Aug. 7, 2007
IRVING, Texas — Defending national champion Nebraska has been selected as the preseason favorite to win the Big 12 title for the 11th consecutive season in a vote of the league’s head coaches, the conference office announced. The Huskers received 10 of the possible 11 first-place votes while tallying 100 points overall. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own teams.
Last season, NU earned its third NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship while compiling a 33-1 overall record. The Huskers also claimed their ninth Big 12 crown (1996, ‘98-02, ‘04-06) after posting a 19-1 mark in conference action. Right-side hitter Sarah Pavan, the 2006 AVCA Player of the Year, headlines the Nebraska roster. Four additional All-Americans will also be featured amongst the returning starters -- setter Rachel Holloway, outside hitters Christina Houghtelling and Jordan Larson, and middle blocker Tracy Stalls. The Huskers will also have three other players with starting experience on the squad including middle blockers Kori Cooper and Amanda Gates and defensive specialist/libero Rachel Schwartz.
Texas was second behind NU with 91 points, including one first-place vote. The Longhorns were followed by Missouri, Texas A&M and Colorado filling the top five spots. Iowa State was sixth with Kansas State, Baylor, Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas Tech rounding out the poll.
Nebraska paced the conference with a Big 12 record five preseason All-Big 12 selections, including Holloway, Houghtelling, Larson, Pavan and Stalls.
Pavan was named Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year for the third consecutive season. In 2006, the two-time Big 12 Player of the Year led the conference in kills (5.10 - school record) and points (5.99) per game while hitting .313 on the season. Pavan ranked 10th nationally in kills per game and reached double figures in kills in 33 of 34 matches, including 10 with at least 20 kills. She was named the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Championship after posting 5.50 kills and 2.88 digs per game in victories over No. 4 UCLA and No. 2 Stanford. Pavan was awarded numerous awards for her performance in ‘06 including the Honda-Broderick Cup, Big 12 Female Athlete of the Year and ESPN the Magazine Academic All-American of the Year.
Nataly Korobkova (Kansas State) was tabbed the Preseason Newcomer of the Year. The 6-3 outside hitter joined the Wildcats at the beginning of the second semester in 2007 and participated in spring workouts and matches. At the Great Lakes Invitational in Chicago, Korobkova tallied 39 kills and a .300 hitting percentage in KSU’s final spring tournament. Prior to coming to K-State, Korobkova was a member of the Russian Junior National Team.
Juliann Faucette (Texas) was selected as the Preseason Freshman of the Year. It marks the second straight season that a Longhorn has received this honor (Ashley Engle). Faucette was a four-year starter for Westview High School in San Diego, while being tabbed as the nation’s No. 2 recruit by Prep Volleyball. Last summer, Faucette was the second-highest scorer for the USA Women’s Junior National Team, which won a gold medal at the 2006 NORCECA Continental Women’s Junior Championships in Mexico. Faucette also competed for the USA National Team at the Azteca Cup last September.
Big 12 conference teams open the season the weekend of Aug. 24, while conference action is slated to begin on Sept. 12.
2007 BIG 12 PRESEASON VOLLEYBALL POLL & AWARDS
PRESEASON COACHES POLL
Rank Team (First-place Votes) Points
1. Nebraska (10) 100
2. Texas (1) 91
3. Missouri 68
4. Texas A&M 66
5. Colorado 62
6. Iowa State 57
7. Kansas State 54
8. Baylor 42
9. Oklahoma 31
10. Kansas 23
11. Texas Tech 11
Note: Ten points were awarded for first-place votes, nine for second, etc. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team.
Preseason Player of the Year: Sarah Pavan, Nebraska, RS, Sr., 6-5, Kitchener, Ontario/Forest Heights Collegiate Institute
Preseason Newcomer of the Year: Nataly Korobkova, Kansas State Jr., OH, 6-3, Krasnoyarsk, Russia/State Siberian Technological
Preseason Freshman of the Year: Juliann Faucette, Texas, OH, 6-2, San Diego, Calif./Westview
PRESEASON ALL-BIG 12 TEAM
Name, School Pos. Cl. Ht. Hometown/Previous School
Taylor Barnes, Baylor S So. 5-11 Arlington, Texas/Martin
Amber Sutherland, Colorado OH Sr. 5-10 Glenwood Springs, Colo./Glenwood Springs
Erin Boeve, Iowa State OH/RS Sr. 6-2 Steen, Minn./Hills-Beaver Creek
Kaylee Manns, Iowa State S So. 5-10 Topeka, Kan./Washburn Rural
Tatum Ailes, Missouri L Sr. 5-6 Bellevue, Neb./Bellevue West
Na Yang, Missouri OH Sr. 6-3 Shan Dong, China/Shan Dong Sports
Rachel Holloway, Nebraska S So. 5-10 Franklin, Tenn./Smoky Hill (Colo.)
Christina Houghtelling, Nebraska OH Sr. 6-2 Cambridge, Neb./Cambridge
Jordan Larson, Nebraska OH Jr. 6-2 Hooper, Neb./Logan View
Sarah Pavan, Nebraska RS Sr. 6-5 Kitchener, Ontario/Forest Heights Collegiate Institute
Tracy Stalls, Nebraska MB Sr. 6-3 Denver, Colo./Lakewood
Ashley Engle, Texas S/RS So. 6-3 Yorba Linda, Calif./Esperanza
Destinee Hooker, Texas OH So. 6-4 San Antonio, Texas/Southwest
Michelle Moriarty, Texas S Sr. 5-10 Houston, Texas/Stratford
Note: Twelve players are named to the preseason all-conference team -- a tie occurred in voting to result in 14 members this season.