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Nebraska sends three to the Big Ten first team; Minnesota's Samedy named player of the year

Nebraska sends three to the Big Ten first team; Minnesota's Samedy named player of the year

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Three Nebraska volleyball players — Lauren Stivrins, Lexi Sun and Nicklin Hames — have been acknowledged as three of the best players in the Big Ten.

Each of them earned first-team all-Big Ten honors. The teams were picked by a vote of the 14 league coaches and announced Thursday, about five days before the NCAA Tournament begins.

Stivrins, Sun and Hames each are repeat selections for the first team. The first team included 22 players this season, which is four more than last season.

Seven of the 22 were unanimous picks, including Stivrins and Sun. The others were Minnesota’s Stephanie Samedy and Regan Pittman; Wisconsin’s Sydney Hilley and Dana Rettke; and Ohio State’s Emily Londot.

For the past three seasons, Stivrins has been a no-doubter for the league awards, earning a unanimous selection to the team all three years. Since Nebraska joined the Big Ten, only Kadie Rolfzen and Stivrins have been first-teamers three times.

Stivrins’ .471 hitting percentage ranks No. 1 in the Big Ten and fourth nationally. She’s on pace for one of the best hitting percentages in program history.

During the third match of the season, Stivrins showed her dominance when she had 18 kills on 20 attempts against Maryland, and she’s just kept going. The middle blocker from Scottsdale, Arizona, hit .400 or better in 13 of 16 matches.

Sun leads the Huskers with 214 kills. And she’s one of the best all-around players in the league, ranking fourth in points per set (4.53). She has 120 digs, 39 blocks and 19 ace serves.

Hames led the Big Ten and ranks 17th nationally in assists per set with 10.93 per set. In her third season as a starter, Hames has improved her setting to Nebraska’s middle blockers, Kayla Caffey and Stivrins, which helped Nebraska have the No. 2 offense in the league. Hames is also one of the Huskers’ best servers and ranks second on the team in digs with 162.

Samedy was chosen as the Big Ten player of the year, unseating Rettke, who won the award last season.

Wisconsin’s Hilley repeated as the setter of the year. Londot, the Ohio State right-side hitter, is the freshman of the year.

The coach of the year is Ohio State’s Jen Flynn Oldenburg. She took over a program that fired its coach last season after having a losing record. But in her first year, Flynn Oldenburg led her alma mater to a fourth-place finish in the league and an NCAA bid.

Wisconsin, the undefeated Big Ten champion, had each of its starters chosen, with four players on the first team and three on the second team.

Senior defensive specialist Hayley Densberger was Nebraska’s sportsmanship award honoree.

FIRST TEAM ALL-BIG TEN

(* Unanimous selection)

Taylor Kuper, jr., L, Illinois

Courtney Buzzerio, jr., S/RS, Iowa

Erika Pritchard, sr., OH, Maryland

Taylor Landfair, fr., OH, Minnesota

Regan Pittman, sr., MB, Minnesota*

Stephanie Samedy, sr., OPP, Minnesota*

Nicklin Hames, jr., S, Nebraska

Lauren Stivrins, sr., MB, Nebraska*

Lexi Sun, sr., OH, Nebraska*

Temi Thomas Ailara, so., OPP, Northwestern

Emily Londot, fr., RS, Ohio State*

Mac Podraza, so., S, Ohio State

Kaitlyn Hord, jr., MH, Penn State

Hayley Bush, jr., S, Purdue

Grace Cleveland, jr., OH, Purdue

Caitlyn Newton, sr., OH, Purdue

Jena Otec, sr., L, Purdue

Inna Balyko, jr., S, Rutgers

Sydney Hille, sr., S, Wisconsin*

Grace Loberg, sr., OH, Wisconsin

Dana Rettke, sr., MB, Wisconsin*

Devyn Robinson, fr., RS, Wisconsin

SECOND TEAM ALL-BIG TEN

Megan Cooney, sr., OH, Illinois

Adanna Rollins, jr., OH, Minnesota

Vanja Bukilic, jr., OH, Ohio State

Kylie Murr, so., L, Ohio State

Rylee Rader, fr., MB, Ohio State

Gabby Blossom, jr., S, Penn State

Jonni Parker, jr., RS, Penn State

Lauren Barnes, sr., L, Wisconsin

Molly Haggerty, sr., OH, Wisconsin

Danielle Hart, sr., MB, Wisconsin

ALL-FRESHMAN TEAM

Jess Mruzik, OH, Michigan

Taylor Landfair, OH, Minnesota

Melani Shaffmaster, S, Minnesota

Emily Londot, RS, Ohio State

Rylee Rader, MB, Ohio State

Taylor Trammell, MB, Purdue

Devyn Robinson, RS, Wisconsin

Player of the year: Stephanie Samedy, Minnesota.

Defensive player of the year: Jena Otec, Purdue.

Setter of the year: Sydney Hilley, Wisconsin.

Freshman of the year: Emily Londot, Ohio State.

Coach of the year: Jen Flynn Oldenburg, Ohio State.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7435 or bwagner@journalstar.com. On Twitter @LJSSportsWagner.

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