Kansas’ Kelsie Payne, Ainise Havili, Cassie Wait and Ray Bechard along with Texas freshman Micaya White headline the 2016 Big 12 Volleyball postseason awards.
Payne is the Player of the Year after helping lead the Jayhawks to their first Big 12 title. The junior ranked in the top three in kills (4.07 per set) and points (4.77) during conference action this year.
Wait captured the award for Libero of the Year in a unanimous vote after leading the Big 12 in digs, averaging 5.11 per set throughout conference play. This year marks the first time in history a Jayhawk has been named Player of the Year or Libero of the Year.
Defending her 2015 Setter of the Year title, Havili is the first setter to win multiple titles since the accolade was first awarded in 2012. During conference play, Havili averaged 10.71 assists per set and helped lead the Jayhawks to one of the league’s top hitting percentages.
White was a unanimous selection as Freshman of the Year. The outside hitter finished her inaugural season ranked third in the league in points per set (4.64) and fourth in kills per set (3.98).
Bechard tabs his second consecutive and fourth career Coach of the Year honor, voted on by his peers. In addition to his status as the winningest coach in KU volleyball history, Bechard claimed the program’s first conference title on his way to leading his Jayhawks to a 26-2 overall record and 15-1 in the Big 12. Kansas enters the NCAA tournament ranked fourth in the nation with a No. 5 seed.
First Team honorees include Havili, Payne, Wait and Madison Rigdon from Kansas along with White, Chloe Collins, Ebony Nwanebu and Paulina Prieto Cerame of Texas. Baylor’s Katie Staiger, Kansas State’s Katie Brand, Oklahoma’s Marion Hazelwood, TCU’s Natalie Gower and West Virginia’s Payton Caffrey also made the list. Staiger, Havili, Payne, Wait, White, Nwanebu and Prieto Cerame were unanimous selections. Prieto Cerame is a two-time unanimous first team selection, ranking in the league’s top 10 in multiple categories, including fifth in kills (3.62 per set) and sixth points (3.99 per set). Brand and Payne each make their third appearance on the team.
Ten student-athletes make up the All-Big 12 Second Team, including a pair from Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas State and Texas Tech while Kansas and Oklahoma each add one. Three selections on the All-Freshman Team were unanimous: Iowa State libero Hali Hillegas, Texas’ White and West Virginia’s Caffrey.
2016 ALL-BIG 12 VOLLEYBALL POSTSEASON AWARDS
Coach of the Year: Ray Bechard, Kansas
Player of the Year: Kelsie Payne, Kansas (6-3, Jr., RS, Austin, Texas)
Libero of the Year: Cassie Wait, Kansas (5-8, Sr., Gardner, Kan.)
Setter of the Year: Ainise Havili, Kansas (5-10, Jr., Fort Worth, Texas/Haltom)
Freshman of the Year: Micaya White, Texas (6-1, OH, Frisco, Texas)
ALL-BIG 12 FIRST TEAM
Katie Staiger, Baylor, Jr., OH
Jess Schaben, Iowa State, 6-2, So., OH
Ainise Havili, Kansas, 5-10, Jr.., S
Kelsie Payne, Kansas, 6-3, Jr., OH
Madison Rigdon, Kansas, 6-0, Jr., OH
Cassie Wait, Kansas, 5-8, Sr., L
Katie Brand, Kansas State, 6-1 Sr., S
Marion Hazelwood, Oklahoma, 6-3 Jr., MB
Natalie Gower, TCU, 6-4, Sr., MB
Chloe Collins, Texas, 5-7, Sr., S
Ebony Nwanebu, Texas, 6-4 Jr., OH
Paulina Prieto Cerame, Texas, 6-2, Sr., OH
Micaya White, Texas, 6-1, Fr., OH
Payton Caffrey, West Virginia, 6-0, Fr., OH
ALL-BIG 12 SECOND TEAM
Jana Brusek, Baylor, 5-7, Jr., L
Camryn Freiberg, Baylor, 5-11, Jr., MB
Grace Lazard, Iowa State, 6-2, So., MB
Samara West, Iowa State, 6-4, Jr., MB
Tayler Soucie, Kansas, 6-1, Sr., MB
Katie Reininger, Kansas State, 6-1, Sr., MB
Bryna Vogel, Kansas State, 6-0, Jr., OPP
Micaela Spann, Oklahoma, 6-2, Sr,. MB
Reyn Akiu, Texas Tech, 5-2, So., L
Lauren Douglass, Texas Tech, 6-2, Sr., MB
Hali Hillegas, Iowa State, 5-6, L
Jada Burse, Kansas, 6-1, OH
Elle Sandbothe, Kansas State, 6-0, MB
Micaya White, Texas, 6-1, OH
Payton Caffrey, West Virginia, 6-0, OH
Erin Slinde, West Virginia, 6-0, S