Three Lady Vols Claim AVCA All-America Honors

Dec. 15, 2010

By Cameron Harris, Assistant Media Relations Director

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Capping off a spectacular four-year career, University of Tennessee senior Nikki Fowler was selected as a third team All-American by the American Volleyball Coaches Association at its annual convention in Kansas City on Wednesday, while fellow classmate Leah Hinkey and junior Kayla Jeter were tabbed honorable mention All-Americans.

"I could not be more excited or proud of Nikki, Leah and Kayla," UT Head Coach Rob Patrick said. "For them to earn national recognition like this is a testament to their dedication to improving every single day. Their hard work and sacrifices were a key component of our success this year.

"These awards are a very fitting end to the spectacular careers of Nikki and Leah. They have been fantastic representatives of the University of Tennessee, not just on the volleyball court but in the classroom and the community as well. For Kayla, this is just a sign of things to come. She has improved immensely since she arrived on campus and this will only serve to drive her to even greater heights next year as a senior."

Fowler is just the fifth Lady Volunteer ever to be named to one of the top three teams and the first since Kristen Andre earned second-team accolades during the team's run to the national semifinals in 2005.

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 six of the past seven seasons. Hinkey and Jeter join an impressive group of former UT players that includes 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) and Fowler (2008, 2009).

A two-time honorable mention selection, Fowler finally broke through following a standout senior campaign. The most decorated player in UT volleyball history, she was previously named the 2010 Southeastern Conference Co-Scholar Athlete of the Year, an All-SEC First Team selection for the third straight season and recently became just the second Lady Vol to be tabbed a first team Academic All-American.

Fowler's name can be found all over the Tennessee record book as she finished her time as a Lady Vol ranked in the top 10 in seven career categories. A native of Dallas, Texas, she stands first all-time in total attacks (4,426), third in attacks per set (9.54), fourth in kills (1,649), sixth in kills per set (3.55), sixth in digs (1,281), seventh in digs per set (2.76) and eighth in blocks (344).

Over the course of her four-year career at Rocky Top, Fowler notched a double-double in 41.9 percent of her collegiate contests, accomplishing the feat 52 times in 124 career matches. In 2010, she led the Lady Vols with 393 kills (3.51/set) and 938 attacks (8.38/set), ranked second with 324 digs (2.89/set), third with a career-best .306 hitting percentage and fifth with 61 blocks (0.54/set).

A 5-11 outside hitter, Jeter continued to establish herself as one of the top offensive weapons in the conference this season, earning AVCA All-South Region and All-SEC First Team accolades. She ranked second on the squad with 340 kills (2.98/set) and hit at a stellar .304 clip, good for fourth on the team. The Solon, Ohio, product also led UT with 19 solo blocks and was third with 76 total putbacks

Jeter took over a six-rotation role 13 matches into the season, becoming a primary passer for the Big Orange. She sported a .965 reception percentage with just 14 errors in 398 total attempts and nearly doubled her previous career high with 184 digs (1.61/set) this season. Jeter hit .300 or higher in 16 matches, over .400 in nine contests and over .500 on five occasions. An All-SEC Second Team member last year, she led UT in kills 10 times this season and topped the Lady Vols with 235 kills (3.36/set) in their 30 SEC matches.

Hinkey finished her career on a high note, playing her best volleyball as a senior en route to AVCA All-South Region and All-SEC Second Team honors. A 6-1 middle blocker, she hit at a team-leading .367 clip, which ranked fifth among all SEC players. She also finished the year fourth in the league and topped UT with 131 blocks (1.15/set) and placed second on the squad with 18 aces and fourth with 218 kills (1.91/set).

Hinkey's name will also go down in the record books as she finished with a five-year total of 583 blocks, good for third in school history. Her 1.24 blocks per set average, meanwhile, places second behind only former teammate Sarah Blum's mark of 1.55, and her .285 career hitting percentage puts her in 10th all-time at UT.

The selections were made by the AVCA Division I All-America Committee: chair - Keylor Chan, Northwestern; Joe Getzin, Mississippi; Christy Johnson-Lynch, Iowa State; Mike Jordan, New Mexico State; Anne Kordes, Saint Louis; Lee Maes, Virginia; Andrew Palileo, Washington State; Lisa Seifert, Southern Methodist. 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. 17 at the AVCA All-America/Players of the Year Banquet presented by Zamst.

A complete list of the 2010 AVCA All-America selections can be found on the AVCA web site.

For the most up-to-date information on the Lady Vol volleyball team, make sure you follow @UTLadyVols and @UTVolleyball on Twitter.





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