Hartong Earns All-America Recognition
The 2012 Big West Player of the Year, Hawai’i’s Emily Hartong, earned AVCA First-Team All-America status a week after being named to the AVCA All-West Region Team, as announced by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) today.
Hartong becomes the first Big West athlete to earn such an honor since Cal Poly's Jennifer Keedy collected third team honors in 2010. Pacific's Jennifer Joines was the last conference player to earn first-team status back in 2003.
During the regular season, Hartong paced the league with a 4.57 kill average and 5.22 points per set average, while ranking seventh in hitting percentage with a .283 clip. Her impressive kill average placed her among the Top 15 in the country as well. Over the course of the season the Los Alamitos, Calif., native collected four Big West Player of the Week awards and one Sports Imports/AVCA National Player of the Week selection. She also helped lead the Rainbow Wahine to a perfect conference record, as they finished 18-0 in Big West play and secured their sixth conference Championship.
This is Hartong’s second All-American accolade, having received second-team honors in 2011.
While Hartong received first-team honors, six additional athletes earned AVCA All-America Honorable Mention recognition. Included on the elite list are Taylor Formico (UC Santa Barbara), Casey Hinger (Cal State Northridge), Kayla Neto (Cal State Fullerton), Chisom Okpala (Long Beach State), Mita Uiato (Hawai’i) and Kristin Winkler (UC Irvine).
Formico made an immediate impact, not just in the Big West, but in the nation. Hailing from Mountain View, Calif., the 5-foot 7-inch libero notched 792 digs during her freshman campaign, shattering the Big West record of 652 scoops set by former Gaucho Chelsey Lowe in 2011. On the national front, Formico concluded the regular season with the country’s highest dig total, while ranking eighth in digs per set average (5.87).
Hinger, hailing from Fullerton, Calif., finished as the Big West’s top blocker this season averaging 1.34 stuffs per set and placed third on the Matadors’ squad with 277 kills. Hinger’s season total of 147 blocks is the eighth-best for a single season in CSUN history and ranks second in the Matadors’ rally-scoring era.
Neto led the Titans and ranked second in the Big West with a 4.33 kills per set average. In addition, Neto finished the year with 38 service aces to rank third in the league. The Sacramento, Calif., native owns the conference’s second-best points per set average of 5.04.
Okpala led the 49ers with a .328 hitting percentage, a mark that was third in the Big West, and ranked among the conference leaders in kills, blocks, hitting percentage, and points scored in Big West play.
Uiato, Hawai’i’s junior setter, started all 30 regular season contests for the Rainbow Wahine and placed second in the league with a 10.43 assist average. Uiato also hit .321 on the season and averaged 2.29 digs per set.
Winkler highlighted her senior year by breaking several dig records, including the Big West Conference’s career mark after eclipsing the previous mark of 2,164. With 2,260 digs, Winkler became the only Anteater to reach the 2000-dig plateau in the UCI career record books and the 5-8 talent also scooped up the UCI season record with 676.