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Iowa State’s Bigbee, Kansas’ Bechard Earn AVCA Central Region Awards
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Mackenzie Bigbee (Iowa State) and Ray Bechard (Kansas) have earned Central Region individual honors from the American Volleyball Coaches Association, while 11 Big 12 student-athletes have been tabbed to the AVCA Central Region Team.

Mackenzie and Bechard were named Central Region Freshman and Coach of the Year, respectively. The pair also earned the same honors through the Conference office at the end of the 2012 regular season.

Bigbee becomes the fourth straight Big 12 freshman to earn the regional honor and 13th since 1999. Bechard is the tenth consecutive league coach to earn Central Region Coach of the Year honors.

Averaging 2.81 kills per set and hitting .246 for the Cyclones in her debut season, Bigbee was named the Big 12 Freshman of the Year earlier this season and was a unanimous selection to the All-Big 12 Freshman Team. Bigbee tied an Iowa State freshman record during non-conference play, tallying 25 kills at No. 19 Illinois. On the year, Bigbee has 304 kills in 28 matches, becoming just the second Cyclone freshman to cross the 300-kill threshold.

In his 15th season at the helm in Kansas, Bechard has become the winningest coach in KU volleyball history, with 10 of those seasons finishing above the .500 mark. Bechard led the Jayhawks to four NCAA Tournament appearances in 2003, 2004, 2005 and this season, where the Jayhawks advanced to the second round. Kansas finished the year the winningest team in program history (.765), earned a program-best sixth RPI ranking, and had its highest Big 12 Conference finish, placing third. Caroline Jarmoc was named to the 2012 AVCA All-Central Region Team and junior libero Brianne Riley broke KU's career digs record with 1,459 in their match against Texas Tech. Another record was set this season, which marked the most regular-season home wins in Kansas history. In the 2011 season, Coach Bechard reached his 900th career win and his 200th win at Kansas. This is Coach Bechard's first AVCA Central Region Coach of the Year honor.

Texas led all league teams with four first team members as Khat Bell, Haley Eckerman, Sha'Dare McNeal and Bailey Webster earned accolades. Iowa State earned four selections between first team and honorable mention honorees - Kristen Hahn and Alison Landwehr on the first team and Victoria Hurtt and Jamie Straube on the honorable mention list.

Kansas' Jarmoc, Kansas State's Kaitlynn Pelger and Oklahoma's Sallie McLaurin rounded out the first team members, while Caitlyn Donahue (Kansas State) also collected honorable mention.

AVCA CENTRAL REGION COACH OF THE YEAR: Ray Bechard, Kansas

AVCA CENTRAL REGION FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: Mackenzie Bigbee, Iowa State

(Big 12 Selections Only)
AVCA ALL-CENTRAL REGION FIRST TEAM
Kristen Hahn, Iowa State, L, Jr.
Alison Landwehr, Iowa State, S, Sr.
Caroline Jarmoc, Kansas, MB, Jr.
Kaitlynn Pelger, Kansas State, MB, Jr.
Sallie McLaurin, Oklahoma, MB, Jr.
Khat Bell, Texas, MB, So.
Haley Eckerman, Texas, OH, So.
Sha'Dare McNeal, Texas, OPP, Sr.
Bailey Webster, Texas, MB, Jr.

AVCA ALL-CENTRAL REGION HONORABLE MENTION
Victoria Hurtt, Iowa State, OH, So.
Jamie Straube, Iowa State, MB, Sr.
Caitlyn Donahue, Kansas State, S, Sr.

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