Dec. 12, 2012
LEXINGTON, Ky. – University of Tennessee junior libero Ellen Mullins became the 17th All-American in school history on Wednesday as she joined junior outside hitter Kelsey Robinson in garnering Honorable Mention honors from the American Volleyball Coaches Association. The award is the second for Robinson, who took home Second Team honors last season, while it marks the first for Mullins.
After having just two All-Americans in the first 45 years of the program, the Lady Vols have now had at least one selection in eight of the past nine seasons. Mullins joins an impressive group of UT players that includes Beverly Robinson (1982), April Chapple (1984), Michelle Piantadosi (2004), Kristen Andre (2004, 2005), Julie Knytych (2004, 2005), Amy Morris (2004, 2005), Yuliya Stoyanova (2005, 2006), Sarah Blum (2006), Chloe Goldman (2009), Nikki Fowler (2008, 2009, 2010), Leah Hinkey (2010), Kayla Jeter (2010), Leslie Cikra (2011), DeeDee Harrison (2011), Mary Pollmiller (2011) and Robinson (2011, 2012).
An AVCA All-South Region Honorable Mention, Mullins posted breakout numbers in the back row this season. Appearing in every match as the starting libero, the Nashville native shattered her single-season totals by averaging an impressive 4.55 digs per set, a mark that ranks third all-time in the rally scoring era at Tennessee. She also finished the season with the second-most digs (541) and the fourth-highest scoops per set average in the Southeastern Conference.
With one season to go, Mullins upped her career average tremendously to 3.67 digs per set, placing her third all-time in the Tennessee volleyball annals. In addition, she became the 13th Lady Vol to surpass the 1,000-career dig total this season, notching 28 in a five-set win at No. 13 Florida. Her 1,161 career digs currently ranks eighth in the UT record books.
Behind Mullins, the Lady Vols ranked fourth in the conference in digs per set (16.14) and finished the league slate ranked second in SEC matches with 17.05 scoops per game. Mullins posted some of her top numbers in 2012, including a career-best 34-dig output in a five-frame win over Missouri. That mark stands as the seventh-highest single-match dig total in school history, the second-most in the 25-point rally scoring era at UT and was the sixth-highest single-match total in the SEC this season.
A 6-foot-2 outside hitter, Robinson earned her second-straight First Team All-SEC honor this season, while also garnering AVCA All-South Region recognition. The Bartlett, Ill., native led the Big Orange in almost every offensive statistical category and finished the season ranked second in the conference in points per set (4.84) and third in kills per set (4.22). A six-rotation player, Robinson also ranked 14th in the SEC in digs per frame (3.50).
The junior led the league in double-doubles (22) for the second-straight season and finished the year with the highest single-match kill total in the SEC. She put down a career-best 29 kills in a five-set victory over then-No. 10 Iowa State on the opening weekend of the season.
Robinson also did a number on the Tennessee volleyball record books this season. With her first kill of the third set at LSU (10/10), the junior became one of just 18 Lady Vols in program history to eclipse the 1,000-career kill mark. Just nine days later, she posted nine digs at Texas A&M, making her just the fifth Tennessee player in school history to record 1,000 career kills and 1,000 career digs. Robinson, who is the only Tennessee player to record five 20/20 matches since 2001, currently ranks fourth in the UT record books in with a career kills per set average of 3.60.
A complete list of the 2012 AVCA All-America selections can be found on the AVCA website.