MANHATTAN, Kan. – After finishing fourth in the Big 12 Conference this season and being selected to their 13th NCAA Tournament, the Kansas State Wildcats had a pair of volleyball players recognized by the league’s coaches as members of the All-Big 12 Conference Team on Monday. Sophomores Kaitlynn Pelger and Lilla Porubek were voted to the team by the coaches with Pelger receiving first team status and Porubek being named honorable mention.
Pelger led the Wildcats throughout the season as she currently stands at 453 kills and ranks third in the conference in kills per set with an average of 4.12. She was first in the conference through much of the season and was one of the league’s top all-around players as she also ranks in the top 10 in aces, blocks and points. Pelger’s 453 kills are just 15 shy of cracking the top 10 list for a single season at K-State, and she will have an opportunity to make that move up the list during the NCAA Tournament. Last season, she was named to the Big 12 All-Freshman Team after posting the first triple-triple season by a freshman in school history. She accomplished the feat again this year as she has 297 digs and 112 blocks to go with her kills. Pelger also has 12 double-doubles on the season.
Porubek receives her first honorable mention award as she ranks seventh in the Big 12 in kills per set with 3.39. She closed the season strong with a career-high 26 kills against Kansas on Wednesday while also hitting .305 for the match. Porubek stepped up for the Wildcats while Pelger was limited with an injury for a few matches, and helped carry the team to victories over Texas A&M and No. 23 Oklahoma. She had her first career double-double in the win over Oklahoma when she played all six rotations for the first time and tallied 14 digs to go with 23 kills.
This marks the 15th time a Wildcat has been named All-Big 12 First Team under head coach Suzie Fritz and 23rd overall. Porubek is the 14th honorable mention in the Big 12 era and 10th with Fritz at the helm.
Texas was the most decorated team again this season as Jerritt Elliott was named Big 12 Coach of the Year. Bailey Webster received Player of the Year and her teammate Haley Eckerman was named Freshman of the Year. The two Longhorns were joined by Rachael Adams on the first team all as unanimous decisions, and the pair of Hannah Allison and Khat Bell was named honorable mention.
Iowa State continues to dominate the Libero of the Year with Kristen Hahn receiving the award. The Cyclones have now won the award four straight years and tie K-State for the most overall. Oklahoma’s Carlee Roethlisberger was named Newcomer of the Year, joining the Sooners this year as a fifth-year senior after exhausting her eligibility on the basketball team. Oklahoma’s Sallie McLaurin was named Defensive Player of the Year to give the Sooners two postseason awards.
A total of 15 players were named All-Big 12 First Team after tying in the voting occurred. Seven players were listed as honorable mention and six players were named to the All-Freshman Team.
The Wildcats will take on Wichita State at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Lincoln, Neb. This is the first tournament appearance for the Wildcats since 2008 and the first time they will face a team from the Missouri Valley Conference in the tournament.
The Big 12 has seven of its nine volleyball playing members in the NCAA Tournament to have the highest percentage of inclusion in the bracket. Only the Big Ten Conference has more teams in the tournament with eight. The Pac-12 also has seven teams in the tournament. Three of the Big 12 teams are among the top 16 seeds in the bracket and will host first and second round action on the home courts.
2011 ALL-BIG 12 VOLLEYBALL POSTSEASON AWARDS Coach of the Year: Jerritt Elliott, Texas Player of the Year: Bailey Webster, Texas, So., OH Defensive Player of the Year: Sallie McLaurin, Oklahoma, So. MB Libero of the Year: Kristen Hahn, Iowa State, So. Freshman of the Year: Haley Eckerman, Texas, OH Newcomer of the Year: Carlee Roethlisberger, Oklahoma, Sr., MB
^ Unanimous Selection % All-Big 12 First Team Member in 2010 **Ties in voting created a 15-member First Team and seven Honorable Mention members Coaches are not allowed to vote for their own student-athletes