Fourteen Pac-12 volleyball players earn AVCA All-America honors

Washington Athletics

SAN FRANCISCO - Pac-12 volleyball landed an astounding 14 players on American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-America teams, the association announced today. It was the most All-America honors for any conference in the country. 

The 14 student-athletes are the most All-America selections for the Pac-12 since 2006, when 17 players were honored by the AVCA. It is the 13th-consecutive year that the Pac-12 has had eight or more student-athletes on AVCA All-America teams, and the fourth-straight year that there have been at least four Pac-12 student-athletes on the first team. 

The Pac-12 placed six players on the first team, including WASHINGTON senior outside hitter Krista Vansant, who is one of just three players on the AVCA teams to have taken home AVCA All-America honors three or more times. STANFORD had a program-record six players recognized, with three on the first team in Inky Ajanaku, Madi Bugg, and Jordan Burgess. UCLA’s Karsta Lowe and COLORADO’s Taylor Simpson were also named to the first team. Simpson is the first-ever Buffalo to be named to the first team. 

Second-team selections from the Pac-12 were USC’s Samantha Bricio, who was also a second-team honoree in 2013, and Stanford freshman Merete Lutz. Bricio was one of three players on the second team to become a two-time AVCA All-America recipient and the only player to earn second-team honors in both 2013 and 2014. 

Six Pac-12 student-athletes were named to the third team, led by two Huskies in Kaleigh Nelson and Lianna Sybeldon. Also named to the third team was OREGON STATE freshman Mary-Kate Marshall, who became the second player in Beaver history to garner All-American honors. ARIZONA’s Madi Kingdon and ARIZONA STATE’s Macey Gardner took home their first-career AVCA All-America honors after being named to the third team. Kingdon takes home Arizona’s first All-America accolade since 2005, while Gardner is the first Sun Devil All-American since 2000. OREGON’s Martenne Bettendorf is one of three right-side hitters named to the third team. 

Pac-12 volleyball players who received honorable mention status were: Morgan Boukather, STAN, RS, Sr.; Kyle Gilbert, STAN, L, Sr.; Lillian Schonewise, CAL, MB, RS Jr.; Penina Snuka, ARIZ, S, So.; and Taylor Whittingham, USC, L, So.

The awards will be presented Friday, Dec. 19 in Oklahoma City, Okla., at the AVCA All-America/Players of the Year Banquet. Each of the three AVCA All-America teams is comprised of 14 athletes.