Three Nittany Lions earn AVCA All-Mideast Region honors

University Park, Pa. — The No. 8 Penn State women's volleyball team (28-5) collected five All-Mideast Region honors, the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) announced Tuesday (Nov.7). Senior Blair Brown (Purcellville, Va.), senior Arielle Wilson (Broadview, Ill.) and freshman Deja McClendon (Louisville, Ky.) were three of 14 players named to the all-region squad. In addition, McClendon was named the Mideast Region Freshman of the Year and head coach Russ Rose was honored as the Mideast Region Coach of the Year.

The Nittany Lions' three all-region honors bring Penn State's total number of honorees to 69 in program history. The three individuals are now eligible for AVCA All-America honors, which will be announced in conjunction with the NCAA Championship in Kansas City, Mo. on Dec. 16 & 18.

This is the third honor for both Brown and Wilson and the first for McClendon. McClendon is Penn State's fifth AVCA Regional Freshman of the Year and the second on this year's squad, as sophomore Darcy Dorton (Muncie, Ind.) picked up the award in 2009. This is the eighth Mideast Region Coach of the Year award and the fourth straight for Rose.

Brown, the 12th overall and sixth straight Nittany Lion to earn Big Ten Player of the Year honors, earned her third straight regional honor. Brown, a three-time All-Big Ten selection is a two-time AVCA All-America honoree. Brown has started all 33 matches this season and leads the Nittany Lions with 451 kills, averaging 4.10 kills per set on .318 hitting. She is second on the team with 241 digs (2.19 digs per set) and is third on the squad with 97 total blocks (0.88 blocks per set). Her 4.10 kills per set ranks second in the Big Ten and 29th nationally, while her .319 attack percentage ranks ninth in the league. Also, her 4.72 points per set ranks second in the conference. In 2010, Brown was a Unanimous Preseason All-Big Ten pick and earned Player of the Week laurels three times. She surpassed the 1,000 career kills milestone this season and has 1,226 kills for her career heading into NCAA Regional play.

Wilson earned her third regional honor after also being picked in 2008 and 2009. A two-time AVCA All-American, Wilson was a unanimous selection to the All-Big Ten First Team in 2010. So far this season, Wilson leads the team and ranks sixth in the nation with a .424 attack percentage. Her 295 kills (2.68 kills per set) ranks third on the team, while her 123 total blocks (1.12 blocks per set) is a team-best. She recently surpassed the 600 career blocks milestone to become the fifth Penn State player in program history to reach the mark and only the 10th player in Big Ten Conference records. Wilson also surpassed the 1,000 career kills milestone this season and has 1,075 kills heading into NCAA Regional play.

A Penn State player has been selected Mideast Region Freshman of the Year five times in the last eight years. She joins Cassy Salyer (2003), Nicole Fawcett (2005), Megan Hodge (2006) and Dorton (2009). The Big Ten Freshman of the Year, McClendon is a five-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week. She ranks second on the squad this season with 364 kills and ranks seventh in the conference with a .332 attack percentage. Her 3.34 kills per set rank second on the team and she is averaging 1.86 digs per set. A First Team All-Big Ten selection, McClendon has 74.0 total blocks for the season.

Rose secured his fifth honor as Mideast Region Coach of the Year after also being named Big Ten Coach of the Year for sixth consecutive season and 12th time overall. He holds a career record of 1,029-164 in his 32 seasons at the helm of the Penn State program. In 2010, Rose guided the Nittany Lions to their 14th overall and eighth straight Big Ten title. Rose has led the program to four national titles (1999, 2007, 2008 & 2009) and will lead the Nittany Lions into the NCAA Regional Semifinals for the 22nd time in program history on Dec. 10 against Oklahoma. Under Rose's tutelage, the women's volleyball program has been invited to all 30 NCAA Tournaments since the event's inception in 1981. Penn State is one of just schools, the other being Stanford, to make an appearance at every postseason event.

What's Next?
Penn State, the No. 4 seed, and Rec Hall serve as one of four host sites for the NCAA Regionals on Dec. 10-11. The Nittany Lions take on Oklahoma on Friday at 7 p.m. in Rec Hall. Duke faces Missouri in the other regional semifinal match at 5 p.m. The winner of both matches will play on Saturday, Dec. 11 at 6:30 p.m. in Rec Hall. The two matches on Friday will be streamed live on NCAA.com, while Saturday's match will air on ESPNU.

ALL SESSION tickets for the University Park Regional on Dec. 10-11 are also on sale NOW. They MUST also be purchased in advance at the Bryce Jordan Center Ticket Office or by calling 814-865-5555. All session tickets are $16 for adults and $10 for youth and students with a valid college or university ID and $8 for groups of 20 or more. SINGLE SESSION tickets for the University Park Regional will only be available at Rec Hall on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 10-11, and are $10 for adults, $7 for youth and students and $5 for groups. The first 300 students will be admitted free with a valid Penn State ID.

Contacts: 
Last Updated December 10, 2010