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LEXINGTON, Ky. – The standout Penn State junior duo of outside hitter Simone Lee and middle blocker Haleigh Washington were both named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-America First Team on Wednesday morning by the organization’s office.
With Lee and Washington’s selections, Penn State has now had 41 total players earn All-America honors, with 91 total selections across them. Lee and Washington’s plaudits also mark the 28th and 29th First Team selections. Additionally, Hall of Fame head coach Russ Rose has now placed at least one player on an All-America team in 37 of his 38 years coaching at Penn State.
Lee paced Penn State’s offense throughout the season, averaging 4.16 kills per set, good for second best in the Big Ten. The junior had a standout season on offense, posting 503 total kills, ranking third in single season kills during the 25-point rally scoring era. She also added 194 digs, 63 blocks and 17 service aces over the season. Lee led the team in matches with 20 or more kills, posting six over the course of the season. Lee was also named the ESPNW National Player of the Week on Oct. 12 following a 30-kill performance against then No. 1 Minnesota. Lee’s spot on the 2016 All-America first team marks her first such honor.
Washington continues to be one of the most consistent hitters in the college game, leading Penn State and the Big Ten while ranking third in the nation in hitting percentage with a red-hot .430 clip in 2016. The percentage is also the best among all players from Power Five institutions. Washington has led the team in blocks, posting 140 total while adding 291 total kills, good for second on the team. The Colorado Springs, Colorado native added 72 digs on the season and 24 service aces, good for second best on the team. Washington was named to the All-America first team for the second straight season after earning the distinction in 2015.
Joining Lee and Washington on the first team are Inky Ajanaku (Stanford), Amy Boswell (BYU), Lauren Carlini (Wisconsin), Ebony Nwanebu (Texas), Kelsie Payne (Kansas), Kathryn Plummer (Stanford), Kadie Rolfzen (Nebraska), Courtney Schwan (Washington), Samantha Seliger-Swenson (Minnesota), Micaya White (Texas), Sarah Wilhite (Minnesota) and Justine Wong-Orantes (Nebraska). No school placed more than two players on the All-America first team.
Penn State concluded it’s 2016 campaign with a 24-10 mark, advancing to the regional semifinals for the 28th time in program history. With the selection as a host seed, Penn State has now served as a first and second round site in each of the past 27 seasons. With the selection to the NCAA tournament Penn State, along with Stanford, is one of just two programs to make appearances in all 36 NCAA tournaments.
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