Big Ten Announces 2016 Postseason Volleyball Honors
Nov. 29, 2016
ROSEMONT, Ill. - The Big Ten announced the 2016 postseason volleyball awards on Tuesday, with standouts from Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin earning recognition. The Golden Gophers’ Sarah Wilhite was named the Big Ten Player of the Year by a vote of the conference’s coaches. Nebraska’s Justine Wong-Orantes was tabbed the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year while Minnesota’s Samantha-Seliger Swenson was named Setter of the Year. Wisconsin’s Molly Haggerty earned Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors, while Nebraska head coach John Cook was named Big Ten Coach of the Year by the conference’s coaches and media contingent.
Wilhite, a unanimous All-Big Ten selection, finished second in the Big Ten in kills per set (4.13) during conference play. The Eden Prairie, Minn., native has registered 11 double-doubles. Wilhite is the fifth player in Minnesota history to be named Big Ten Player of the Year, and the second straight, after Daly Santana earned the honor last season.
Wong-Orantes earned unanimous All-Big Ten honors, and ranked second in the Big Ten in digs per set (4.22) during Big Ten play. She is the first Nebraska player to earn Defensive Player of the Year accolades and the first repeat honoree since Michigan State’s Kori Moster won the award in both 2012 and 2013.
Seliger-Swenson, also a unanimous All-Big Ten selection, averaged 11.09 assists per set during Big Ten play, while leading the Golden Gophers to a .287 team hitting percentage. In all matches, she currently ranks ninth nationally with a mark of 11.45 assists per frame. This is the first Setter of the Year award for a Minnesota student since the award’s inception in 2012.
Haggerty ranked seventh in the Big Ten with 3.19 kills per set during conference play. She is the fourth player in program history to win the award and the first Badger freshman to earn the honor since Lauren Carlini in 2013.
Cook earned top billing among the conference’s coaches and media for the second time, including his first 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 27-2 overall record, an 18-2 mark in Big Ten play and the outright Big Ten Championship. Under Cook’s tutelage, the Huskers earned the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. The awards mark Nebraska’s first Coach of the Year honors.
Eighteen Big Ten players were named All-Big Ten by the conference’s coaches, with 10 unanimous selections. Joining Seliger-Swenson, Wilhite and Wong-Orantes as unanimous honorees were Michigan’s Abby Cole, Nebraska’s Kadie Rolfzen, Ohio State’s Taylor Sandbothe, Penn State’s Simone Lee and Haleigh Washington, Purdue’s Danielle Cuttino and Wisconsin’s Lauren Carlini. Also on the All-Big Ten team were Illinois’ Ali Bastianelli and Jordyn Poulter, Michigan State’s Alyssa Garvelink, Minnesota’s Hannah Tapp, Nebraska’s Kelly Hunter and Amber Rolfzen and Wisconsin’s Haleigh Nelson and Tionna Williams.
Haggerty and Maryland’s Gia Milana were unanimous selections to the All-Freshman Team. Illinois’ Jacqueline Quade, Michigan’s MacKenzi Welsh, Minnesota’s Alexis Hart and Penn State’s Tori Gorrell and Kendall White 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.
Unanimous selections in CAPS
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
SETTER OF THE YEAR
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
COACH OF THE YEAR (COACHES AND MEDIA)
SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD HONOREES
ALL CAPS denotes unanimous selection