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Hog freshmen earn All-SEC accolades

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Hog freshmen earn All-SEC accolades

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Jasmine Norton was named the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year and was joined by teammate Amanda Anderson on the All-Freshman Team when the league announced its volleyball postseason honors Monday. Norton also earned a spot on the All-SEC Second Team. She is the fourth player in program history to earn Freshman of the Year honors, joining former Razorbacks Libby Windell (1999), Jennifer Haaser (2001) and Denitza Koleva (2003).Norton is the 21st player in program history to be named to either the first or second team, while she and Anderson are the seventh and eighth SEC All-Freshman selections for Arkansas. The conference began selecting an all-freshman team during the 2003 season."We’re obviously excited about this season for Amanda and Jasmine," head coach Robert Pulliza said. "It is an honor that the conference coaches saw their efforts worthy of being named to the All-Freshman Team. We knew this freshman class would be the core of what Arkansas volleyball is all about as we move forward, so it’s great to see them get awarded right off the bat."Norton averaged a league-high 4.44 kills per game during conference play en route to earning six SEC Freshman of the Week honors, the most by a player since the inception of the award in 2005. In her final 16 matches of the season, she posted a double-digit kill mark and closed the season with eight consecutive double-double performances. Norton posted 11 matches with 20 or more kills, nine of which came during the league play."The SEC Freshman of the Year is a great award for Jasmine and she deserves it," Pulliza said. "Throughout the season, she came up with big numbers for us. She just kept getting better and better, and was playing her best volleyball down the stretch of the season. It was always exciting watching Jasmine progress through the season as her game evolved."The Rowlett, Texas, native had a career-high 29 kills in a Nov. 8 match against then-No. 19 LSU. Norton finished the match with a .386 hitting percentage, one of eight contests during the conference season in which she posted a .300-or-better attack efficiency. Her 29 kills are tied for the most by an SEC player this season and is tied for the ninth-best single-match performance in program history. Norton had four of the top 10 kill performance in the SEC this season.Showcasing her all-around talent, Norton improved her defensive status as the season went on, tallying 12 of her 14 double-doubles during SEC play. She had a career-high 21 digs in the Razorbacks’ Nov. 15 five-set victory at Alabama to go along with 24 kills to become one of the two players in the SEC to complete a 20-20 effort. Norton averaged a double-double during conference play with 17.75 kills and 10.5 digs per SEC match. Also a weapon from the service line, she was third in the conference with 0.30 aces per game.Anderson, the first recruit of the Pulliza era, led the Razorbacks in hitting percentage from her middle blocker position. She was named to the all-tournament teams at the TCU Invitational and Arkansas Invitational, and earned SEC Freshman of the Week honors the week of Sept. 7 after totaling 29 kills at a .441 hitting efficiency in the Razorbacks’ matches against UT-Arlington, Norfolk State, East Carolina and Virginia Tech."It’s really special to see this staff’s first commitment earn all-freshman honors," Pulliza said. "When we recruited Amanda, we knew she was a quality player and the kind of person we wanted to help us move in the right direction. Obviously, all of that has shown throughout the season and with this selection."She tallied 10 or more kills in 12 matches this season, including eight contests during the conference season. The Euless, Texas, native registered a career-high 15 kills in Arkansas’ Nov. 20 victory over Auburn, eclipsing her previous high of 14 putaways against Mississippi State. Anderson posted a conference season-high .455 hitting percentage with 12 kills in a four-set match against then-No. 12 Kentucky. Defensively, she paced the Razorbacks with 90 total blocks, including a pair of seven-block efforts at Tulsa (Sept. 8) and Auburn (Oct. 4).

Download: All-SEC Awards Release.pdf



Sports Category : Volleyball (W)