The 2016 NCAA season was the first in the history of our humble, but growing, community here at VolleyMob. Our staff is made up of longtime coaches, players, and supporters of the game, but this was our first chance to really attack the sport from a different perspective — from the media side — and we could not have been more fortunate. The 2016 season was as interesting of a season as we can remember, with the Stanford roller coaster and the general uncertainty all season about who the best teams in the country were.
This week, we will present our inaugural end-of-season VolleyMob awards, starting with our Third-Team and Second-Team All-America honors. For each level of All-America recognition, we’ve selected six players plus a libero. The week will culminate with us naming our National Freshman and National Player of the Year.
Samantha Seliger-Swenson, sophomore setter at Minnesota
- Named Big Ten Setter of the Year.
- Ranked first in the NCAA in total assists (1,465) and eighth in assists per set (11.63).
- Her season-high 66 assists came against Iowa in October.
- Minnesota finished 29-5, falling to eventual national champion Stanford in the Final Four.
Ebony Nwanebu, junior outside hitter at Texas
- Led Texas with a .379 hitting percentage.
- Ranked 25th in the NCAA in hitting percentage.
- Added 17 aces, 140 digs, and 74 blocks.
- Texas finished 27-5, falling to Stanford in the championship.
Inky Ajanaku, redshirt senior middle blocker at Stanford
- One of two players in the NCAA to be a three-time AVCA First-Team All-America.
- Ranked third in the NCAA in total blocks (192), sixth in blocks per set (1.54), and 13th in hitting percentage (.407).
- Her career hitting percentage of .413 is the second-highest in school history.
- Stanford finished 27-7 and won the NCAA title.
Micaya White, freshman outside hitter at Texas
- Led Texas in kills (479), kills per game (4.03), and points (551).
- Added a team-best 25 aces.
- Recorded nine double-doubles.
- Her season-high 26 kills came against Oklahoma in September.
Sarah Wilhite, senior outside hitter at Minnesota
- Named Big Ten Player of the Year.
- Ranked 13th in the NCAA in points (599.5) and total kills (537), and 21st in total attacks (1,385).
- Led Minnesota in total kills, kills per set (4.26).
- Added 29 aces and 327 digs.
- Finished with 13 double-doubles.
Lauren Carlini, senior setter at Wisconsin
- Ranked third in the NCAA in assists per set (11.81) and total assists (1,441).
- Her assists per set stat is best in the Big Ten.
- Her season-high 62 assists came against Ohio State on Dec. 9.
- Led Wisconsin with 34 aces and added 320 digs and 88 kills.
- Wisconsin finished 28-5, falling to Stanford in the Elite Eight.
Justine Wong-Orantes, senior libero at Nebraska
- Named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.
- Led Nebraska with 482 digs and 4.23 digs per set.
- Finished with 1,890 career digs, a school record.
- Her season-best 35 digs came against Minnesota in October and set a school record for single-match digs.
- Nebraska finished 31-3, falling to Texas in the Final Four.