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Norton, Santos earn All-SEC accolades

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Norton, Santos earn All-SEC accolades

FAYETTEVILLE – Jasmine Norton and Raymariely Santos, members of the University of Arkansas volleyball team, were recognized for their outstanding play during the 2010 season when the Southeastern Conference postseason awards were announced Monday. Norton earned a spot on the All-SEC Second Team while Santos was named a member of the league’s All-Freshman Team.

"It’s great to see Jasmine recognized as an All-SEC player for the second year in a row," head coach Robert Pulliza said. "It’s a testament to the growth of her game and her maturity as an athlete. We look forward to watching her move forward from this second-team honor to being a first-team player as she becomes an upperclassman."

Norton finished her sophomore season as the SEC’s top attacker through the regular season with 3.83 kills per set. As the Razorbacks’ go-to player, she totaled 26 matches with double-digit kills this season; six of those with at least 20 putaways. Norton also had eight double-double performances during the year and notched the second 20-20 effort of her career, a 29-kill, 22-dig match against UAB during the non-conference schedule. Her kill total against the Blazers equaled a career high.

In the Razorbacks’ conference opener against Georgia, Norton had 24 kills to pace the team in a five-set victory. With her respective showings against UAB and Georgia, she owns two of the top five attacking performances by an SEC player this season heading into the NCAA Tournament. In the match against the Bulldogs, she also tied her career high with six service aces. In conference play, she was eighth in the SEC with 0.26 aces per set.

The Rowlett, Texas, native also continued her climb up several of Arkansas’ career lists. Norton finished her sophomore season 14th on the program’s all-time kills list with 947 career putaways. She is also third in Arkansas history with 3.96 kills per set, fifth with 4.47 points per set and 16th with 66 service aces and 2,405 total attempts.

This marks the second All-SEC honor for Norton. Last season, in addition to being named the SEC Freshman of the Year, she was voted onto the All-SEC Second Team and All-Freshman squad.

Santos worked her way into the starting lineup after spending the non-conference season as a serving specialist. She made her first career start in Arkansas’ conference opener against Georgia and responded with a career-best 50 assists while directing the team to a .316 hitting percentage in a five-set win. The Razorbacks’ offensive performance against UGA was their best of the SEC season. Santos had four matches this season with at least 45 assists and finished fourth in SEC matches with 8.75 assists per set.

"We’re very proud of Ray Santos and the work she put in this season," Pulliza said. "We’re excited that the coaches across the conference felt she was deserving of All-Freshman honors. Her maturity as a player and a person continued to grow as the season went on and it really showed as we made a good push during the second half of the conference season. We knew she would be a special player and we expect her to keep growing in the years to come."

Along the way, the Ponce, Puerto Rico, native has racked up an impressive list of regular-season honors. Santos earned three weekly conference awards, including two Freshman of the Week accolades and a Defensive Player of the Week selection. She received top defensive billing on the strength of a 22-dig performance against Ole Miss in a four-set victory for the Razorbacks. Santos is the only setter to win the conference’s Defensive Player of the Week since it was first awarded in 2003.

In addition to her work as Arkansas’ setter, Santos made an impact all over the court. She totaled 11 matches with at least seven digs and had three double-double efforts (assists and digs) during the year. Santos is the ninth player in program history to earn SEC all-freshman honors. She joins Norton and Amanda Anderson as the three all-freshman selections for Pulliza.

Download: All-SEC Awards Release.pdf



Sports Category : Volleyball (W)