Tennessee volleyball earns SEC accolades

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (School Release) -- The Southeastern Conference unveiled the 2011 Volleyball All-SEC Awards on Monday and the University of Tennessee was well represented, Sophomore Kelsey Robinson was tabbed SEC Player of the Year, setter Mary Pollmiller earned SEC Freshman of the Year and head coach Rob Patrick picked up SEC Coach of the Year honors.

Robinson became the first Lady Vol ever to be selected as the conference's Player of the Year. On the season she ranked first in the league in kills per set (4.57) and points per set (5.19), while her average of 0.37 aces per set in SEC play rated second. Nationally, her points per set average of 5.17 ranks 10th in the country, and she is one of only three SEC players to be tabbed the American Volleyball Coaches Association National Player of the Week this season.

Robinson also tallied a conference-best 21 double-doubles on the year, tallying double digits in kills and digs in four of the five final conference matches. She was also named SEC Player of the Week five times, which was the most for a player this season.

Named a team captain, the first team All-SEC choice and Bartlett, Ill., product has started in all 30 matches for the Big Orange this season.

Ranking as the top setter in the conference, Pollmiller was selected as the Freshman of the Year after leading the league with 12.35 assists per set (counting league matches only) and ranks sixth nationally with a season average of 12.05 assists per set.

Tabbed Freshman of the Week five times, a conference-best, Pollmiller becomes the first Lady Vol since Nikki Fowler (2007) to win the award. This year, the Littleton, Colo., native paced the Orange and White offense to a .280 hitting percentage, which ranks second in the SEC, while UT's season average of .278 ranks ninth nationally.

Also named second team All-SEC and to the All-Freshman Team, Pollmiller accounted for 89 percent of UT's assists on the year. Her 69 helpers against Ole Miss on Nov. 11, marked the second best by any SEC player this season and the most by anyone in a conference match. She also has seven double-doubles in 2011.

For the third time in his coaching career, Patrick claimed SEC Coach of the Year after guiding a young Lady Vol team to an overall record of 27-3, as UT won its first outright conference championship after finishing the year 19-1 in league play.

Despite being without the services of Kayla Jeter, who was named preseason All-SEC, Tennessee's 19 SEC regular-season wins are a school record. The Lady Vols started three freshmen and two sophomores in almost every match and have not been swept.

Two of three losses on the year have come against ranked teams, while UT has had two of its longest winning streaks at 11- and 12-straight victories. This was also the fourth consecutive 20-plus win season for Patrick and the ninth of his career.

Joining Robinson on the All-SEC First Team were juniors DeeDee Harrison and Leslie Cikra.

Harrison ranks atop the conference in blocks per set, averaging a league best 1.31 blocks per set in SEC matches. She also ranks first on Tennessee and fifth in the SEC in hitting percentage, as she hit at .364 clip in league matches.

Named the conference's Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 26, the Nashville, Tenn., product has started as UT's middle blocker in every match this season. Her best performance of the year came at Alabama, as she hit .733, which was the second-highest hitting percentage of any SEC player this season.

In league play, Cikra recorded a hitting percentage of .312, good for seventh in the conference and tops among players who were non-middles. She also got it done defensively, averaging 0.75 blocks per set.

During the SEC slate, the Chagrin Falls, Ohio, native hit .400 or better in seven matches, while tallying double digits in kills 12 times. She also ranked second on the team in kills per set on the year, averaging 2.81.

Tiffany Baker was named second team All-SEC and to the All-Freshman Team. Against the league, Baker hit .296, which was third best for the Lady Vols. As an outside hitter, she averaged 0.69 blocks per set and ranked second on the team in solo blocks.

The Carrolton, Texas, product also registered five double-doubles, four of which came against the league. She was selected as the SEC Offensive Player of the Week on Oct. 31, and a day later was tabbed CVU.com's National Player of the Week. On the year, she hit .300 or better in eight SEC matches.

Tennessee will host Duke (21-8) at 7 p.m. on Thursday in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament at Thompson-Boling Arena after Ohio State (19-14) takes on Middle Tennessee State (21-11) at 4:30 p.m. The winner of both contests will move on to a second-round showdown on Friday.

Player of the Year: Kelsey Robinson, Tennessee
Libero of the Year: Stephanie Klefot, Kentucky
Freshman of the Year: Mary Pollmiller, Tennessee
Co-Scholar-Athletes of the Year: Ann Armes, Kentucky; Kristy Jaeckel, Florida
Coach of the Year: Rob Patrick, Tennessee

First Team All-SEC
Leslie Cikra, Tennessee
DeeDee Harrison, Tennessee
Kelsey Robinson, Tennessee
Jasmine Norton, Arkansas
Kristy Jaeckel, Florida
Kelly Murphy, Florida
Whitney Billings, Kentucky
Christine Hartmann, Kentucky
Stephanie Klefot, Kentucky

Second Team All-SEC
Tiffany Baker, Tennessee
Mary Pollmiller, Tennessee
Kelli Stipanovich, Arkansas
Tangerine Wiggs, Florida
Desiree Elliott, LSU
Madie Jones, LSU
Meghan Mannari, LSU
Ashley Frazier, Kentucky
Regina Thomas, Ole Miss
Caitlin Rance, Mississippi State

All-Freshmen Team
Tiffany Baker, Tennessee
Mary Pollmiller, Tennessee
Taylor Unroe, Florida
Lauren O'Conner, Kentucky
Helen Boyle, LSU
Malorie Pardo, LSU
Lainey Wyman, Mississippi State


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