Dec. 18, 2013
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Junior setter/outside hitter Val Nichol was named among the nation's elite when she received third team All-America honors from the AVCA on Wednesday. Fourteen players are named to each of three All-America teams. Breakdown per team is five outside/opposite hitters, three middle blockers, two setters, one libero/defensive specialist and three at-large selections.
The honors mark the fourth straight season a Purdue player has been named an All-America honoree and are the ninth and 10th such accolades under 11th-year head coach Dave Shondell. All told, Purdue has had 12 individuals named as All-Americans, accounting for 25 honors.
Nichol, an AVCA All-Region and All-Big Ten selection already in 2013, averaged 2.77 kills per set, while dishing out 6.03 assists per set, managing 1.79 digs per set and serving up 21 aces. The Academic All-Big Ten selection recorded 20 double-doubles and two triple doubles, including a 14-kill, 27-assist, 10-dig performance against No. 4 Missouri in the NCAA Second Round. The Normal, Ill., native led Purdue in kills 18 times in 2013 and in digs and blocks twice each. She posted double-digit kill tallies 16 times and double-digit digs on six occasions. The junior helped Purdue's hitters to a .250 or better hitting percentage in 15 matches, while hitting over the .250 mark 18 times as an individual, including .300 or better 15 times, .400 or better nine times and over .500 twice. The Big Ten Player of the Week, Oct., Nichol posted career high totals in kills (20 vs. #10 Minnesota), assists (34 vs. #5 Penn State and #15 Wisconsin), aces (4 vs. #19 Michigan State and Iowa), digs (15 vs. #15 Wisconsin) and blocks (7 at Notre Dame) this season.
Nichol also recorded her 700th career kill, wrapping the season with 760, while dishing out her 1,000th-career assist in the Elite Eight match vs. #13 Wisconsin, after which she was named to the NCAA Champaign Regional all-tournament team.
Nichol's All-America selection follows third team honoree Jaclyn Hart in 2010, honorable mention selection Tiffany Fisher in 2011 and Ariel Turner, who was a first team honoree in 2011 and second team selection in 2012. She is the third setter in Dave Shondell's tenure to be named an All-American, alongside Hart and Renata Dargan (honorable mention 2005).
Jones, an AVCA Northeast Region selection, led the Boilermakers in blocking with 1.21 stuffs per set, while also chipping in 2.15 kills per set, hitting at a team-best .394 clip and adding 25 aces. The hitting efficiency ranks her 28th nationally and fourth in the Big Ten players, while her blocks per set tally ranks sixth in the league. During Big Ten play, the Fishers, Ind., native hit at a .380 clip, second best among league players, while her blocks per set average of 1.20 ranked seventh. The junior led Purdue in blocks 20 times, while putting up five or more blocks on 18 occasions. The Big Ten Defensive Player of thW eek, Oct. 28, also posted double-digit kills in nine matches, while leading the team four times. Jones earned a spot on the season top 10 for block assists, ranking fourth with 142. She also ranks sixth in career block assists (364) and ninth in total blocks (409). The Academic All-Big Ten selection posted career high tallies in kills at Northwestern (17) and aces (4) and digs (8) at Ohio State this season.
The Boilermakers posted a 23-12 record, finished sixth in the Big Ten and advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight. Purdue is one of just five programs to advance to the Sweet 16 or further each of the last four years. The Boilers also are in elite company as one of just six programs with seven or more Sweet 16 berths in the last nine seasons.
Purdue volleyball has made nine NCAA Tournament appearances in the last 10 years, advancing to the second round or further each time, making it one of just 11 programs nationwide to do so.