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2008 Big 12 Conference Preseason Volleyball Poll, Awards Announced
August 14, 2008
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IRVING, Texas Texas, the 2007 Big 12 co-champion, has been chosen as the preseason favorite to win the conference title this season in a vote of the league’s head coaches.  The Longhorns received 10 of the possible 11 first-place votes while tallying 100 points overall.  Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own teams.

UT compiled a 27-4 overall record last season, the best mark in the Jerritt Elliott era, while advancing to the NCAA Regional Finals for the second straight year.  In conference action, the Longhorns claimed a share of the Big 12 crown with Nebraska after both squads finished 19-1.  It marked the first league title in a decade for Texas.  Elliott welcomes back 10 letterwinners, including five starters and four All-Americans.  He also added five players -- a recruiting class which ranked second in the country, claiming the No. 2 spot nationally for the third consecutive season. Texas was selected first in the Big 12 preseason poll for the second time in league history (1996).              

Nebraska was second behind UT with 88 points, followed by Kansas State, Texas A&M and Missouri to round out the top five.  KSU received the only other first-place vote awarded.  Iowa State was sixth, while Colorado checked in at No. 7.  Baylor and Oklahoma were tied for eighth place with Kansas and Texas Tech filling the final two spots. 

UT led the conference with four preseason All-Big 12 selections -- All-Americans Ashley Engle, Juliann Faucette, Destinee Hooker and Lauren Paolini.  Faucette and two-time All-America honoree Jordan Larson (Nebraska) were named preseason co-players of the year.  While their teammates Sydney Anderson (Nebraska) and Rachael Adams (Texas) were tabbed newcomer and freshman of the year, respectively.

Faucette, last season’s AVCA National Freshman of the Year, averaged the second-most kills (4.85) and points (5.52) in conference matches in 07.  She was the only freshman to be ranked among the top 10 in kills and points.  The San Diego native registered 10 double-doubles in all matches. Faucette also received the Big 12 Player of the Week honor twice during her rookie campaign. 

Larson begins her senior year with 1,137 kills and is on NU’s top 10 list in both digs and service aces. Last year, she posted 3.45 kills, 3.18 digs and a Big 12-best 0.51 service aces per set, while pacing the Huskers with 11 double-doubles. Larson is currently one of only three players in school history with 1,000 kills and digs.  The Hooper, Neb. outside hitter has been named to the All-Big 12 team every season she has competed for the Huskers, including two straight first-team honors.

Anderson comes to Nebraska following a stint with the U.S. National Team in Colorado Springs last season. Two years ago, Anderson was the starting setter at Utah, leading the Utes to a 28-4 record as she averaged 12.45 assists and 2.77 digs per set. The AVCA West Regional Freshman of the Year in 2006, she posted nine double-doubles that season, including a 64-assist, 19-dig effort against Wyoming. She also notched six matches with at least 50 assists.

Adams, a PrepVolleyball.com All-American and Volleyball Magazine Fab 50 selection, attended Mount Notre Dame High School and played club volleyball with Team Z in Cincinnati. She boasts a 36-inch vertical leap and is a two-time member of the U.S. Youth National Team. In 2006, she helped the USA claim a gold medal at the NORCECA International Championships in Florida. Last summer, Adams led Team Z to a 17 Open Junior Olympic club national championship.

Big 12 teams open the season the weekend of Aug. 29, while conference action is slated to begin on Sept. 17.

 

PRESEASON ALL-BIG 12 TEAM

Rank Team (First Place Votes) Points
1 Texas (10) 100
2 Nebraska 88
3 Kansas State (1) 84
4 Texas A&M 71
5 Missouri 62
6 Iowa State 55
7 Colorado 38
8 Baylor 37
Oklahoma 37
10  Kansas 23
11 Texas Tech 10

Ten points were awarded for first-place votes, nine for second, etc.  Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team.

Preseason Co-Players of the Year: Jordan Larson, Nebraska, OH, Sr. , 6-2, Hooper, Neb./Logan View
Juliann Faucette, Texas, OH, So., 6-2, San Diego, Calif./Westview

Preseason Newcomer of the Year: Sydney Anderson, Nebraska, So., S, 6-0, Salt Lake City, Utah/Utah

Preseason Freshman of the Year: Rachael Adams, Texas, MB, Fr., 6-2, Cincinnati, Ohio/Mount Notre Dame

 

PRESEASON ALL-BIG 12 TEAM

Name, School Pos. Cl. Ht. Hometown/Previous School
Taylor Barnes, Baylor S Jr. 5-11 Arlington, Texas/Martin
Anna Breyfogle, Baylor MB Jr. 6-0 Buda, Texas/Hays
Kaylee Manns, Iowa State S Jr. 5-10 Topeka, Kan./Washburn Rural
Natalie Uhart, Kansas MB Sr. 6-2 Lansing, Kan./Lansing
Megan Farr, Kansas State MB Sr. 5-10 Manhattan, Kan./Manhattan 
Rita Liliom, Kansas State OH Sr. 6-0 Budapest, Hungary/Csik Ferenc 
Nataly Korobkova, Kansas State OH Sr. 6-3 Krasnoyarsk, Russia/State Siberian Technological
Weiwen Wang, Missouri MB So. 6-0 Nanjing, China/Jiangsu Education Institute
Kori Cooper, Nebraska MB Jr. 6-2 Amarillo, Texas/Amarillo
Jordan Larson, Nebraska OH Sr. 6-2 Hooper, Neb./Logan View
Francie Ekwerekwu, Oklahoma MB So. 5-11 Arlington, Texas/Arlington
Ashley Engle, Texas S/RS Jr. 6-3 Yorba Linda, Calif./Esperanza
Juliann Faucette, Texas OH So.. 6-2 San Diego, Calif./Westview
Destinee Hooker, Texas OH Jr. 6-4 San Antonio, Texas/Southwest
Lauren Paolini, Texas MB Sr. 6-5 Ann Arbor, Mich./Saline
Sarah Ammerman, Texas A&M OH Jr. 6-2 Parker, Colo./Chaparral
Mary Batis, Texas A&M OH Jr. 6-0 San Antonio, Texas/Clark

Fourteen players are named to the preseason all-conference team -- a tie occurred in voting to result in 17 members.

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