Dec. 14, 2011
By Todd Mounce, Media Relations Graduate Assistant
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Coming off a spectacular year as a team, four University of Tennessee Lady Vols were commended for their efforts, as sophomore Kelsey Robinson was named a second team All-American by the by American Volleyball Coaches Association on Wednesday, while juniors Leslie Cikra and DeeDee Harrison and freshman Mary Pollmiller were selected as honorable mention All-Americans.
"The success of our team wasn't dedicated on one player and it is great to see that people recognized that many of our players had a hand in the success we had this year," Lady Vol head volleyball coach Rob Patrick said.
"I'm very excited for Kelsey to be recognized as one of the elite players in the country," Patrick said. "She meant a lot to our team and had an effect on every match that we played, in all facets of the game, serving, passing, digging and hitting."
A 6-2 outside hitter, Robinson picks up the All-America honors after being the first Lady Vol ever to be named the SEC Player of the Year. Finishing the year with 28-4 overall record and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament, Robinson guided a young UT squad to a school best 19-1 mark against the league.
An All-SEC First Team and AVCA All-South Region selection, Robinson earned SEC Player of the Week honors a league-best four times, while also being the conference leader during the regular season in double-doubles (21), kills per set (4.57) and points (5.19), which also ranked 15th (kills per set) and 10th (points per set) nationally.
The Bartlett, Ill., native was one of three Lady Vols to play in all 114 sets, starting all 32 matches, while recording 12 matches with 20 or more kills and hitting .300 or better in eight conference matches. She earned national recognition in 2011 by being named the Sports Imports/AVCA National Player of the Week on Oct. 11, after combining for 35 kills and 33 digs in wins over Ole Miss and Alabama
In the NCAA Tournament, Robinson tallied double-doubles in matches against Duke and Ohio State, leading the team in kills against both opponents. She recorded 561 kills in 2011, ranking as the fourth-highest single-season output in Tennessee history.
Robinson becomes just the sixth Lady Vol to be selected to one of the top three A-A teams, as Nikki Fowler was the most recent honoree, earning third team honors a year ago. Robinson is also the first since Kristen Andre to earn second-team accolades, as the 2005 squad made a run into the national semifinals.
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 seven of the past eight seasons. Now in an elite group, Robinson joins former UT greats such as Beverly Robinson (1982), April Chapple (1984), Michelle Piantadosi (2004), 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) and Kayla Jeter (2010) to be honored with All-America accolades.
"I'm excited about the future of our team with DeeDee, Leslie and Mary garnering post season accolades due to their very high level and consistent play throughout the season," Patrick said. "What's really exciting is that all of them will be returning for at least one more year."
As the team leader in hitting percentage, Cikra was named First Team All-SEC First Team after hitting .313 on the year. Her hitting percentage of .330 in SEC matches ranked seventh in the league and tops for a non-middle position player. The Big Orange hit .278 on the year, which rated ninth nationally. The 6-4 outside hitter hit at a clip of .400 or better in eight matches this season, and has tallied double digits in kills 14 times.
An All-South Region selection, Cikra hit .250 in all but five matches on the year and ranked second on the squad in kills per set (2.74). On the defensive side of the net, the Chagrin Falls, Ohio, native's average of 0.75 blocks per set versus the SEC was second best on the team.
Also named to the 2011 All-SEC First Team, Harrison was the SEC leader in blocks with an average of 1.14 stuffs per set. Her average increased to 1.31 per set against the league, as she tallied an SEC- and team-best 100 blocks in the regular season. The Nashville, Tenn., product had an SEC hitting percentage of .314 hitting percentage, while adding 3.09 points per set.
The 6-3 middle blocker picked up SEC Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 26 and started in all 32 matches this season. She had a stellar day at Alabama on Nov. 13, hitting .733 against the Tide, which was the second-highest hitting percentage of any SEC player this season. An All-South Region selection, she had double digit kills in 14 matches and hit .350 or better in 16 matches.
The reigning SEC Freshman of the Year, Pollmiller led all NCAA freshmen in assists, averaging 11.94 helpers per set (1480), which also ranks fourth in the nation and first in the SEC. The starting setter all 32 matches, she played in all 124 of the team's sets. The All-South Region selection earned SEC Freshman of the Week a league-best five times in 2011, which was the second-most in SEC history.
During the season, the Littleton, Colo., native accounted for 89.4 percent of UT's assists. She earned Second Team All-SEC honors, as she tallied the top two single-match assist marks in conference play with 69 at Ole Miss and 64 in the regular season finale against Kentucky. She also added 74 kills, 49 blocks and 10 aces, finishing with eight double-doubles, the second-most on the team.
The selections were made by the AVCA Division I All-America Committee: Santiago Restrepo (Oklahoma), Sherry Dunbar (Indiana), Lisa Seifert (Southern Methodist), Claire Lessinger (South Florida), Jennifer Greeny (Washington State), Craig Skinner (Kentucky), Jeff Nelson (New Mexico) and Tonya Johnson (Georgia Tech). The AVCA Awards Chair is Dayton head volleyball coach Kelly Sheffield.
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. 16 at the AVCA Players of the Year/Division I All-America Banquet in San Antonio.
A complete list of the 2011 AVCA All-America selections can be found on the AVCA website.