– The University of Arkansas volleyball team has garnered four conference honors with Monday’s release of the 2012 Volleyball Southeastern Conference Awards. Amanda Anderson
was voted the SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Roslandy Acosta
earned a spot on the All-SEC First Team, Jasmine Norton
was named an All-SEC Second-Team performer and Liz Fortado
was placed on the SEC All-Freshman Team. The Razorbacks’ four SEC selections represent the program’s largest single-season collection since 2003.
“I’m extremely proud of our team and extremely proud of these players for being recognized,” head coach Robert Pulliza
said. “When you get this many individual awards, it shows the commitment of this team to each other. Individual awards are a reflection of hard work and collective effort and that’s what these players and this team have committed to doing.”
Anderson is the third SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year in program history, and first since 2004. The Euless, Texas, native earned a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology (P-12 physical education) in three years with a 3.839 grade-point average. She currently owns a 3.75 GPA as a graduate student while pursuing a master’s degree in recreation/sport management.
On the court, Anderson enjoyed a career-best SEC season with a .353 hitting percentage and 2.38 kills per set during conference play. She also had 10 matches with a .400 hitting percentage or higher and eight matches with double-digit kills, including a career-high 16 kills at Ole Miss.
In her second season with the Razorbacks, Acosta tallied 18 double-digit kill matches during the SEC season, including a career-high 17 kills in Arkansas’ come-from-behind win over Kentucky. She finished the regular season with 14 straight matches with 10 or more kills. From her outside hitter position, Acosta had 12 matches with a .273 hitting percentage or higher including a .667 (12-0-8) effort against Missouri.
Over the final 11 matches of the season, the Vargas, Venezuela, native has averaged 3.18 kills per set and 2.71 digs per set to go along with six double-double performances. Defensively, Acosta scooped a career-high 20 digs in the five-set win over Kentucky.
Norton is just the second player in program history to earn four All-SEC honors during her career (Libby Windell, 1999-2002). She finished the conference slate with 15 double-digit kill matches, including a pair of season-high 22 kill performances against Florida and Kentucky. Norton had 11 matches with at least 15 kills and had at least nine kills in 19 of the Razorbacks’ 20 SEC matches. Nine of her 15 double-doubles this season came against SEC opponents.
The Rowlett, Texas, native is the only player in the SEC ranked in the top 20 of kills (ninth, 3.59 k/s), service aces (0.28 sa/s), digs (18th, 3.04 d/s) and points (eighth, 4.13 p/s). Norton has moved into eighth place on the SEC all-time kills list with 1,783 career kills. She is the first player to crack the league top 10 since 2006.
Fortado is the fourth all-freshman selection under Pulliza. During her first SEC season, she tallied 12 matches with at least seven kills while hitting .250 or higher in nine of those matches. Fortado had seven matches with a .308 hitting percentage or higher, including a .556 (11-1-18) performance against Alabama. In Arkansas’ conference finale, the left-handed opposite registered a career-high 13 kills against South Carolina.
The Flower Mound, Texas, native opened her SEC career with 11 kills and three total blocks against Florida. She matched the 11-kill effort two more times during the year and also established a season-high six total blocks in a straight-set win over Auburn. Fortado started every match of the SEC season.
The Razorbacks earned an at-large bid into postseason play when the field of 64 was announced for the 2012 NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship. With the selection, Arkansas will be making the program’s 10th NCAA appearance. Arkansas will play its first-round match against Wichita State this Friday. The match will begin at 4 p.m. (CT) at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kan.
With no ties broken in the coaches’ vote, this year’s first team includes 10 players while the second team consists of 11 players. For more information regarding Razorback volleyball or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com. Fans can also keep up with Arkansas volleyball with the team’s sport-specific RazorbackVB Facebook and Twitter pages.
SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year
, Senior, Middle Blocker
All-SEC First Team
, Senior, Outside Hitter
All-SEC Second Team
, Senior, Outside Hitter
SEC All-Freshman Team