UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Big Ten Conference office announced the 2018 Big Ten Women’s Volleyball Postseason awards on Wednesday afternoon and the Penn State women’s volleyball was well-represented, including seeing junior Kendall White being named the 2018 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and right side Jonni Parker earning the 2018 Big Ten Freshman of the Year title.
White and Parker were both named first team All-Big Ten, with White earning it unanimously, and freshman Kaitlyn Hord and redshirt senior Bryanna Weiskircher both earned second team All-Big Ten honors. Hord and Parker were also named to the All-Freshman Team. Redshirt sophomore Kristin Krause was Penn State’s Big Ten Sportsmanship Award recipient.
For the second-straight year and the fourth time in Penn State history, the Nittany Lions took home the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honor. Junior libero Kendall White became the fourth Penn State player to earn the award, joining middle blocker Haleigh Washington (2017), middle blocker Katie Slay (2011), and libero Kaleena Walters (2005). This is White’s second-straight appearance on the All-Big Ten First Team.
White has scooped up 503 digs so far in 2018, setting a new personal best for a single season, surpassing her 500-dig season from 2016. White is just five digs from setting a new single season (25-point era, 2008-pres.) record as she looks to surpass 507 set by Alyssa D’Errico in 2010.
White also has recorded two 30-plus dig matches this season (31 vs. Nebraska, 11/2, and 32 vs. Illinois, 11/10) becoming the first Penn State player in history to have multiple 30-plus dig matches in a season, and her three total 30-plus matches (32 vs. Nebraska, 11/4/16; plus two above) are the most by any individual in Penn State history. No other Penn State player has had more than one in a career. Her two 32-dig matches stand in second place in the 25-point rally scoring era for Penn State, and her 31-dig match is good for third by itself.
Jonni Parker became the 13th Penn State student-athlete to be named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year and the first since 2014. Parker has played in 104 of the 105 sets this season for Penn State, recording a team-high 311 kills for 2.99 per set on .258 hitting. She has also added 180 digs, 76 blocks, 23 aces and 17 assists. In the Nittany Lions’ November 23 win over then-No. 3 Minnesota, Parker put down a career-best 29 kills, the most by a Penn State freshman since 2001, while hitting .265 on 68 attempts. Parker has tallied double-digit kills in 15 matches, including the last seven.
Bryanna Weiskircher earned her first Big Ten postseason honor of her career this season. The redshirt senior setter has led the freshmen-laden roster by the tune of 10.87 assists per set on the season, and an improved 11.28 in Big Ten play. She set a new career high with 63 assists against Minnesota (11/23), and has recorded 11 double-doubles with assists and digs on the season. She has also added 238 digs, 66 blocks, 61 kills, and 26 aces on the year.
Kaitlyn Hord earned both second team and all-freshman honors after putting together an impressive rookie campaign in the middle. Hord has the fifth-best hitting percentage in the Big Ten, and 22nd in the nation at .386, while averaging 2.18 kills per set. She is also averaging 1.20 blocks per set. She has six double-digit kill performances this season, including a career-high 16 in a 3-0 win over then-No. 18 Oregon.