Reigning Big 12 Player of the Year Haley Eckerman (Texas) has been selected as the 2013 Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year, while Katie Brand (Kansas State) and Victoria Hinneburg (Texas Tech) share Preseason Freshman of the Year honors.
The team and awards are chosen by league coaches, who are not allowed to vote for their own student-athletes.
Defending national champion Texas, along with Iowa State and Kansas, each placed three members on the 2013 Big 12 Preseason Team. Eckerman is one of nine players selected unanimously, joined by teammates Khat Bell and Bailey Webster. Two-time Big 12 Libero of the Year Kristen Hahn, Victoria Hurtt and 2012 Big 12 Freshman of the Year Mackenzie Bigbee comprise Iowa State’s trio of selections. The Jayhawks are represented by Caroline Jarmoc, Sara McClinton and Erin McNorton.
Oklahoma tabbed a pair of preseason team honorees in senior Sallie McLaurin and sophomore Kierra Holst. Zoe Adom (Baylor), Kaitlynn Pelger (Kansas State) and Yvonne Igodan (TCU) were also voted onto the team.
This is the fifth-straight season a Texas student-athlete has been tabbed with the Preseason Player of the Year honor. Eckerman, a 6-3 outside hitter, helped lead the Longhorns to their second national title as UT claimed the 2012 NCAA Championship last season, winning 23 of their final 24 matches. As a sophomore last year, Eckerman was the unanimous choice for the league’s Player of the Year after earning the Freshman of the Year accolade in 2011. In just two years, the Waterloo, Iowa, product has garnered a total of 13 Big 12 weekly awards, tied for second-most all time. In 2012, she led the league with 4.38 kills per set and 5.00 points per set. In Big 12-only matches, she ranked in the top 10 in hitting percentage (.328), kills (4.60), service aces (0.45) and points (5.24).
Brand, a 6-1 setter from Grand Island, Neb., was an All-State selection her junior and senior seasons at Central Catholic, where she finished her career ranked in the top 10 in school history in digs, aces, kills, blocks and assists. A three-sport athlete, she also lettered all four years in basketball and tennis. Brand led the volleyball team to state runner-up finishes in her freshman and sophomore seasons before a third-place finish her senior year.
Hinneburg will make the journey to Lubbock after competing for several of the top volleyball clubs in her native Germany. A 6-4 middle blocker, Hinneburg was part of three national youth championship teams, including the 2012 squad that was part of the Dresdner volleyball organization. The Leipzig, Germany-native will give the Red Raiders immediate height and athleticism in the middle as she will be the tallest Red Raider to sign with Tech during head coach Don Flora’s tenure. Her signing also marks the second-straight year Tech has inked an international recruit after Emily Ruetter committed to the program last year out of Canada.
This is the first time Kansas State and Texas Tech have had a freshman earn the preseason honor. Both teams have had Big 12 Preseason Newcomer of the Year selections in the past (K-State - 2007; TTU - 1999, 2010).
The 2013 Big 12 volleyball preseason poll will be announced on Wednesday, Aug. 7. The season starts on Friday, Aug. 30, with conference play beginning on Wednesday, September 25.
2013 BIG 12 PRESEASON VOLLEYBALL TEAM & AWARDS
Preseason Player of the Year:
Haley Eckerman, Texas, OH, 6-3, Jr., Waterloo, Iowa/East
Preseason Freshmen of the Year:
Katie Brand, Kansas State, S, 6-1, Grand Island, Neb./Central Catholic
Victoria Hinneburg, Texas Tech, MB, 6-4, Leipzig, Germany/Sportgymnasium Dresden
2013 Preseason Team
|Name, School||Pos.||Ht.||Cl.||Hometown/Previous School|
|Zoe Adom, Baylor||OH||6-0||Sr.||Euless, Texas/Euless Trinity|
|Mackenzie Bigbee, Iowa State||RS||6-1||So.||Williamsburg, Iowa/Williamsburg|
|Kristen Hahn, Iowa State^||DS/L||5-9||Sr.||Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Kennedy|
|Victoria Hurtt, Iowa State^||OH||6-2||Jr.||Kansas City, Mo./Archbishop O'Hara|
|Caroline Jarmoc, Kansas^||MB||6-2||Sr.||Calgary, Alberta, Canada/Springbank Community|
|Sara McClinton, Kansas||OH||6-2||Jr.||Omaha, Neb./Millard North|
|Erin McNorton, Kansas||S||5-9||Sr.||Dallas, Texas/Plano West|
|Kaitlynn Pelger, Kansas State||MB||6-2||Sr.||Olathe, Kan./Olathe South|
|Kierra Holst, Oklahoma||MB||6-4||So.||Coppell, Texas/Coppell|
|Sallie McLaurin, Oklahoma^||MB||6-2||Sr.||Midwest City, Okla./Carl Albert|
|Yvonne Igodan, TCU^||MB||6-2||Sr.||Houston, Texas/Hightower|
|Khat Bell, Texas^||MB/OH||6-1||Jr.||Mesquite, Texas/North Mesquite|
|Haley Eckerman, Texas^||OH||6-3||Jr.||Waterloo, Iowa/East|
|Bailey Webster, Texas^||OH||6-3||Sr.||Baltimore, Md./St. Paul's School for Girls|