Special to The Sun
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. —
The Penn State women’s volleyball team earned six AVCA DI Northeast Regional honors, as selected by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) this month. Seniors Deja McClendon (Louisville, Ky.), Ariel Scott (Ridgewood, N.J), Katie Slay (Raleigh, N.C.) and juniors Nia Grant (Warren, Ohio) and Micha Hancock (Edmond Memorial High School) joined nine other student-athletes on the 14-member All-Northeast Region squad, while head coach Russ Rose picked up the Northeast Region Coach of the Year award.
The five all-region team awards brings Penn State’s total number of honorees to 81 in program history. McClendon is the only student-athlete on the 14-member Northeast Regional squad to garner all-region honors in all four years. Slay and Scott are the only two on the team to earn three consecutive accolades, while Hancock earned her second straight. The regional coach of the year honor is the second consecutive nod for Rose, who also earned the award in 2012. In 35 years at the helm of the program, he’s picked up six total regional coach of the year selections.
Hancock earned her third consecutive Big Ten postseason honor last week, picking up her second consecutive Big Ten Setter of the Week award. The 2011 Big Ten Freshman of the Year won the inaugural Big Ten Setter of the Year laurel in 2012. She’s also earned a spot on either the All-Big Ten team or the Big Ten All-Freshman squad each year. The five-time Big Ten Setter of the Week in 2013 is the only recipient of the Big Ten’s Setter of the Year award, having claimed the title in the last two years. Hancock has guided the Nittany Lion offense to a .314 hitting percentage in 2013, which ranks fourth in the nation and leads the Big Ten. She’s paced two top attackers to .385 or better hitting on the year, dishing out 11.11 assists per set. Earlier this season, she set a new program record with her 237th career ace. Hancock leads the team with 72 aces on the year and her 0.65 aces per frame ranks second in the country and first in the league.
Slay also picked up her third consecutive postseason honor last week after being selected unanimously to the 2013 All-Big Ten team. The 2011 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year was also a member of the 2012 All-Big Ten team. The two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week also picked up one Big Ten Player of the Week accolade in 2013. She’s amassed 235 kills on the year, posting a team-best .404 hitting percentage, which ranks second in the Big Ten and 22nd nationally. Slay is at the helm of the Nittany Lion blocking unit with 182 total blocks on the year. Her 1.64 blocks per frame leads the conference and ranks third among all individuals in the nation. Earlier this season, Slay reached the 500 career blocks mark and has totaled 602 blocks in her career, which is good for sixth on the Penn State all-time list.
Scott garnered her third consecutive Big Ten postseason nod last week, earning a unanimous spot on the 2013 All-Big Ten team. She also earned the Big Ten Player of the Year honor in 2012 and a spot on the All-Big Ten team in 2011. A finalist for the Senior CLASS Award, Scott ranks second on the team with 315 kills on the year, averaging a squad-best 3.18 kills per frame. The 2012 AVCA First Team All-American posted double-digit kills in 16 matches this season, while leading the team in the categories 13 times throughout the season. Totaling 24 multi-block performances, she closed out the regular-season ranked second on the team in blocks, averaging 0.88 per set. In 2012 she reached the 1,000 career kills milestone. Since then, she’s added 345 more kills for a career total of 1,345, which ranks 14th in program history.
McClendon recorded her fourth Big Ten postseason award last week. She has previously been selected as the 2010 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, having registered two consecutive All-Big Ten accolades from 2011-12. She’s started all 32 matches at outside hitter this season and leads the team in kills with 321 on the year. McClendon also ranks second on the team in digs with 316 in 2013, averaging 2.87 per set. She's led the team in kills 11 times this season, while posting nine double-doubles. Earlier this year, she notched her 1,000th career dig to eclipse the 1,000 career kills/1,000 career digs mark. With 1,574 kills and 1,129 digs, she is the first Nittany Lion to reach the mark since Megan Hodge in 2009 and the fifth in program history. She recently hit the 1,500 career kills mark after tallying 11 kills at Minnesota. Her 1,574 career kills ranks seventh in the Penn State record book and 13th on the NCAA active all-time list.
Grant’s selection to the All-Northeast Region team marks the first postseason honor for the junior. The Warren, Ohio native has established herself as a key offensive weapon for the Nittany Lions, as she’s ranked second on the team with a .388 hitting percentage and fifth on the squad averaging 1.85 kills per set. Her hitting efficiency ranks 30th nationally and fifth in the Big Ten conference.
Rose has guided the 2013 team to a 30-2 overall record, including a 19-1 mark in the Big Ten. After leading the team to its 16th conference title in program history, he garnered 2013 Big Ten Coach of the Year honors. After earning win number 1,100 against Yale earlier this season, Rose moved into sole possession of second place on the NCAA DI wins list with victory number 1,107 at Northwestern. With the triumph, he passed former UCLA head coach Andy Banachowski, who previously owned the record. With 1,121 wins, Rose is presently seven wins shy of tying current Hawaii head coach Dave Shoji for first on the all-time list with 1,128.
To view the complete list of the all the AVCA DI All-Region honors, visit www.avca.org.