Aug. 21, 2008
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - University of Tennessee sophomore outside hitter Nikki Fowler has been named to the 2008 preseason All-Southeastern Conference team the league office announced Thursday. The poll is the first in the history of the conference and features nine athletes.
Fowler is the only underclassman to make the squad, which also consists of seven seniors and one junior. Each SEC head volleyball coach voted for seven players and no ties were broken. The Eastern Division had five players recognized, while the West had four. LSU led all teams with three selections, and Florida had two.
A native of Dallas, Texas, Fowler became just the second player in UT history to garner a postseason player of the year award during her initial season at Rocky Top, being named 2007 SEC Freshman of the Year. She also earned a spot on the conference's all-freshman team.
The first SEC Freshman of the Year in Tennessee history, Fowler played a critical role in a number of areas for the Lady Vols during her rookie campaign, leading the Big Orange with 370 kills, 1,081 total attacks and 449.0 points and averaging a team high 3.27 kills per game and 3.97 points per game. She also stood second on the squad with 26 aces and 98 blocks, third on the team with 98 assists and 0.87 blocks per game and fourth with 281 digs and 2.49 digs per game
Fowler finished the conference season in a tie for ninth among all SEC players with 3.64 kills per game during league action. She was the only underclassman on the list as well, among seven seniors and two juniors. Fowler also paced all freshmen in the conference with three SEC Freshman of the Week awards, as she picked up the honors on Oct. 15, Nov. 12 and Nov. 19.
In addition, Fowler posted two of the most impressive single-match offensive performances in school history in 2007, becoming the first Lady Vol to record a triple-double with 19 kills, 19 assists and 18 digs at Ole Miss on Nov. 2. Just nine days later, Fowler pounded out a career-high 28 kills in UT's victory over South Carolina on Nov. 11. The freshman also had just two errors in a personal-best 69 swings in that contest for a career-high .377 hitting percentage.
The only other Lady Vol to claim a postseason player of the year award is Amy Morris, who was named SEC Defensive Player of the Year following the 2005 season. The Big Orange will open the 2008 campaign at the Marquette Kick-Off Classic against in-state rival Chattanooga on Aug. 29. First serve for that contest is set for 5:30 p.m. ET at the Al McGuire Center in Milwaukee, Wis.
|2008 PRESEASON ALL-SEC TEAM|
|Kelsey Bowers||Florida||MB||6-2||Sr.||Gainesville, Fla.|
|Elyse Cusack||Florida||L||5-9||Jr.||Melrose, Fla.|
|Maria Taylor||Georgia||OH||6-2||Sr.||Alpharetta, Ga.|
|Queen Nzenwa||Kentucky||OH||6-2||Sr.||Baltimore, Md.|
|Lauren DeGirolamo||LSU||MB||6-1||Jr.||Belleville, Ill.|
|Elena Martinez||LSU||L||5-8||Sr.||New Orleans, La.|
|Kyna Washington||LSU||OH||5-11||Sr.||Houston, Texas|
|Rachel Kieckhaefer||Ole Miss||S||5-11||Sr.||Hartford, Wis.|
|Nikki Fowler||Tennessee||OH||6-2||So.||Dallas, Texas|