Three Nebraska volleyball players — Lauren Stivrins, Lexi Sun and Nicklin Hames — have been acknowledged as three of the best players in the Big Ten.
Each of them earned first-team all-Big Ten honors. The teams were picked by a vote of the 14 league coaches and announced Thursday, about five days before the NCAA Tournament begins.
Stivrins, Sun and Hames each are repeat selections for the first team. The first team included 22 players this season, which is four more than last season.
Seven of the 22 were unanimous picks, including Stivrins and Sun. The others were Minnesota’s Stephanie Samedy and Regan Pittman; Wisconsin’s Sydney Hilley and Dana Rettke; and Ohio State’s Emily Londot.
For the past three seasons, Stivrins has been a no-doubter for the league awards, earning a unanimous selection to the team all three years. Since Nebraska joined the Big Ten, only Kadie Rolfzen and Stivrins have been first-teamers three times.
Stivrins’ .471 hitting percentage ranks No. 1 in the Big Ten and fourth nationally. She’s on pace for one of the best hitting percentages in program history.
During the third match of the season, Stivrins showed her dominance when she had 18 kills on 20 attempts against Maryland, and she’s just kept going. The middle blocker from Scottsdale, Arizona, hit .400 or better in 13 of 16 matches.
Sun leads the Huskers with 214 kills. And she’s one of the best all-around players in the league, ranking fourth in points per set (4.53). She has 120 digs, 39 blocks and 19 ace serves.
Hames led the Big Ten and ranks 17th nationally in assists per set with 10.93 per set. In her third season as a starter, Hames has improved her setting to Nebraska’s middle blockers, Kayla Caffey and Stivrins, which helped Nebraska have the No. 2 offense in the league. Hames is also one of the Huskers’ best servers and ranks second on the team in digs with 162.
Samedy was chosen as the Big Ten player of the year, unseating Rettke, who won the award last season.
Wisconsin’s Hilley repeated as the setter of the year. Londot, the Ohio State right-side hitter, is the freshman of the year.
The coach of the year is Ohio State’s Jen Flynn Oldenburg. She took over a program that fired its coach last season after having a losing record. But in her first year, Flynn Oldenburg led her alma mater to a fourth-place finish in the league and an NCAA bid.
Wisconsin, the undefeated Big Ten champion, had each of its starters chosen, with four players on the first team and three on the second team.
Senior defensive specialist Hayley Densberger was Nebraska’s sportsmanship award honoree.
FIRST TEAM ALL-BIG TEN
(* Unanimous selection)
Taylor Kuper, jr., L, Illinois
Courtney Buzzerio, jr., S/RS, Iowa
Erika Pritchard, sr., OH, Maryland
Taylor Landfair, fr., OH, Minnesota
Regan Pittman, sr., MB, Minnesota*
Stephanie Samedy, sr., OPP, Minnesota*
Nicklin Hames, jr., S, Nebraska
Lauren Stivrins, sr., MB, Nebraska*
Lexi Sun, sr., OH, Nebraska*
Temi Thomas Ailara, so., OPP, Northwestern
Emily Londot, fr., RS, Ohio State*
Mac Podraza, so., S, Ohio State
Kaitlyn Hord, jr., MH, Penn State
Hayley Bush, jr., S, Purdue
Grace Cleveland, jr., OH, Purdue
Caitlyn Newton, sr., OH, Purdue
Jena Otec, sr., L, Purdue
Inna Balyko, jr., S, Rutgers
Sydney Hille, sr., S, Wisconsin*
Grace Loberg, sr., OH, Wisconsin
Dana Rettke, sr., MB, Wisconsin*
Devyn Robinson, fr., RS, Wisconsin
SECOND TEAM ALL-BIG TEN
Megan Cooney, sr., OH, Illinois
Adanna Rollins, jr., OH, Minnesota
Vanja Bukilic, jr., OH, Ohio State
Kylie Murr, so., L, Ohio State
Rylee Rader, fr., MB, Ohio State
Gabby Blossom, jr., S, Penn State
Jonni Parker, jr., RS, Penn State
Lauren Barnes, sr., L, Wisconsin
Molly Haggerty, sr., OH, Wisconsin
Danielle Hart, sr., MB, Wisconsin
Jess Mruzik, OH, Michigan
Taylor Landfair, OH, Minnesota
Melani Shaffmaster, S, Minnesota
Emily Londot, RS, Ohio State
Rylee Rader, MB, Ohio State
Taylor Trammell, MB, Purdue
Devyn Robinson, RS, Wisconsin
Player of the year: Stephanie Samedy, Minnesota.
Defensive player of the year: Jena Otec, Purdue.
Setter of the year: Sydney Hilley, Wisconsin.
Freshman of the year: Emily Londot, Ohio State.
Coach of the year: Jen Flynn Oldenburg, Ohio State.