Junior middle blocker Chloe Mann (Gainesville, Fla.), freshman middle blocker Živa Recek (Kočevje, Slovenia) and Florida head coach Mary Wise all earned individual honors as the Southeastern Conference announced its 2012 Volleyball All-SEC Awards on Monday.
Mann was named the SEC Player of the Year, Recek earned Freshman of the Year honors and Wise received her 13th Coach of the Year nod. This is the first time since 2000 and second time in program history for Florida to receive SEC Coach of the Year, Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year. In all, five Gator athletes were honored on the All-SEC teams with four members of the Orange and Blue earning First Team honors, the most of any SEC institution.
Mann, the SEC Player of the Year and a First Team All-SEC selection, leads the Gators with a .437 hitting percentage, good for fifth in the NCAA, putting down 346 kills on the year thus far. Mann leads Florida with 1.13 blocks/set, good for third in the SEC. For her career, the junior middle blocker has 498 kills on a .451 hitting clip and is on track to break Florida’s career hitting percentage record by her senior season. She is a two-time SEC Offensive Player of the Week selection, once in both 2011 and 2012. She was named Preseason All-SEC by the league’s coaches this fall and was MVP of the Campus USA Credit Union Invitational earlier in the season. Mann is the 17th Gator to capture SEC Player of the Year honors. Mann is also a 2012 CoSIDA First Team Academic All-District® honoree and eligible for Academic All-America® honors.
Recek, the SEC Freshman of the Year as well as a First Team All-SEC and SEC All-Freshman Team selection, leads Florida in kills with 409 (4.05/set) and ranks top five in the SEC in kills and points per set (4.50). She was a four-time SEC Freshman of the Week selection, two-time SEC Offensive Player of the Week selection and is the first Gator to earn Freshman of the Year honors since Kelly Murphy in 2008. Recek is the fourth Gator in history to earn the award, joining Murphy, Angie McGinnis (2004) and Aury Cruz (2000). The Slovenia native has already blown the Florida freshman record for kills out of the water, tallying 409 on the season to break the previous record of 357 shared by Aycan Gokberk and Marcie Hampton. She is second in kills per set by a freshman behind Cruz, who crushed 4.32 kills/set during her rookie campaign.
Junior setter Taylor Brauneis (Crystal Lake, Ill.), a First Team All-SEC selection and the only setter named to the First Team, leads the conference with 11.64 assists/set. A 2011 AVCA Honorable Mention selection while at Louisville, Brauneis has turned in three double-doubles as a Gator and set a new career high with 67 assists against Tennessee. Brauneis, who is 12th in the NCAA in assists/set, is the first Gator setter in a 5-1 offense to be named All-SEC since 2007 (McGinnis). Brauneis has set the Gators to a .301 hitting efficiency in the regular season, a mark which leads the SEC and is fifth in the NCAA.
Senior right-side hitter Tangerine Wiggs (Seattle, Wash.), a First Team All-SEC selection, is second in the SEC and 30th in the NCAA in hitting percentage with a .376 offensive efficiency and is third on the team with 226 kills on the year. Wiggs has 639 kills for her Florida career, the most out of any current Gator, and is second on the team in blocks with 73 in 2012. For her career, Wiggs has 267 blocks, averaging .82 blocks/set in her three years in the Orange and Blue. Wiggs was named Second Team All-SEC last season and was honored as an Academic All-SEC selection in 2011. Wiggs is also a 2012 CoSIDA First Team Academic All-District® honoree and eligible for Academic All-America® honors.
Senior middle blocker Betsy Smith (Atlanta, Ga.) is ninth in the SEC with a .338 hitting percentage, tallying 192 kills in 2012. For her career, Smith has a .360 hitting percentage with 373 kills and is holding right around her career average in blocks, with .80 blocks/set in 2012 and .81 blocks/set for her career. Smith is a two-time SEC Community Service Team honoree, four-time Academic All-SEC selection and also received a 2012 CoSIDA First Team Academic All-District® nod, making her eligible for Academic All-America® honors.
Wise earns her 13th SEC Coach of the Year nod after leading the Gators to a 19-1 conference record in 2012. Florida was picked to finish third in the SEC Coaches’ Preseason Poll and defied the odds, sweeping 13 league matches this season and finishing the regular season with a 25-4 record. The Gators lead the SEC and rank third in the nation in offensive efficiency and are tops in the conference in service aces per set (1.43). Florida is 14th in the current NCAA RPI rankings and the Gators earned the SEC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament with their 20th SEC title.
The SEC Community Service Team will be announced tomorrow morning before five SEC teams begin their run in the postseason this weekend. No. 14 seed Florida, No. 16 seed Kentucky, Arkansas, Tennessee and Texas A&M all received bids to the NCAA Tournament and will begin play this weekend.
Courtesy of UF Communications