seliger-Swenson, Nebraska’s Mikaela Foecke, and Purdue’s Sherridan Atkinson and Danielle Cuttino.
Rettke and Samedy were also unanimous selections to the All-Freshman Team. Illinois’ Megan Cooney, Nebraska’s Jazz Sweet and Lauren Stivrins, Northwestern’s Nia Robinson and Wisconsin’s Sydney Hilley also appeared among the seven-player team.
The Big Ten also recognized 14 Sportsmanship Award honorees. The students chosen are individuals who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. These students must also be in good academic standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting. The complete list of All-Big Ten honorees, individual award winners and Sportsmanship Award Honorees can be found below.
|2017 BIG TEN VOLLEYBALL HONORS & AWARDS
INDIVIDUAL AWARD RECIPIENTS
|Coach of the Year — John Cook, Nebraska (coaches) / Russ Rose, Penn State (media)|
|Player of the Year — Simone Lee, Penn State|
|Defensive Player of the Year — Haleigh Washington, Penn State|
|Setter of the Year — Kelly Hunter, Nebraska|
|Freshman of the Year — Dana Rettke, Wisconsin|
|ALL-BIG TEN TEAM*|
|Ali Bastianelli, Jr., MB, Illinois|
|Jordyn Poulter, Jr., S, Illinois|
|Carly Skjodt, Jr., OH, Michigan|
|AUTUMN BAILEY, Sr., OH, Michigan State|
|Alyssa Garvelink, Sr., MB, Michigan State|
|Alexis Hart, So., OH, Minnesota|
|STEPHANIE SAMEDY, Fr., OPP, Minnesota|
|SAMANTHA SELIGER-SWANSON, Jr., S, Minnesota|
|Annika Albrecht, Sr., OH, Nebraska|
|MIKAELA FOECKE, Jr., OH, Nebraska|
|KELLY HUNTER, Sr., S, Nebraska|
|Symone Abbott, Sr., OH, Northwestern|
|SIMONE LEE, Sr., OH, Penn State|
|HALEIGH WASHINGTON, Sr., MB, Penn State|
|Kendall White, So., L, Penn State|
|SHERRIDAN ATKINSON, Jr., OPP, Purdue|
|DANIELLE CUTTINO, Sr., OH, Purdue|
|DANA RETTKE, Fr., MB, Wisconsin|
|Tionna Williams, Jr., MB, Wisconsin|
|Jess Janota, Sr., MB, Iowa|
|Taylor Louis, Jr., OH, Iowa|
|Annika Olsen, Sr., L, Iowa|
|Hailey Murray, Sr., MB, Maryland|
|Claire Kieffer-Wright, Sr., MB, Michigan|
|Rachel Minarick, Sr., S, Michigan State|
|Holly Toliver, Sr., OPP, Michigan State|
|Briana Holman, Sr., MB, Nebraska|
|Ashley Wenz, Sr., OH, Ohio State|
|Heidi Thelen, Sr., RS, Penn State|
|BIG TEN ALL-FRESHMAN TEAM|
|Megan Cooney, OH, Illinois|
|STEPHANIE SAMEDY, OPP, Minnesota|
|Jazz Sweet, OH, Nebraska|
|Lauren Stivrins, MB, Nebraska|
|Nia Robinson, OH, Northwestern|
|Sydney Hilley, S, Wisconsin|
|DANA RETTKE, MB, Wisconsin|
|SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD HONOREES|
|Beth Prince, Illinois|
|Jessica Admire, Indiana|
|Annika Olsen, Iowa|
|Liz Twilley, Maryland|
|Maddy Abbott, Michigan|
|Abby Monson, Michigan State|
|Molly Lohman, Minnesota|
|Sydney Townsend, Nebraska|
|Gabrielle Hazen, Northwestern|
|Kalisha Goree, Ohio State|
|Lainy Pierce, Penn State|
|Carissa Damler, Purdue|
|Karysa Swackenberg, Rutgers|
|Lauryn Gillis, Wisconsin|
Unanimous selections listed in ALL CAPS
* - additional honorees due to ties in voting