Hagglund Headlines Trojan Foursome's AVCA All-America Honors
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Dec. 18, 2013
SEATTLE - USC women's volleyball senior libero Natalie Hagglund was chosen for AVCA (American Volleyball Coaches Association) first-team All-America honors for the third time in her career and freshman outside hitter Ebony Nwanebu received her first first-team honor and was selected as the National Freshman of the Year on Wednesday, Dec. 18, as the AVCA announced its 33rd annual Division I All-America Teams.
Hagglund and Nwanebu were two of four Women of Troy who were honored with All-America recognition. Sophomore outside hitter Samantha Bricio was named to the second team following her honorable mention as a freshman and senior middle blocker Alexis Olgard was chosen for third-team honors, the first All-America certificate in her career. USC's four selections give the program 70 All-America certificates (49 issued by the AVCA). Bricio and Olgard's first-time selections up USC's total number of All-Americans to 38 (28 recognized by the AVCA since 1981).
Awards will be presented on Friday, Dec. 20, in Seattle, at the AVCA All-America/Players of the Year Banquet. The event is held in conjunction with the 2013 AVCA Convention. Each of the three AVCA All-America Teams is comprised of 14 athletes. The Division I AVCA National Player of the Year will be announced on Dec. 20 at the AVCA All-America/Players of the Year Banquet presented by Northwestern Mutual.
Hagglund is one of nine players (among 42) to receive her third All-America certificate; the only one from the Pac-12 Conference. Penn State outside hitter Deja McClendon is this year's only four-time All-American and was named to the second team as a senior. Of the 14 first-team honorees, three are first-time recipients including Nwanebu who is the only freshman on the first team and only the second USC frosh to receive AVCA first-team honors; the first since Tracy Clark in 1982. She is also the first official AVCA National Freshman of the Year to hail from USC. April Ross received the national award in 2000 when it was chosen by Volleyball Magazine. Bricio was later selected as the Volleyball Magazine Freshman of the Year in 2012.
The selections were made by the AVCA Division I All-America Committee: East Region: Mike Johnson, Xavier; East Coast Region: Tonya Johnson, Georgia Tech; Midwest Region, Chris Lamb, Wichita State; North Region: Molly Alvey, Cincinnati; Northeast Region: Sherry Dunbar, Indiana; Pacific North Region: Jennifer Greeny, Washington State; Pacific South Region: Jeff Nelson, New Mexico; South Region: Matt Peck, Middle Tennessee; Southeast Region: Craig Skinner, Kentucky; Southwest Region: Santiago Restrepo, Oklahoma. The AVCA Awards Chair is Wisconsin Head Volleyball Coach Kelly Sheffield, but because of his responsibilities as a participant in the NCAA Semifinals, Craig Skinner served as acting chair.
This year, Hagglund became one of just 14 student-athletes in USC history to earn both first-team All-America honors in his or her respective sport and in academics as a CoSIDA Capital One First-Team Academic All-American. She earned her third Pac-12 Libero of the Year distinction, and was chosen for the third time to both the AVCA Pacific South All-Region Team and the Pac-12 All-Conference Team. Her performance in the NCAA tournament garnered an appearance on the Los Angeles Regional All-Tournament Team and she was selected as the Pac-12's Defensive Player of the Week twice to push her career total to five. Hagglund became USC's all-time career leader in digs and finishes in third place in Pac-12 history with 2,362. Her career 4.86 dps average ranks second in program history and fifth in league history. She had 11 matches with 30 digs or more in her career, and owns four of the top 10 (three of the top five) single-season marks for digs in USC history. She also holds USC's second-highest single-match total (44 against Washington, Nov. 15, 2012).
Nwanebu burst onto the scene and made an immediate impact this season. She was selected for Pac-12 Freshman of the Week honors on the season's opening weekend and went on to receive a record six Freshman of the Week awards. Nwanebu was later chosen to the Pac-12 All-Freshman Team, and the All-Conference Team, and was named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year. The AVCA's Pacific South Region also honored Nwanebu on the All-Region Team and as the Region's Freshman of the Year. She was also named to the NCAA Los Angeles Regional All-Tournament Team following an unthinkable performance in the regional championship match in which she put up 30 kills without a single error on 53 attacks to hit .566. Nwanebu played primarily in USC's front row and finished with a hitting percentage of .358 (413k, 78e, 935att) to rank sixth in the Pac-12 as the only freshman among the top 10 and the only non-middle blocker in the top 10. Nwanebu also finishes ranked 10th in the conference in kills (3.47 kps) and points (3.95 pps) despite playing half the amount of time as compared to the remaining top 10 players.
Bricio repeated her selections to the Pac-12 All-Conference Team and the AVCA Pacific South All-Region Team this season and was honored as the Pac-12's Offensive Player of the Week on Nov. 4. She was also chosen as the tournament MVP in two of USC's pre-conference tourneys: the Mortar Board Premier and the Marquette Challenge. Bricio set a new USC single-season record for service aces this season and finished with 85. That mark also found itself among elite company as the third-highest in Pac-12 history with records that were set more than 26 years ago. She had 13 matches in which she served at least three aces and was held without an ace in only three matches out of 35 this season. Bricio led the nation in service aces (0.70 saps) and finished the year ranked eighth in the Pac-12 for points at 4.49 pps.
Olgard was named to the Pac-12 All-Conference Team and the AVCA Pacific South All-Region Team for the first time in her career. She also received her first weekly honor as the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week on Oct. 7. Olgard's .442 hitting percentage ranked eighth in the country and atop the Pac-12. It is the second-highest single-season hitting percentage in USC history and the fifth highest in Pac-12 history. Olgard's final career hitting percentage of .401 is second only to Emily Adams in USC's record books and is the third highest in conference history. Olgard also moved up the ladder in the record books for blocks. She finishes in ninth at USC for career blocks (393) and had the school's seventh-best single-season mark with 150 blocks. Her 1.28 bps ranked fifth in the Pac-12.
The Trojans finished third in the Pac-12 with a 16-4 mark in league matches and received the sixth seed in the NCAA tournament. USC made its 23rd consecutive (31st overall) appearance in the NCAA championships and advanced to the regional championship match for the fourth straight year. The Trojans finished with a final record of 29-6 following a hard-fought five-set loss to third-seeded Pac-12 champion Washington at the Galen Center. For more information on the USC women's volleyball team, visit USCTrojans.com and follow @USCWomensVolley on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.