Women's volleyball earns three AVCA All-America honorees

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Penn State women's volleyball team had three players earn AVCA All-American status, the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) announced Wednesday. Sophomore Deja McClendon (Louisville, Ky.) was a First Team honoree, sophomore Katie Slay (Raleigh, N.C.) was selected to the AVCA Second Team and sophomore Ariel Scott (Ridgewood, N.J.) was a Third Team pick. The AVCA Division I Player of the Year will be announced on Friday, Dec. 16 at the AVCA All-American/Players of the Year Luncheon.

This is the second award for McClendon, who was the AVCA Division I National Freshman of the Year and an AVCA Second Team selection in 2011. The honors are a first for both Slay and Scott. McClendon is one of just three sophomores named to the First Team and one of just 14 honorees on all three teams to have garnered All-America awards prior to 2011.

Penn State's three selections bring the program's total number of All-American selections to 71 since 1979. Head coach Russ Rose has now coached at least one All-American in 32 of his 33 season at the helm of the Nittany Lion program.

The AVCA honors First, Second and Third Team All-America selections, with each team consisting of 14 players per squad, along with recognizing Honorable Mention honorees. The Nittany Lions are tied for second among all schools with three total honorees. USC totaled four with three First Team picks and one third team honoree, while Texas had two players named to the First Team and one player who earned a spot on the Second Team.

McClendon earned her second national postseason honor after being named to the AVCA Second Team as a freshman in 2010. A two-time First Team All-Big Ten honoree, McClendon was a Unanimous Preseason All-Big Ten selection. McClendon, who earned a spot on the Lexington Regional All-Tournament Team, started all 33 matches at outside hitter this season and led the team with 432 kills. For the season she averaged 3.54 kills per set, which ranks 10th in the Big Ten. McClendon also ranked third on the team in digs with 245, with a 2.01 digs per set average, and fourth on the team in blocks with 61 (0.50 blocks per set).

Slay garnered the first national honor of her career. A Preseason All-Big Ten selection, Slay earned a spot on the All-Big Ten First Team and was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. A two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week, Slay led the team in blocks with 173, averaging 1.42 blocks per set. She was also third on the team with 257 kills (2.11 digs per set) with a team-best .386 attack percentage. Slay's .386 attack percentage ranks second in the Big Ten and 15th in the nation, while her 1.42 blocks per set is a league best and ranks 13th nationally. Slay started all 33 matches and 122 sets this season.

Scott also earned the first national honor of her career. Scott finished second on the Nittany Lion team with 418 kills, averaging 3.54 kills per set. The Unanimous First Team All-Big Ten honoree was third on the team in blocks with 86 (0.73 blocks per set) and has also accumulated 143 digs (1.21 digs per set). Scott's 3.54 kills per set ranks ninth in the Big Ten. She has led the Nittany Lions in kills 13 times this season.

The Penn State women's volleyball team finished 2011 with a 25-8 overall record. The Nittany Lions' season came to a close on Dec. 9 in a 3-0 loss to UCLA in the NCAA Regional Semifinals. Penn State finished the 2011 Big Ten regular season tied for second with a 16-4 record.

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Last Updated December 16, 2011