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Volleyball brings in 5 Big Ten awards

December 3, 2013
	<p>Senior outside hitter Lauren Wicinski high-fives some young fans before the game against Minnesota on Nov. 23, 2013, at Jenison Field House. The Spartans lost to the Golden Gophers, 3-1. Khoa Nguyen/The State News </p>

Senior outside hitter Lauren Wicinski high-fives some young fans before the game against Minnesota on Nov. 23, 2013, at Jenison Field House. The Spartans lost to the Golden Gophers, 3-1. Khoa Nguyen/The State News

Photo by Khoa Nguyen | The State News

With the regular season over, five MSU volleyball players were honored as Big Ten post-season award winners on Tuesday.

Junior libero Kori Moster was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight year. Senior outside hitter Lauren Wicinski was a unanimous All-Big Ten selection, with senior middle blocker Alexis Mathews and Moster being named honorable mentions. For the second straight season, senior setter Kristen Kelsay was the Sportsmanship Award winner, and freshman outside Chloe Reinig was selected to the All-Freshman team.

The Spartans have three All-Big Ten selections for the first time since 2003. The five honorees are a program-high, matching the 1995 season.

Moster, who is the only player in MSU history to garner a Defensive Player of the Year selection, has now done it in consecutive years. She is the second player in conference history to earn more than one Defensive Player of the Year honor. Former Minnesota libero Paula Gentil won three in a row, from 2002-2004.

“It was great that we had so many players recognized by the league,” said head coach Cathy George. “Obviously it’s the first time in MSU history that we’ve had two Defensive Player of the Year awards, and Kori has definitely done her part to deserve that and to stand out in the Big Ten over the last couple years.”

Wicinski’s unanimous All-Big Ten selection is also the second straight. The honor caps off a stellar regular season for the the outside hitter that saw four Big Ten Player of the Week selections and a career kill count that currently stands at 2,376, good for the highest total in MSU history and 14th all-time in NCAA history.

“(Wicinski) no doubt has been the leading kill-getter in this league and one of the most revered players in the Big Ten Conference,” George said. “Well-deserved honor for her.”

Kelsay earned the Sportsmanship Award for the second time for her career, becoming the second two-time winner in MSU history. George said Reinig was a part of a competitive freshman class. For the coaches to select her amongst a crowded field, George said, is a noteworthy accomplishment.

“Just for this program in general, it’s awesome,” Moster said. “What Cathy George and the whole coaching staff has done in their years here, and seeing the program in general getting awards is really attributed to them.”

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