Aug. 7, 2012
MANHATTAN, Kan. – The Big 12 Conference announced its preseason all-conference awards on Tuesday afternoon in preparation for the 2012 season, and the Kansas State Wildcats had three honorees make the list. Junior middle blocker and Volleyball Magazine All-American Kaitlynn Pelger was a unanimous selection by the league’s coaches after earning All-Big 12 First Team last season. Senior setter Caitlyn Donahue and junior outside hitter Lilla Porubek join Pelger on the Preseason All-Big 12 Team.
Pelger led the Wildcats last season with 500 kills and posted her second triple-100 season with 500 kills, 337 digs and 121 blocks. She ranked among the conference leaders in kills per set both overall and in conference play. She averaged 4.13 kills per set overall and 3.57 in league play to rank seventh. The middle blocker was one of few to play all six rotations at her position in the nation and averaged an impressive 2.79 digs per set. Her digs helped her tally 15 double-doubles on the year.
Donahue emerged as one of the best setters in the Big 12 and the nation last season as she averaged 11.22 assists per set overall and 10.84 in league action. Both marks ranked second among Big 12 setters. Donahue was a defensive force for the Wildcats as well averaging 2.84 digs. She tallied an impressive 16 double-doubles on the year and also posted the first triple-double by a Wildcat since the 2004 season.
Porubek came on strong during conference play for the Wildcats averaging 3.60 kills per set in league play. That mark ranked sixth in the Big 12. The Hungarian pounded out a career-high 26 kills in a 3-1 win over rival Kansas to close the regular season at home last season. Porubek was All-Big 12 Honorable Mention last season for her efforts and also earned all-tournament team honors at two nonconference tournaments.
K-State was joined by Texas and Iowa State as the only teams to each have three players selected to the Preseason All-Big 12 Team.
The Longhorns saw Haley Eckerman and Bailey Webster make the team as unanimous selections and they were joined by teammate Khat Bell on the team. The Cyclones had Alison Landwehr named as a unanimous selection with Kristen Hahn and Jamie Straube joining her.
Oklahoma’s Sallie McLaurin and Baylor’s Torri Campbell were also unanimous selections.
Texas claimed both individual preseason awards with Newcomer of the Year being dropped this year by the Big 12. Outside hitter Bailey Webster was selected as the Preseason Player of the Year, and Molly McCage was chosen as the Freshman of the Year. Last season, Webster posted 3.26 kills and a hitting percentage of .348, very strong for a player at her position.
Coaches are not allowed to vote for their own players for the Preseason All-Big 12 Team. The conference office will announce the 2012 Preseason Big 12 Coaches Poll on Wednesday.