Junior Alex Blair earned the first all-conference honor of her career with a spot on the BIG EAST's second team.
Nov. 27, 2013
CINCINNATI - Four members of the Xavier volleyball team garnered postseason recognition on the All-BIG EAST Conference teams. Alex Smith, Abbey Bessler and Aubree Smith were each first team honorees and Alex Blair earned second team distinction.
"I have always believed that end of the season honors are really team awards," said head coach Mike Johnson. "We're all thrilled for Aubree, Alex, Abbey and Alex. They have put in an incredible effort and have been great competitors. While we celebrate these four, I would also like to celebrate every member of our team. Having this many players honored is a sign of how strong a team we have."
Abbey Bessler has arguably put together one of the best freshman campaigns in program history. Her 441 kills sit just outside Xavier's top 10 single-season marks, and Bessler displayed acumen on both sides of the ball, also picking up 368 digs. The native of Hebron, Ky. (St. Henry HS), was twice named BIG EAST Rookie of the Week and earned five nods on the conference's weekly honor roll.
As Xavier's setter, Aubree Smith has paced a Xavier attack that has spent most of the season ranked in the top 25 nationally. The junior has handed out 1272 assists this season, 12 shy of reaching the top 10 at Xavier. Her 10.87 a/s average ranks second in the conference and 43 in the country. The St. Louis, Mo., native (Cor Jesu HS) had her best performance of the season against Marquette, dishing out 46 assists to go along with 22 digs and nine kills.
Rounding out Xavier's first-team selections is Alex Smith. The middle blocker has rewritten portions of the Musketeers' record books. She leads the conference and ranks 13th in the country with a .415 hitting percentage this year, a mark that will go down as the best in program history. A native of St. Louis, Mo. (Cor Jesu HS), Smith is also on pace to capture Xavier's career hitting percentage. Her .356 career hitting percentage is nearly 20 points higher than the current record. Smith has already broken Xavier's record for matches played with 139.
Fellow middle blocker Alex Blair earned second-team honors after establishing herself as one of the premier blockers in the country. Blair is No. 32 nationally and third in the BIG EAST at 1.32 b/s. During conference only matches, she has dramatically increased that average to a league-best 1.50 b/s. The Dublin, Ohio (Dublin Coffman), native needs just six block assists to tie Xavier's single season mark. She currently has 138 this year.
Xavier will take on Creighton in the semifinals of the BIG EAST Championships at 7:30 p.m. (ET) this Friday in Omaha, Neb.
2013 BIG EAST Volleyball Awards
BIG EAST Player of the Year
Elizabeth Koberstein, Marquette
BIG EAST Freshman of the Year
Autumn Bailey, Marquette
BIG EAST Libero of the Year
Alyssa Warren, Seton Hall
BIG EAST Coaching Staff of the Year
All-BIG EAST First Team
Belle Obert, OH, Butler
Erica Stahl, MB, Butler
Kelli Browning, MB, Creighton
Leah McNary, OH, Creighton
Autumn Bailey, OH, Marquette
Elizabeth Koberstein, S, Marquette
Meghan Niemann, MB, Marquette
Karin Palgutova, OH, St. John's
Alyssa Warren, L, Seton Hall
Abbey Bessler, OH, Xavier
Alex Smith, MB, Xavier
Aubree Smith, S, Xavier
All-BIG EAST Second Team
Morgan Peterson, S, Butler
Michelle Sicner, S, Creighton
Abbie Fleener, RS, DePaul
Danielle White, MB, Georgetown
Lindsey Gosh, RS, Marquette
Julie Jeziorowski, L, Marquette
Aleksandra Wachowicz, OH, St. John's
Shelbey Manthorpe, S, Seton Hall
Stacey Manthorpe, OH, Seton Hall
Mariah Henley, L, Villanova
Gabby Pethokoukis, MB, Villanova
Alex Blair, MB, Xavier