Penn State Women¡¯s Volleyball Makes More History As Hodge Picks Up Player and Freshman of the Year; Fawcett and Harmotto Honored With First Team All-Big Ten
Sophomore outside hitter Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio) and sophomore middle hitter Christa Harmotto (Aliquippa, Pa.) join Hodge as First Team All-Big Ten selections while junior middle hitter Melissa Walbridge (Yardley, Pa.) was tabbed as honorable mention All-Big Ten. Head coach Russ Rose earned Big Ten Coach of the Year honors from the media and sophomore defensive specialist Joanie Guman (Allentown, Pa.) was selected as Penn State¡¯s Sportsmanship Award honoree.
Freshman setter Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) also joined Hodge as two of six players named to the Big Ten All-Freshman team.
Hodge is Penn State¡¯s second consecutive Big Ten Player of the Year and conference-record fifth straight Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Last season setter Sam Tortorello was honored with the Player of the Year accolades while on the list of Penn State newcomers honored, Hodge joins Fawcett (2005), junior Kate Price (Fraser, Mich./2004), senior Cassy Salyer (Aurora, Colo./2003) and Tortorello (2002), along with four-time All-American Bonnie Bremner, who picked up the award in 1996.
Rose picks up his eighth conference Coach of the Year accolade while the Lions¡¯ four All-Big Ten honors bring Penn State¡¯s total number of All-Big Ten selections to 64 since joining the league for the 1991 season. Glass and Hodge are the Lions¡¯ eighth and ninth members of the Big Ten All-Freshman team.
A unanimous First Team All-Big Ten selection, Hodge becomes just one of five Penn State freshman named to the top squad, joining Fawcett and Harmotto (2005) along with Bonnie Bremner and Lauren Cacciamani (1996). She leads the team and the conference with 4.80 kills per game and 5.55 points per game, including 5.34 kpg and 6.16 ppg in Big Ten-only matches. She ranks second on the Lion squad and seventh in the league with 0.36 service aces per game, including sitting second in the conference with 0.41 sapg in Big Ten-only matches. Named the Big Ten Player of the Week three times during the season, Hodge has recorded double-digit kills in 27 matches, tallying 15 or more kills in 17 contests and 20 or more kills in six outings. She has nine career double-doubles, including a career-best 20 digs versus Michigan. An all-around player, Hodge has posted at least one block in 28 matches, with 21 contests with two or more blocks. She has also recorded at least one ace in 19 matches.
Rose earns his eighth Big Ten Coach of the Year honor, also picking up the award in 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2003 and 2005. Holding a career record of 888-156 in his 28 seasons for a nation-leading winning percentage of .851, Rose guided the Nittany Lions to their 10th Big Ten title in 16 seasons since joining the Big Ten in 1991. He has led his teams to 26 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, one of only three schools to appear in every postseason event, while collecting his 18th conference title this season after winning eight straight Atlantic 10 titles from 1983-1990. He has coached at least one All-American in 26 of his 27 seasons, including 16 conference Players of the Year in the last 22 years. Off the court, his players have earned 96 Academic All-Big Ten honors in the last 15 years.
Fawcett earns her second All-Big Ten honor after also picking up the accolade last season. One of four unanimous selections to this year¡¯s squad, Fawcett ranks second on the Penn State squad and ninth in the Big Ten with 4.23 kills per game. She also sits fourth on the team and seventh in the Big Ten in hitting percentage (.330), the only pure left-side hitter in the conference within the top seven. In conference-only matches, Fawcett averaged 4.12 kills per game and 4.88 points per game. Only a sophomore, she is just 81 kills away from reaching 1,000 for her career and has led the team in kills in 12 matches this season. Named the Big Ten Player of the Week on Sept. 4, Fawcett has posted double-digit kills in 26 of 31 matches and has tallied at least two blocks in 21 matches along with a dig in every contests of the season. She recorded a career-high four service aces at Michigan and has at least one ace in 13 matches.
Harmotto also earns her second All-Big Ten honor after earning the award last year. Named a unanimous Preseason All-Big Ten selection and the Big Ten Player of the Week on Oct. 2, Harmotto leads the team and conference in hitting percentage (.405), a mark that also places her eighth on Penn State¡¯s single-season record list. She ranks third on the squad with 2.85 kills per game and ranks second on the team and third in the Big Ten with 1.53 blocks per game, including 1.56 bpg in conference-only contests, good for second. Harmotto has led the team in kills five times and topped the squad in blocks on 14 occasions. She has posted double-digit kills in 13 matches, including a career-high 17 kills at Minnesota, and has at least three blocks in 27 matches, with a career-best 13 versus Wisconsin.
Walbridge picks up her second All-Big Ten honor after also being honored last season. A Preseason All-Big Ten selection, she leads the team and ranks second in the Big Ten with 1.58 blocks per game, a mark that also places her 10th on Penn State¡¯s single-season blocks per game record list. Last weekend she became just the 10th player in Nittany Lion history to record more than 400 career blocks (405) and she has led the team in blocking in 17 matches of the year. Walbridge recorded a career-high 12 blocks in the five-game win at Texas and has at least two blocks in 30 of 31 matches, including 17 matches with five blocks or more. She also has at least four kills in 23 contests, including a season-high 14 at Minnesota, one shy of her career best. Earlier this year Walbridge was also honored as ESPN The Magazine second team Academic All-District for her 3.87 grade point average in Integrative Arts.
Glass was named the Big Ten Player of the Week and the Sports Imports/AVCA National Player of the Week on Sept. 11 after averaging 13.38 assists per game while leading the team to a .327 hitting percentage in wins over Missouri and Texas in September. She currently leads the team and ranks seventh in the Big Ten with 12.44 assists per game while also adding 1.14 kills per game on .259 hitting. She ranks fourth on the squad with 2.02 digs per game and also sits fourth with 18 service aces and third with 1.13 blocks per game. Glass has led the team in assists in all 31 matches after taking over for four-year setter and three-time All-American Sam Tortorello this season, also tallying four career double-doubles, including a career-best 17 digs at LSU. She has recorded at least one block in 29 contests, with five or more blocks 13 times.
The conference office also announced today 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¡¯ Kayani Turner, Indiana¡¯s Annie Moddrell, Iowa¡¯s Melanie Meister, Michigan¡¯s Erin Penn, Michigan State¡¯s Miken Trogdon, Minnesota¡¯s Meghan Cumpston, Northwestern¡¯s Lauren Greenwood, Ohio State¡¯s Briana McCarthy, Penn State¡¯s Joanie Guman, Purdue¡¯s Brittany Dildine 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.
Penn State opens up play in its 26th consecutive NCAA Tournament as the third-seed on Friday, Dec. 1 as it hosts Long Island in the first round at 7:30 p.m. at Rec Hall. The winner of that match will take on the winner of the 5:00 p.m. match between Cornell and Hofstra in the second round, to be held on Saturday, Dec. 2 at 7:00 p.m. at Rec Hall. The winner of that match advances to the NCAA Regional Semifinals, slated for Friday, Dec. 8 in Seattle, Wash.
Tickets for the NCAA First and Second Rounds are on sale now at the Bryce Jordan Center or by calling 814-865-5555 or 1-800-833-5533.
For more information on the Penn State women¡¯s volleyball team, please visit www.GoPSUsports.com.
A complete listing of the 2006 All-Big Ten Team and individual honors follows.
*2006 ALL-BIG TEN TEAM (Career)
2006 ALL-BIG TEN HONORABLE MENTION
2006 ALL-FRESHMAN TEAM
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
COACH OF THE YEAR (COACHES)
COACH OF THE YEAR (MEDIA)