Sports

Stanford players earn All-America volleyball honors

 

The Stanford women's volleyball team had four players recognized when the American Volleyball Coaches Association announced its All-America selections Wednesday, including outside hitter Kathryn Plummer, named the National Freshman of the Year.

Redshirt senior Inky Ajanaku and Plummer were named first team selections, while redshirt junior Merete Lutz earned third team honors and freshman Audriana Fitzmorris was honorable mention.


Audriana Fitzmorris/Photo by Hector Garcia-Molina.
The selections bring Stanford's total AVCA All-America award count to 89 honors spread over 37 players. It marks the fourth straight season in which the Cardinal has produced at least four All-Americans.

Ajanaku is a three-time first team recipient and earned honorable mention as a freshman in 2012. Lutz, who was a two-time member of the second team as a middle blocker, now boasts her third career honor as an opposite.

Plummer, a native of Aliso Viejo, became the second straight Cardinal to be named the nation's top freshman, following Hayley Hodson in 2015. She is one of just two freshmen to be named to the first team.

Plummer became the seventh Stanford player to earn AVCA Region Freshman of the Year honors last week and was the 12th player in program history to be named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year.

She ranks ninth in the Pac-12 in kills (3.29) and points per set (3.92) this season to pace Stanford. She also leads the team with 10 double-doubles and posted a team-high in kills in 21 of the 32 matches. She was one of three Cardinal players named to the All-Pac-12 Conference team and earned Madison regional all-tournament honors.

Ajanaku is one of just two players in the nation to be a three-time first team All-American. The four-time All-Pac-12 Conference selection paces the league with 1.50 blocks per set and is second in 2016 in hitting percentage (.410), ranking in the top 15 nationally in both categories. She is also second on the team in kills (329) and points (427.5).

A finalist for the Senior CLASS Award, Ajanaku's .414 career hitting percentage is the second-highest in program history behind Foluke Akinradewo (.443). She also ranks fourth on the Cardinal's career blocks list with 610, one of four players in school history to surpass 600 blocks.

The Madison regional MVP, Ajanaku took over the regional final against Wisconsin last week, posting a season-high 20 kills and a career-best 11 blocks as the Cardinal rallied from an 0-2 deficit to defeat the Badgers on their home court.

Lutz, a native of Houston, is a three-time All-American, all-region and all-conference selection.

Switching from the middle to opposite this season, she is averaging 2.31 kills and 1.03 blocks per set while hitting .284. In Pac-12 matches, she ranked ninth in hitting percentage (.298) in the conference. Her .365 career hitting percentage is the fourth-best mark in program history. She is now 81 kills away from 1,000 for her career.

Fitzmorris was an All-Pac-12 Conference honorable mention selection and a member of the conference's all-freshman team.

She ranks third in the Pac-12 and 13thnationally with 1.45 blocks per set this season. The Overland Park, Kansas native earned three Pac-12 Freshman of the Week honors this season, along with Offensive and Defensive nods earlier in the season.

Fitzmorris was named the AVCA National Player of the Week on Sept. 6 after the Cardinal defeated then-No. 17 Illinois and swept then-No. 13 Penn State in Boulder, Colorado.

Stanford, which earned the No. 6 overall seed in the NCAA tournament, has advanced to its 20th Final Four and has amassed 113 all-time NCAA tournament victories, tops in the nation in both categories. The Cardinal will face No. 2 seed Minnesota in the national semifinals on Thursday.

— Stanford Athletics

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