Three Wildcats Named to All-Big 12 Conference Volleyball Team
Nov. 27, 2000
Dallas, Texas - Senior middle blocker Kelle Branting, junior outside hitter Liz Wegner and junior setter Disney Bronnenberg were among three players from the 22nd-ranked Kansas State women's volleyball team to be selected to the 21-member 2000 Coaches All-Big 12 Conference released by the conference office late Sunday evening.
Branting and Wegner were both selected to the 12-member first team by the league coaches, while Bronnenberg was one of six players named to the honorable mention team. Branting was selected to the All-Big 12 team for the first time of her career, while Bronnenberg and Wegner were a first team and an honorable mention selection for the Wildcats last season, respectively. Bronnenberg and Wegner were both named to 2000 Preseason Coaches All-Big 12 team.
The selections of Branting and Wegner marked the third consecutive year that the Wildcats have placed two players on the conference's first team, while Kansas State placed three players overall on the first and honorable mention teams for the third time in the last four seasons. Head coach Jim McLaughlin has now seen seven of his players named to the all-conference teams 11 times, including seven selections to the first team.
Sophomore setter Greichaly Cepero of top-ranked and undefeated Nebraska was chosen as the Big 12 Player of the Year, while Texas A&M sophomore outside hitter Tara Pulaski and Baylor freshman outside hitter Stevie Nicholas were named the league's Newcomer and Freshman of the Year, respectively. Junior Heather Hughes-Justice was chosen as the inaugural winner of the conference's Defensive Specialist of the Year. Missouri head coach Susan Kreklow was honored as the league's Coach of the Year after guiding the Tigers to a second place tie with Kansas State and Texas A&M.
A senior co-captain from North Platte, Neb., Kelle Branting currently ranks in the top five in 10 categories on the team, including the team lead in hitting percentage (.362), block solos (11), block assists (86) and total blocks (97). She also ranks among the best in the Big 12 Conference, placing in the top 20 in seven categories, including third in hitting percentage (.362), seventh in service aces (0.31 per game) and 15th in blocks (1.01 per game). Just the 11th Wildcats to eclipse the 1,000 career kills barrier, Branting recently became Kansas State's all-time kills leader by a middle blocker with her 1,134th career kill against Texas A&M on Nov. 25. She ranks among the school's top 10 in five career categories, including third in games played (433), hitting percentage (.298) and block assists (395), eighth in kills (1,146) and 10th in total attacks (2,478).
One of the nation's top hitters and the Big 12's second-best at 5.09 kills per game, Liz Wegner has led the team in kills in 20 of the Wildcats' 27 matches, including double-digit kills in 25 of those matches. In all, Wegner has totaled 12 double-doubles on the season and 20 or more kills on nine occasions. She was named the Big 12 Athlete of the Week on Nov. 21 after posting back-to-back double-doubles in three-game sweeps of conference foes Oklahoma and Colorado. A junior co-captain from Grand Island, Neb., Wegner ranks third all-time in school history in both career kills (1,410) and career total attacks (3,522), while she places second all-time in career 20-kill matches with 22. She has totaled the third-most kills in a single-season in school history this season with 514, just 12 kills from her second place total (526) of a year ago. In addition to ranking second in overall in kills in the Big 12, she also places second in conference-only kills with a 5.68 per game average and 11th in overall service aces with a 0.30 per game average. Wegner leads the team in four categories, including kills (514), kills per game (5.09), total attacks (1,181) and service aces (29), while she ranks third in digs (243) and total blocks (58).
A junior co-captain from Bloomington, Ind., Disney Bronnenberg has ranked among the best setters in the nation with a 14.93 assists per game average. Currently, she ranks second nationally and in the Big 12 with her 14.93 assists average. She has tallied 50 or more assists in 16 matches this season, despite the fact that Kansas State has played 19 of its 28 matches in three games. She leads the team with 14 double-doubles this season. In the five-game loss against top-ranked Nebraska on Saturday evening, Bronnenberg posted the second-most assists in a match in school history with 86 on the night. Currently, she ranks second in school history in career assists with 4,710 in her three-year career, just 410 behind career leader Devon Ryning, while she posts the top three positions in the school's single-season assists list. Earlier this season, she was named to the Washington State Cougar Challenge and Kansas State Wildcat Classic All-Tournament teams.
Kansas State received its fifth consecutive bid to the NCAA Tournament on Sunday, as the Wildcats will face Loyola (Chicago) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Malibu, Calif., on Friday, Dec. 1 beginning at 7 p.m. CST. The victor will play the winner of the Fairfield - Pepperdine match on Saturday at 9 p.m. CST.