Five Nittany Lions Earn AVCA All-Mideast Region Laurels
Dec. 9, 2009
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 1 Penn State women's volleyball team (34-0) collected four First Team All-Mideast Region honors, the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) announced today. Sophomore Blair Brown (Purcellville, Va.), senior Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.), senior Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.) and junior Arielle Wilson (Broadview, Ill.) were four of 14 players named to the all-region squad. In addition, freshman Darcy Dorton (Muncie, Ind.) was selected the Mideast Region Freshman of the Year and received All-Mideast Region Honorable Mention accolades and head coach Russ Rose was selected the Mideast Region Coach of the Year.
The Nittany Lions' five all-region honors brings Penn State's total number of honorees to 66 in program history. The four first team selections are now eligible for AVCA All-America honors, which will be announced in conjunction with the NCAA Championship in Tampa, Fla. on Dec. 17 & 19.
The honor is the fourth of Hodge's career, the third for Glass and it is the second for both Brown and Wilson. Dorton is Penn State's fourth AVCA Region Freshman of the Year and the second on this year's squad, as Hodge earned the honor in 2006. This is coach Rose's seventh Mideast Region Coach of the Year honor and the third straight, as he was also selected in 2007 and 2008.
Glass, a unanimous pick for First Team All-Big Ten, earned a spot on the first team for the third straight season. She has guided Penn State to a nation-leading .393 attack percentage in 2009 and is averaging a conference-best 11.94 assists per set, good enough for sixth in the nation. Four of her primary hitters are attacking at .353 or better with Wilson leading the nation with a .561 attack percentage. Her 1,278 assists so far this season has moved her into fourth place on Penn State's all-time career assists list with 5,625. The senior ranks third on the team with 246 digs averaging 2.30 digs per set. A two-time AVCA All-American, Glass has at least one dig in every match this year, including nine double-digit digs matches with a season-high 14 against Wisconsin. She also has 95 kills on .456 hitting with 93 total blocks.
Wilson, a two-time First Team All-Big Ten honoree, was a three-time Big Ten Player of the Week this season. She leads the nation with a .561 hitting percentage and has at least five kills in 32 of Penn State's 34 matches this season with double-digit kills in 14. The junior ranks second on the team with 303 kills (2.83 kills per set) and leads the squad with 169 total blocks. Her 1.58 blocks per set is a team-best and ranks second in the Big Ten. An AVCA Second Team All-American in 2008, Wilson hit a career-high and Penn State rally-scoring era record .929 with 13 kills on 14 errorless swings in a three-set victory against Saint Francis (Pa.) earlier this season. Last week, she guided Penn State to a 3-0 sweep of Penn in the second round of the NCAA Tournament with 13 kills and nine total blocks.
Brown, who led the team with 14 digs against Penn on Dec. 5, was a unanimous First Team All-Big Ten selection this season. The junior is third on the team with 300 kills, but her 2.94 kills per set ranks second on the squad. Brown's 26 aces are good enough for second on the team, while her 93 total blocks puts her at third among her teammates. She's averaging 1.46 digs per set heading into the match with Florida this weekend. Brown was selected Co-Big Ten Player of the Week on Nov. 16 for her first career weekly honor. She tied her career high with 17 kills against then No. 5 Illinois while attacking at a .538 clip. She followed that performance with nine kills on a team-best .500 attack percentage the following night against Northwestern. A 2008 AVCA Second Team All-American, Brown's .353 hitting percentage ranks fifth in the Big Ten.
Hodge, the 2009 Big Ten Player of the Year, became just the fifth league player to garner the honor more than once. In 2006, Hodge became the first Big Ten player to be named Freshman of the Year and Player of the Year in the same season. Hodge is just the sixth Nittany Lion to be named AVCA All-Region four times, following in the footsteps of Nicole Fawcett (2005-08), Christa Harmotto (2005-08), Sam Tortorello (2002-05), Lauren Cacciamani (1996-99) and Bonnie Bremner (1996-99). Hodge has a team-best 493 kills and leads the squad and the Big Ten averaging 4.70 kills per set, good enough for eighth in the nation. The senior also ranks third in the league with a .399 hitting percentage.
Dorton became Penn State's eighth Big Ten Freshman of the Year in program history and is the third Freshman of the Year on this year's squad, as Hodge earned the honor in 2006 and Wilson in 2007. She is also Penn State's fourth AVCA Region Freshman of the Year, joining Hodge (2006), Nicole Fawcett (2005) and Cassy Salyer (2003). A five-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week, Dorton is fourth on the team with 242 kills and 2.40 kills per set. She has also totaled 45 digs and 60 total blocks heading into NCAA Regional play.
The Nittany Lions take on No. 14 Florida on Friday, Dec. 11 at 6 p.m. in the Gainesville Regional of the 2009 NCAA Tournament. Live stats and live audio will be available via a link at GoPSUsports.com. The match will also be broadcast on Newsradio 103, WRMC-FM (103.1).
For more information on the Penn State women's volleyball team, please visit www.GoPSUsports.com. The Penn State women's volleyball 2009 season is presented by Rockvale Outlets and The Outlets At Hershey.