Two former suburban volleyball stars made the All-Big Ten First Team for women's volleyball this season, conference officials announced Tuesday.
Michigan State junior Lauren Wicinski (Geneva High School) was a unanimous selection, and former Burlington Central star Stephanie Holtus of Northwestern also made the All-Big Ten First Team.
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Penn State's Ariel Scott was named the Big Ten Player of the Year by a vote of the conference's coaches, while teammates Micha Hancock and Megan Courtney were named Big Ten Setter of the Year and Freshman of the Year, respectively. Michigan's State's Kori Moster earned Defensive Player of the Year honors, and Penn State's Russ Rose was tabbed Coach of the Year by Big Ten coaches and media.
Scott led the top-ranked Nittany Lions in kills (3.68) and points (4.10) per set through the conference season, helping Penn State to the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Championship. The Nittany Lion junior also hit at a .327 clip on 614 total attempts. Scott becomes the seventh Penn State player to win the award in the last eight years.
Wicinski was named to the All-Big Ten team in her first season in the conference after transferring from Northern Illinois and led the team in kills, aces and points this season. The Geneva native broke MSU's single season record in service aces with 77 this season. The previous record of 75 had stood since 1983. Wicinski ranks third in the NCAA and first in the Big Ten in aces with 0.66 per set. She is also second in the Big Ten and 21st in the NCAA with 4.39 kills per set and was seventh in the NCAA and first in the Big Ten with 5.31 points per set.
"Lauren was in the race for player of the year," MSU head coach Kathy George said. "We've seen day in and day out why she belongs on the first team All-Big Ten. She was able to bring it from the Mid-American Conference and still sustain that high level of play is exciting for her and for us. We're real pleased for Lauren; she has done a great job and is very deserving of this honor."
This marks the second season in a row that Northwestern's Holthus has been included on the elite squad.
Holthus recorded 10 performances of at least 20 kills throughout the season and added 20 matches with at least 10 digs. Holthus shouldered the load offensively for the Wildcats this season as she connected on a team-high 487 kills, which marked the fifth-best output in single-season for Northwestern. The junior's single-season average of 4.27 kills per set ranks tied for third on NU's all-time list. Holthus finished the regular season ranked third in the Big Ten with 4.27 kills per set and fourth with 4.72 points per set.
The Burlington native achieved a pair of significant milestones during the 2012 campaign. Holthus collected the 1,000th kill of her career during the opening weekend of Big Ten play against the Minnesota Golden Gophers, becoming the 20th player in Northwestern history to accomplish the feat. Through the course of the season Holthus rose steadily on NU's all-time list and concluded the season in 10th place with 1,294 kills. The outside hitter was tabbed as the MVP in all four of Northwestern's nonconference tournaments as she helped the squad to the best start in program history at 11-0.
Here is a complete list of All-Big Ten honorees, individual award winners and Sportsmanship Award Honorees:
Unanimous selections in CAPS
Liz McMahon, So., OPP, Illinois
Jennifer Cross, Jr., MB, Michigan
Lexi Erwin, Jr., OH, Michigan
LAUREN WICINSKI, JR., OH, Michigan State
TORI DIXON, JR., MB, Minnesota
KATHERINE HARMS, SR., OPP, Minnesota
Lauren Cook, Sr., S, Nebraska
GINA MANCUSO, SR., OH, Nebraska
Hannah Werth, Sr., OH, Nebraska
Stephanie Holthus, Jr., OH, Northwestern
MARI HOLE, SR., OH, Ohio State
DEJA McCLENDON, JR., OH, Penn State
Micha Hancock, So., S, Penn State
Katie Slay, Jr., MH, Penn State
ARIEL SCOTT, Jr., OH, Penn State
ARIEL TURNER, Sr., OH, Purdue
Jocelynn Birks, Fr., OH, Illinois
Jordan Haverly, Jr., OH, Indiana
Kori Moster, So., LIB, Michigan State
Ashley Wittman, Jr., OH, Minnesota
Emily Danks, Sr., RS, Ohio State
Kaitlyn Leary, Jr., OH, Ohio State
Carly Cramer, Jr., LIB, Purdue
JOCELYNN BIRKS, OH, Illinois
TIFFANY MORALES, LIB, Michigan
Halle Peterson, S, Michigan State
DALY SANTANA, OH, Minnesota
MEGHAN HAGGERTY, MB, Nebraska
MEGAN COURTNEY, OH, Penn State
Annie Drews, OPP, Purdue
SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD HONOREES
Jessica Jendryk, Illinois
Samantha Thrower, IND
Allison Straumann, Iowa
Claire McElheny, Michigan
Kristen Kelsay, Michigan State
Mia Tabberson, Minnesota
Allison McNeal, Nebraska
Madalyn Shalter, Northwestern
Alyssa Winner, Ohio State
Kristen Carpenter, Penn State
Rachel Davis, Purdue
Julie Mikaelsen, Wisconsin