Teams across the nation are ready to hit the court with a clean slate in pocket and title dreams in the distant future. Take a look at some of this year’s top returning women’s volleyball players as they prepare for the 2012 season.
Junior Natalie Hagglund registered 596 digs last season, which placed her at third on the Trojans’ single-season list. She was named a first-team AVCA All-American, becoming the first libero in USC history to earn the recognition.
A 2011 AVCA All-American second team honoree, Emily Hartong ranked fifth nationally with a .369 hitting percentage. She played in all 33 matches during the 2011 season, and was second on the team in aces (31) and blocks (95).
Rachael Kidder, a rising senior, was ninth in the nation in kills and points per set last season and helped to lead UCLA to the national championship. Named an AVCA All-American, she led the Bruins with 4.70 kills per set and 5.24 points per set.
Senior Stephanie Klefot became the first player in Kentucky history to tally 600 or more digs in a season, earning her a second-team placement on the AVCA All-America Team. She averaged a league-high 4.83 digs per contest.
Senior setter Alison Landwehr led the Big 12 in 2011 with 11.46 assists per set. She set a career-high in assists with 66 and moved up to sixth all-time in the record books for career assists.
Iowa State Athletics
Leading the Huskers in kills and points, Gina Mancuso earned kudos as a first-team AVCA All-American. She was ranked in the top 10 in the Big Ten for total kills during the entire season and helped lead Nebraska to its first Big Ten championship.
Deja McClendon, a junior outside hitter, led Penn State with 432 kills and 3.54 kills per set in 2011. She had double-digit kills in 24 matches and put up six double-double performances.
Kelsey Robinson was named the 2011 SEC Player of the Year becoming the first Tennessee player to earn that recognition. She led the league in kills, points and double-doubles and ranked 11th in points and 12th in kills on the national landscape.
A first-team AVCA All-American and Big Ten Player of the Year, Ariel Turner ranked in the top six nationally in kills per set and points per set. She set the season record mark for hitting attempts with 1,682.
Bailey Webster became the fifth player in program history to win the Big 12 Player of the Year honor in 2011. A 2011 first-team All-American, she recorded 307 kills, 36 digs and 89 blocks for Texas.