April 7, 2013
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Outside hitter Ariel Turner and defensive end/linebacker Robert Maci earned the main awards of the evening at the inaugural Golden Pete Awards on Sunday. Turner and Maci were tabbed as Purdue's 2012-13 Big Ten Medal of Honor nominees, while Turner also garnered the prestigious Varsity Walk Award.
First awarded in 1914, the Big Ten endowed a Medal of Honor to be given annually to a student in the graduating class of each university who demonstrated proficiency in scholarship and athletics. In 1982, the Medal of Honor was expanded to include a senior female student-athlete from each institution.
The Varsity Walk Award is given annually to an outstanding senior varsity athlete who has brought national recognition to Purdue. The Varsity Walk was the project of the Purdue Reamer Club spring pledge class of 1956, and was the idea of Bob Verplank, a 1957 graduate. The walk was located in the Purdue Mall with the Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering buildings to the south and the Physics and Chem-Met buildings to the north. An awards tower listing all the recipients stands at the northwest corner of the Materials and Electrical Engineering buildings.
The Capitol One Academic All-American of the Year, Purdue's first in any sport since Drew Brees received the honor for football in 2000, Turner became Purdue volleyball's first two-time Academic All-America honoree since 1988. In addition, the Highlands Ranch, Colo., received second team AVCA All-America acclaim for her performance on the court, as well as being named as a Senior CLASS Award finalist, an AVCA All-Mideast Region and Unanimous All-Big Ten selection in 2012. The senior also received Academic All-District V first team and Academic All-Big Ten honors for her work in the classroom.
During her senior campaign, Turner garnered Big Ten Player of the Week honors twice (Oct. 1 and Nov. 26) and Defensive Player of the Week accolades once (Oct. 15) before earning unanimous All-Big Ten honors after posting 4.64 kills and 5.26 points per set in league play. She averaged 4.48 kills per set, ranking 13th nationally, while also putting up 5.12 points per set, ranking 11th nationally, and adding 2.76 digs per set. The 6-1 outside hitter posted double-digit kill efforts 28 times and double-digit digs in 18 matches. She managed 16 double-doubles, while leading the team in kills 30 times, digs six times and blocks four times. The senior also served up 28 aces, including a career-best seven at Cincinnati, which ranks tied for fourth in Purdue history. Turner wrapped her career ranked first in Purdue lore in hitting attempts (5,578) and second in career kills (1,906). She tallied double-digit kills in 108 matches, double-digit digs in 41 matches and 38 double doubles.
The senior became Purdue's seventh member of the 1,000-kill, 1,000-dig club as she posted her 1,000th career dig against Colorado State in the NCAA First Round. All told in 2012, Turner took 1,622 swings, ranking second in season attempts, while also piling up 555 kills and 4.48 kills per set, ranking sixth in each category. She led Purdue to the NCAA Sweet 16 for the third straight season and was named to the West Lafayette Regional All-Tournament team.
Maci, a four-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, started all 13 games of his senior season playing in a dual role of defensive end and linebacker. He finished 2012 with a career-high 37 tackles, including 6.5 for loss with 2.0 sacks. He forced a pair of fumbles and recovered one. He was awarded the team's "Red" Mackey award (exemplifying the overall success of the university's intercollegiate athletics programs) and the Most Improved Player Award for defense.
Maci played in 42 total games in his collegiate career, racking up 81 total tackles, including 56 solo stops and 12.5 for loss. He finished his Purdue career with 4.0 sacks, three passes defended and three fumbles forced. He was named the 2012 Pit Bull Award winner (player who exemplified and sustained tenacity and intense play throughout spring practice), the 2009 team Most Valuable Player on special teams and the 2008 Verle H. Campbell Scout Team Award.
He was nominated for the National Football Foundation's Scholar Athlete Award and is a member of the NFF's Hampshire Society. He graduated from Purdue last December with a degree in industrial engineering.