Dec. 6, 2011
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The honors continue to roll in for the Boilermaker volleyball team, which will make its fifth NCAA Sweet 16 appearance since 2005 on Friday. Senior middle blocker Tiffany Fisher and junior outside hitter Ariel Turner were named AVCA All-Mideast Region on Tuesday, putting the duo on the ballot for All-America honors. Head coach Dave Shondell garnered Mideast Region Coach of the Year accolades, putting him up for National Coach of the Year, while redshirt sophomore setter Rachel Davis earned honorable mention all-region acclaim.
Fisher, a unanimous All-Big Ten selection and Preseason All-Big Ten honoree ranks 10th nationally in hitting percentage, with a Big Ten and team-best .395 mark. The senior led the league with .375 effort in conference play as well. She is averaging 2.48 kills per set, second most on the team, as well as 1.03 blocks per set, second most on the team and ninth in the Big Ten, in 32 starts. The middle blocker has served up team-leading 29 aces and posted double-digit kills in 11 matches. Fisher has led team in kills three times and hit .250 or better in 23 matches, .300 or better 22 times, .400 or better 19 times and .500 or better 10 times. The Topeka, Ind., native has put up five or more blocks in 10 matches and led team in blocks 10 times. She ranks ninth on Purdue career block assists list (321) and posted an .875 hitting effort vs. Air Force, ranking third on Purdue's individual match record list. The effort also marked best in a three-set match (15-19 attempts) in school history.
Turner, the Big Ten Player of the Year, AVCA National Player of the Week, Nov. 1 and a five-time Big Ten Player of the Week honoree ranks in the top five nationally in kills per set (5th, 4.87) and points per set (3rd, 5.49), leading the Big Ten in both categories. The CoSIDA Academic All-District V first team and Academic All-Big Ten selection is averaging a team-best 4.87 kills per set, while adding 2.77 digs per set, second most on the team. The junior set the season record for hitting attempts with 1606, snapping Colleen DeMeyer's 1979 mark of 1512. She has registered 16 double-doubles, combining kills and digs each time, and also has made good on 92 percent of 175 reception attempts. Turner has posted double-digit kills in 31 matches, including 20 or more on nine occasions, and led team in kills 31 times, digs twice (against Bryant and No. 22 Michigan) and blocks twice (against Baylor and Bryant). She has put up double-digit digs 16 times and five or more blocks three times. The Highlands Ranch, Colo., native tallied her 1000th career kill on Oct. 7 and 500th career dig on Oct. 14. The outside hitter has hit at a .250 or better clip in 15 matches, including .300 or better 11 times and .400 or better twice. She took a Purdue four-game record 81 swings against No. 5 Illinois, a tally which ranks fourth on Purdue's individual match record list. The Preseason All-Big Ten selection ranks third in season kills (570), third in career hitting attempts with 3880 and 10th in career kills with 1335.
Davis was named AVCA National Player of the Week, 11/15, and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week 11/14. The Academic All-Big Ten is averaging 10.91 assists, ranking 43rd nationally and fifth in the Big Ten, and 2.43 digs per set. The Kalamazoo, Mich., native also ranks sixth in assists per set during conference play (10.64). Davis has posted 12 double-doubles, combining assists and digs each time, in 33 starts. She has guided team to a .250 or better hitting percentage 22 times, including a .300 or better effort in 11 times and .400 or better mark four times. The setter has led the team in digs twice: against College of Charleston and No. 18 Michigan, and led team in blocks against Virginia Commonwealth. Davis has posted double-digit digs 12 times, including career high 21 against Iowa. Offensively, she has picked up five or more kills of her own in seven matches and is hitting at a .414 clip on the season. Davis also has served up five aces and added 50 blocks.
In his ninth season at the helm of the Boilermaker volleyball program, Shondell has led the team to their seventh NCAA Tournament appearance in the last eight seasons. Before Shondell took over as the Purdue head coach, the program had experienced only one winning season in the previous nine years. Now, he has them poised as a perennial contender for both Big Ten and NCAA championships for years to come. The Boilermakers finished the regular season ranked eighth in the AVCA Top-25, their highest spot in the poll since 1983. Their third consecutive week in the top-10 is also the longest stay in the top-10 since 1983. In the preseason, Purdue was selected to finish fourth in the conference. Their 16-4 Big Ten record was good enough for second place. Shondell's Purdue squads over the years have knocked off 30 ranked opponents, and he boasts a record of 189-107 in that span. The Boilermakers defeated seven ranked opponents in the 2011 season. Ariel Turner was selected as the Big Ten Player of the Year, and two Boilermakers were named as unanimous All-Big Ten selections. Shondell was awarded the Big Ten Coach of the Year, and became the first Purdue coach to take home the honor since 1987.
Michelle Bartsch** Illinois OH SR Tori Dixon Minnesota MB SO Tiffany Fisher Purdue MB SR Kristin Hoffman Northern Illinois S SR Mari Hole Ohio State OH JR Gina Mancuso Nebraska OH JR Deja McClendon** Penn State OH SO Jenilee Rathje Michigan State OH SR Ariel Scott Penn State RS SO Katie Slay Penn State MB SO Ariel Turner Purdue OH JR Colleen Ward Illinois OH SR Lauren Wicinski** Northern Illinois OH SO Ashley Wittman Minnesota OH SO
Region Freshman of the Year: Micha Hancock, Penn State, S
Honorable Mention: Morgan Broekhuis (Nebraska, RS, So.), Lauren Cook (Nebraska, S, Jr.), Emily Danks (Ohio State, RS, Jr.), Rachel Davis, (Purdue, S, So.), Stephanie Holthus (Northwestern, OH, So.), Hannah Werth (Nebraska, OH, Jr.)