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Nov. 29, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Five members of the No. 8 seed Penn State women's volleyball team (23-7, 16-4 Big Ten) picked up Big Ten postseason awards. Sophomore Katie Slay (Raleigh, N.C.) was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and freshman Micha Hancock (Edmond, Okla.) was named the league's Freshman of the Year.
Slay, as well as sophomores Deja McClendon (Louisville, Ky.) and Ariel Scott (Ridgewood, N.J.) were selected to the All-Big Ten First Team. Scott was a unanimous selection by the league coaches. In addition, Hancock was a unanimous selection to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team and redshirt-freshman Maggie Harding (State College, Pa.) was Penn State's Big Ten Sportsmanship honoree.
Slay picked up her first Big Ten postseason award after being named to the Preseason All-Big Ten list. A two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week, Slay led the team in blocks with 163 and finished third on the team in kills with 240 kills. Her 1.44 blocks per set leads the Big Ten and ranks 10th nationally. She also owns a .390 hitting percentage, which ranks second in the conference and 16th in the nation. Slay started all 30 matches this season and played in all 113 sets at middle hitter. She led the team in blocks 23 times. Slay is the second Penn State player to earn the award and the first since 2005 when current assistant coach Kaleena Davidson was selected.
Hancock has been the starting setter for the Nittany Lions in 29 matches this season. She totaled 1,161 assists, averaging 10.37 assists per set. Her assists per set average ranks sixth in the Big Ten. Hancock was also Penn State's top server. She broke the Penn State single season record for aces and currently has 87, which ranks seventh in the Big Ten single season records. Hancock also leads the league in aces per set with 0.78 and ranks second nationally. She led the team to a .262 hitting percentage for the season and her three primary hitters have hitting percentages of .253 or better. She ranks second on the team in digs with 254, averaging 2.26 digs per set, and has tallied 104 kills and 56 blocks. Hancock has also been named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week on three occasions this season. Hancock is Penn State's 10th Freshman of the Year honoree and the ninth in the past 10 seasons.
This is McClendon's second postseason conference award after she was a unanimous selection to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team and an All-Big Ten First Team honoree in 2010. McClendon was also a unanimous Preseason All-Big Ten pick prior to the season. McClendon started all 30 matches and 113 sets as an outside hitter in 2011. She leads the team with 406 kills, averaging 3.59 kills per set. McClendon's 3.59 kills per set ranks eighth in the Big Ten and her 4.00 points per set ranks 10th. She has led the team in kills in 16 matches and in digs twice. McClendon is third on the team in digs with 229 (2.03 digs per set) and tied for fourth on the team in blocks with 56. McClendon earned Big Ten Player of the Week honors on Nov. 14.
Scott garnered her first postseason award as a unanimous First Team All-Big Ten honoree. Scott has played in all 30 matches in 2011, starting 28. She ranks second on the team with 379 kills and is third on the team in blocks with 78. Scott's 3.48 kills per set ranks 10th in the Big Ten. She has led the team in kills on 13 occasions. Scott has also posted 136 digs and eight aces this season.
Penn State hosts the First and Second Rounds of the 2011 NCAA Women's Volleyball Tournament on Dec. 2-3. The Nittany Lions take on Liberty at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, while Delaware faces American in the earlier match at 5 p.m. The winners of both matches face each other on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in Rec Hall.
ALL SESSION tickets for the First and Second rounds MUST be purchased at the Bryce Jordan Center Ticket Office or by calling 1-800-NITTANY beginning on Monday, Nov. 28 at 10 a.m. up until Friday, Dec. 2 at Noon. All session tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for youth and students and $8 for groups (20 or more). SINGLE SESSION tickets WILL ONLY be available at Rec Hall on Friday and Saturday and are $8 for adults, $6 for youth and students and $5 for groups.
For more information on the Penn State women's volleyball team, please visit GoPSUsports.com. The Penn State women's volleyball 2011 season is presented by Rockvale Outlets.