Hannah Werth became the fifth Husker to win Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Huskers Rack Up Big 12 Honors

By NU Athletic Communications

Lincoln - After earning its 12th Big 12 title on Saturday with a win over Texas A&M, the Nebraska volleyball team earned several individual honors on Monday as the 2010 All-Big 12 teams and player-of-the-year awards were announced. Sophomore Hannah Werth was tabbed as the Defensive Player of the Year, while Lauren Cook was picked as Newcomer of the Year and Head Coach John Cook was named Co-Head Coach of the Year along with Texas' Jerritt Elliott.

Werth was also one of three Huskers picked to the All-Big 12 first team, as she was joined by senior right side hitter Lindsey Licht and junior middle blocker Brooke Delano, who was a unanimous selection by the Big 12 coaches. Senior Kayla Banwarth was an honorable-mention selection for the second straight year, while freshman Morgan Broekhuis was a unanimous selection to the All-Big 12 Freshman team.

After earning honorable-mention honors last season with 3.18 kills and 3.00 digs per set as a freshman, Werth continued to work on her skills and improved her digs to 3.11 per set to go along with 0.60 blocks this season in Big 12 play while still putting away 2.96 kills per set. Werth leads the Huskers with nine double-doubles, including six during the conference season. She is the fourth Husker to earn Defensive Player of Year honors, joining Jordan Larson (2008, 2006) Christina Houghtelling (2006) and Jennifer Saleaumua (2004-05).

Cook has been a key to the Husker offense this season in its 6-2 rotation after transferring from UCLA where she was the 2009 AVCA National Freshman of the Year. While splitting time with two-time All-American Sydney Anderson, Cook has led the Huskers with 6.27 assists per set, and has been even better in Big 12 play with 6.37 per set. The sophomore has also been the Huskers best server with 26 aces on the season, with 18 coming in conference matches. The Huskers are first in the Big 12 in assists (14.16), kills (15.15) and rank second in hitting percentage (.284). Cook is the eighth Husker to earn Newcomer of the Year accolades.

Coming off All-America honors as a sophomore in 2009, Delano has been even better for the Huskers this season at middle blocker. She ranks eighth nationally in hitting percentage at .418 and is seventh in the country in blocks with 1.45 per set. Delano is looking to become just the fourth attacker in NU history to end the season with a hitting percentage over .400.

Licht is having the best year of her career as a senior with career highs in kills (2.94), blocks (1.06) and hitting percentage (.300). Prior to 2010 Licht had never hit above .300 or averaged one block per set. She has raised her game during the conference schedule with 3.03 kills and 1.08 blocks per set. Licht set a career best with 18 kills against Florida this season and has tied her career best in blocks twice with eight against both Oklahoma and Texas A&M.

Banwarth anchored the Husker defense once again in 2010 and put her stamp on the record books this season as she set the NU career record for digs with the 1,569th dig of her career at Baylor. Even though teams tried to stay away from her, Banwarth still put up a team-best 4.89 digs per set on the year. She was held to single-digit digs just twice this season and topped the 20-dig plateau seven times.

Broekhuis continued to grow all season for the Huskers after becoming the sixth true freshman to start a season opener under John Cook. She has been one of the Huskers' most dangerous attackers down the stretch, as she is averaging 2.58 kills on .363 hitting over her last eight matches, while also putting up 0.46 stuffs.

Cook led his squad to a 27-2 overall record during the regular season, including a 19-1 mark during the Big 12 slate and the No. 2 overall seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament. After winning NU's 31st conference title and its 12th in the Big 12 era, Cook was honored as the league's top coach for the fourth time in his career. Nebraska leads the Big 12 in opponent hitting (.146), assists (14.16), kills (15.15) and blocks (2.99) this season.

The Huskers open the NCAA Tournament on Thursday, Dec. 2, when they face Sacred Heart at the NU Coliseum. The match is set to start at 7 p.m., or 30 minutes after the 4:30 p.m. match between Auburn and Missouri State. The first-round winners will then meet on Friday, Dec. 3 at 7 p.m.

Player of the Year Pos. Cl. Ht. Hometown/Previous School
Juliann Faucette, Texas OH Sr. 6-2 San Diego, Calif./Westview
Newcomer of the Year        
Lauren Cook, Nebraska  So.  5-8  Lincoln, Neb./UCLA^
Freshman of the Year        
Sallie McLaurin, Oklahoma  MB Fr.  6-2 Midwest City, Okla./Carl Albert
Defensive Player of the Year        
Hannah Werth, Nebraska OH So. 6-1 Springfield, Ill./Glenwood
Libero of the Year        
Ashley Mass, Iowa State  DS/L Sr.  5-8 Mskego, Wis./Muskego
Co-Coaches of the Year        
John Cook (Nebraska) and Jerritt Elliott (Texas)
Elizabeth Graham, Baylor MB Sr. 6-2 Leander, Texas/Texas
Victoria Henson, Iowa State^ OH Sr. 5-11 Leavenworth, Kan./Leavenworth
Ashley Mass, Iowa State DS/L Sr. 5-8 Muskego, Wis./Muskego
Jamie Straube, Iowa State MB So. 6-2 Tecumseh, Neb./Johson County Central
Paola Ampudia, Missouri^ OH/RS Sr. 6-1 Cali, Columbia/Miami Dade College
Brooke Delano, Nebraska^ MB Jr. 6-4 Bellevue, Neb./West
Lindsey Licht, Nebraska RS Sr. 6-5 Aurora, Colo./Grandview
Hannah Werth, Nebraska OH So. 6-1 Springfield, Ill./Glenwood
Brianne Barker, Oklahoma S Jr. 5-9 Amarillo, Texas/Amarillo
Suzy Boulavksy, Oklahoma^ RS/OH Jr. 6-1 Houston, Texas/Clear Brook
Rachael Adams, Texas^ MB Jr. 6-2 Cincinnati, Ohio/Mount Notre Dame
Juliann Faucette^ OH Sr. 6-2 San Diego, Calif./Westview
Kelsey Black, Texas A&M OH Jr. 5-11 Amarillo, Texas/Amarillo
Amanda Dowdy, Texas Tech MB/OH Jr. 6-3 Lexington, Texas/Lexington
Name, School Pos. Cl. Ht. Hometown/Previous School
Karina Garlington, Kansas OH Sr. 6-0 Denver, Colo./Grandview
Molly Kreklow, Missouri S Fr. 6-0 Delano, Minn./Delano
Kayla Banwarth, Nebraska L Sr. 5-11 Dubuque, Iowa/Wahlert Catholic
Jennifer Doris, Texas MB Sr. 6-5 Houston, Texas/Cypress Falls
Amber Roberson, Texas MB Jr. 6-2 San Antonio, Texas/Wagner
Allie Sawatzky, Texas A&M S Fr. 6-2 St. Andrews, Manitoba, Canada/Lord Selkirk
 Name, School Pos. Ht.  Hometown/Previous School 
 Kaitlynn Pelger, Kansas State MB    6-2  Overland Park, Kan./Olathe South 
 Lisa Henning, Missouri OH   6-0  Blue Springs, Mo./Blue Springs
 Molly Kreklow, Missouri^   6-0 Delano, Minn./Delano
 Morgan Broekhuis, Nebraska^ RS   6-5 Colorado Springs, Colo./Christian
 Sallie McLaurin, Oklahoma^ MB    6-2 Midwest City, Okla./Carl Albert
 Allie Sawatzky, Texas A&M   6-2 St. Andrews, Manitoba, Canada/Lord Selkirk

^ - Unanimous Selection


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