League-record 16 players named to AVCA all-region teams

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) announced its annual regional awards and a league-record 16 Pac-12 student-athletes were awarded all-region team honors, along with six additional players receiving honorable mention. In addition, Kyra Holt of WASHINGTON STATE and Ebony Nwanebu of USC earned regional Freshman of the Year awards. 

Ebony Nwanebu, an outside hitter from Fairview, Texas, was named the Pacific South region’s Freshman of the Year, marking the second-consecutive season that a USC player has earned the award. She earned Pac-12 Freshman of the Year accolades along with first-team All-Pac-12 recognition and a league-record six Freshman of the Week awards. In helping the Trojans reach the regional semifinals, Nwanebu holds a .339 hitting percentage which is 10th-best in the Pac-12 and makes her the only freshman ranked in the top 10 in that category. 

An outside hitter, Kyra Holt (Hercules, Calif.) led WSU this season with 3.89 kills per set and 4.53 points per set en route to earning Pacific North Region Freshman of the Year. She recorded 479 kills and 1,316 total attempts, which were fifth- and third-best in the Cougars’ single-season records, respectively. Holt had double-digit kills in 29 of Washington State’s 33 matches, as well as 12 matches with double-digit figures in both kills and digs. The freshman received All-Pac-12 honorable mention and All-Freshman team honors. 

USC and STANFORD led all Conference schools with four student-athletes being named to the all-region teams. The Trojans saw Nwanebu, Samantha Bricio, Natalie Hagglund and Alexis Olgard honored on the Pacific South all-region team. The Cardinal’s Inky Ajanaku, Madi Bugg, Kyle Gilbert and Carly Wopat all received Pacific North all-region honors. 

Six other schools had at least one student-athlete on their respective all-region squads, including three from WASHINGTON in Kaleigh Nelson, Jenna Orlandini and Krista Vansant. OREGON’s Liz Brenner and CALIFORNIA’s Christinia Higgins rounded out the Pacific North honorees. In the Pacific South, the remaining Pac-12 honorees include UTAH’s Shelby Dalton, ARIZONA’s Madi Kingdon and UCLA’s Karsta Lowe

Six more from the Pac-12 were honorable mention: Jordan Burgess of Stanford; Ariana Williams of Oregon; Joan Caloiaro of California; Taylor Simpson of COLORADO; Penina Snuka of Arizona; and Erin Redd-Brandon of Utah. 

Stanford, USC and Washington have all advanced to the NCAA regional semifinals which begin on Friday, Dec. 13. All the matches will be streamed on ESPN3.com. If Pac-12 teams advance, the regional finals are scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 14. All regional finals will be televised on ESPNU.

For more information on the AVCA and its awards, visit avca.org.