The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) announced the 36th annual AVCA Division I All-America Teams for women’s volleyball today and four Big West athletes were recognized on the elite list. Hawai’i’s Nikki Taylor was named to the AVCA All-America Second Team for the second consecutive year, while teammate Emily Maglio, Long Beach State’s Nele Barber and UC Santa Barbara’s Lindsey Ruddins were named honorable mention.
Taylor is the 17th Rainbow Wahine to earn multiple All-America awards and just the fourth to do so in the last 10 years. Taylor, a senior opposite from Honolulu, O’ahu, is the reigning back-to-back Big West Player of the Year and four-time all-Big West first teamer. She led the league and Hawai’i with career-highs averaging 4.54 kills per set, 0.61 service aces per set and 5.76 points per set. She finished the regular season ranked No. 2 in the NCAA DI in aces per set; No. 5 in points per set; and No. 14 in kills per set. Taylor also led Hawai’i with 386 kills, 52 total aces, 490.0 total points, was second on the team with 97 blocks, and third on the squad with 196 digs. Her averages in kills, aces, digs (2.33), and blocks (1.15 p/set) were all career-highs. She finished her stellar career ranked in UH’s career record books at No. 12 with 1,377 kills and No. 8 with 117 service aces. In her four years, she amassed 665 digs, 373 blocks, and 1,694.5 career points.
For Maglio, a junior middle hitter from Coquitlam, B.C., Canada, this marks her first AVCA All-American honor on the indoor court after earning several accolades last season with the UH beach volleyball team, including All-America honors and the Big West Pairs Team of the Year award. On the hardcourt, Maglio was a force in the middle for Hawai’i. She lead both the league and the team overall with a .400 hitting percentage and 133 total blocks (1.33 per set). Her hitting percentage ranks at No. 14 in the NCAA and she was No. 30 in the nation in blocks per set. Maglio set new career highs across the board with 231 total kills, 56 digs, 12 solo blocks, 119 block assists, 131 total blocks and 303.5 total points.
Barber, a senior outside hitter, became the 26th player in Long Beach State women’s volleyball history to receive an All-American distinction. After earning a spot on the AVCA All-Pacific South Region team last week, the Berlin, Germany, native was included in the even more exclusive group of All-Americans. Barber was a two-time First Team All-Big West performer, leading Long Beach State in kills and digs in both of her seasons at the Beach. As a senior, she averaged 4.10 kills and 3.51 digs per set. Earlier this year, she had a career-best 25 kills at UC Irvine, one of seven times this season she recorded 20 or more kills. Barber also had 20 or more digs three times, and recorded 22 double-doubles, giving her 45 in her career.
Ruddins honor marks the first time in four years that UCSB has had an All-American recipient, with Taylor Formico the last to earn Honorable Mention honors. Ruddins is also just the third freshman in program history to be named to the team, joining Formico (2012) and Roberta Gehlke (1997). She had previously been named All-Big West First Team, Big West Freshman of the Year and AVCA All-Pacific South Region Honorable Mention after leading her team with 4.09 kills per set this season, the fourth highest mark of any freshman in the nation. Ruddins also led the team with eight double-doubles on the year and 0.53 aces per set during league play. Ruddins was one of just eight freshman out of 69 players to be named Honorable Mention. Thanks to her strong play, UCSB went 17-12 overall and 8-8 in Big West play, finishing five games better in the conference than they did in 2015.
The awards will be presented Dec. 16, 2016, in Columbus, Ohio at the AVCA All-America/Players of the Year Banquet. The event is held in conjunction with the 2016 AVCA Convention.
Each of the three AVCA All-America Teams is comprised of 14 athletes. The Division I AVCA National Player of the Year will be announced on Dec. 16 at the AVCA All-America/Players of the Year Banquet. This year’s class is led by Wisconsin Setter Lauren Carlini and Nebraska Right Side Kadie Rolfzen. They both take home their fourth AVCA All-American honor, and become just the 27th and 28th players in Division I history to accomplish that feat.