K-State's Kaitlyn Pelger sets the ball against Georgia Southern at Ahearn Field House in Manhattan, Kansas on September 2, 2011.
Pelger, Donahue Named to AVCA All-Central Region Team
MANHATTAN, Kan. – After another trip to the NCAA Tournament this season, two K-State Wildcats have been recognized by the American Volleyball Coaches Association as members of the All-Central Region Team. Junior middle blocker Kaitlynn Pelger was named to the first team for a second straight year and senior setter Caitlyn Donahue ends her career as an honorable mention member of the team. The teams were announced Tuesday and voted on by the coaches.
Pelger led the Wildcats with 361 kills and a .317 hitting percentage. Her 3.65 kills per set ranked third in the Big 12 Conference this year. Pelger was one of only four middle blockers in the nation to play all six rotations, setting her apart from her peers. Playing all six rotations allowed her to post 2.76 digs per set from the back row and rank second on the team. With her selection to the first team, Pelger is eligible for the AVCA All-America Team.
Donahue was one of the top setters in the nation throughout the year ranking in the top 10 in assists per set. She directed the Wildcats to a team hitting percentage of .242 while averaging 11.63 assists per set. Donahue also contributed 2.33 digs per set and led the team with nine double-doubles. She ends her career at K-State ranked in the top 10 in assists and digs, one of only two players to do so. Donahue is the first setter to be named to the all-region team since Gabby Guerre in 2004 and 2003.
The All-Central Region Team is loaded with players from the Big 12 Conference and K-State’s nonconference schedule this year. Nine of the 14 members of the first team play in the Big 12 with four coming from the conference champion Texas Longhorns in Khat Bell, Haley Eckerman, Sha’Dare McNeal and Bailey Webster. Iowa State’s libero Kristen Hahn and setter Allison Landwehr were selected as first team as the only other Big 12 team with multiple first team selections. Oklahoma middle blocker Sallie McLaurin and Kansas middle blocker Caroline Jarmoc also made first team. Four of the five middle blockers on the first team hail from Big 12 schools.
Also making the first team are Creighton’s Megan Bober and Kelli Browning. The Wildcats swept the Bluejays during nonconference play in a tournament hosted by Creighton.
Rounding out the first team was Wichita State’s Emily Adney and Chelsey Feekin along with North Dakota State outside hitter Brynn Joki.
Five other players joined Donahue as honorable mention with all but one being seniors. Megan Lambertson of North Dakota State, Tessa McGill of IPFW, Krista DeGeest from Northern Iowa and Iowa State’s Jamie Straube join Donahue as seniors. Sophomore Victoria Hurtt from Iowa State completed the list.
Iowa State’s Mackenzie Bigbee was named Central Region Freshman of the Year and KU head coach Ray Bechard was selected as the Coach of the Year.
The Wildcats closed their season with a 21-9 record after falling to Northern Iowa in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. It was the team’s 14th appearance in the tournament and the ninth in Head Coach Suzie Fritz’s 12 years leading the program.