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Olympic Sports

Volleyball: Iowa State’s Nolan named Libero of the Year

Full Big 12 Awards listed at bottom

AMES, Iowa – For the seventh-consecutive year, the Big 12’s top libero plays at Hilton Coliseum as Iowa State’s Caitlin Nolan earned Big 12 Libero of the Year, the conference announced Monday afternoon. Nolan also picked up an All-Big 12 First Team honor, being joined by teammate Victoria Hurtt. Hurtt earned her second All-Big 12 First Team honor, finding her way back to the team she was on in 2012 after earning Honorable Mention in 2013. Freshman Alexis Conaway earned All-Big 12 Honorable Mention and was named to the Big 12 All-Freshman Team. 

The tradition of Iowa State winning Big 12 Libero of the year has carried over to Nolan, who was honored via a unanimous selection. Nolan joins three-time winners Ashley Mass (2008-10) and Kristen Hahn (2011-13) as Cyclones to earn the honor as now exactly half (7-of-14) of the Big 12 Liberos of the Year are from Iowa State. Kansas State is the next closest with three. Nolan’s All-Big 12 First Team spot is the sixth time a libero has earned All-Big 12 First Team, five of those have come from Iowa State. 

Nolan, a four-time Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week in 2014, led the Big 12 and ranks fifth in the NCAA with 5.74 digs per set. She has 15 matches with at least 20 digs and four matches with at least 30 digs. Her four matches of 30+ digs are tied for the most in a season in school history with Steph McCannon’s four in 1995. Against Kansas on Oct. 22, Nolan set an Iowa State record and tied a Big 12 record with her 43 digs in her five-set win over the Jayhawks.

Hurtt becomes the eighth student-athlete during Christy Johnson-Lynch’s tenure to earn at least two All-Big 12 First Team honors and the fifth player to be named to any All-Big 12 squad (First Team and/or Honorable Mention) under Johnson-Lynch. Hurtt has rebounded back into the realm of the Big 12’s best with a strong attacking season, ranking second on the Cyclones with 2.65 kills per set at a .213 hitting percentage. Hurtt is tied for the team lead with 14 matches with at least 10 kills. Hurtt has improved her blocking too, averaging a career-best 0.58 blocks per set for the Cyclones.

Conaway is the first Iowa State freshman to earn All-Big 12 recognition (First Team and/or Honorable Mention) and seventh Cyclone to earn All-Freshman Team honors, marking the third-straight year a Cyclones has been on the All-Freshman Team (Mackenzie Bigbee – 2012, Ciara Capezio – 2013). Conaway’s producing one of the most efficient hitting seasons in school history, as her .334 hitting percentage is the second-highest in school history and is ahead of the old freshman record by 46 points. Conaway has recorded at least 10 kills in nine matches this season.

Her blocking has also been outstanding, as Conaway has led ISU and been amongst the best blockers in the Big 12 in 2014 with her 1.09 blocks per set. Conaway has had 11 matches with at least 5.0 total blocks this season and her 101 block assists are an ISU freshman record.

Iowa State will be playing in its ninth-consecutive NCAA Volleyball Championship this weekend. The Cyclones travel to Champaign, Ill. and Huff Hall to take on No. 24 Western Kentucky at 4:30 p.m. on Friday. If Iowa State wins, they will play the winner of Murray State-No. 11 Illinois at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

2014 Big 12 Awards

Player of the Year – Haley Eckerman, Texas

Setter of the Year – Julia Doyle, Oklahoma

Libero of the Year – Caitlin Nolan, Iowa State^

Freshman of the Year – Kylee Zumach, Kansas State^

Coach of the Year – Jerritt Elliott, Texas

All-Big 12 First Team

Andie Malloy, Baylor

Victoria Hurtt, Iowa State

Caitlin Nolan, Iowa State

Chelsea Albers, Kansas^

Tayler Soucie, Kansas

Katie Brand, Kansas State

Kylee Zumach, Kansas State

Kierra Holst, Oklahoma^

Madison Ward, Oklahoma^

Khat Bell, Texas

Haley Eckerman, Texas^

Chiaka Ogbogu, Texas^

Jordan Anderson, West Virginia^ 

All-Big 12 Honorable Mention

Alexis Conaway, Iowa State

Ainise Havili, Kansas

Tiana Dockery, Kansas

Sara McClinton, Kansas

Natali Jones, Kansas State

Ashley Smith, TCU

Amy Neal, Texas

Rachel Brummitt, Texas Tech

Breeann David, Texas Tech

Lauren Douglass, Texas Tech 

All-Freshman Team

Alexis Conaway, Iowa State

Ainise Havili, Kansas^

Kelsie Payne, Kansas

Kylee Zumach, Kansas State^

Marion Hazelwood, Oklahoma

Cat McCoy, Texas^

 

^Unanimous Selection

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