GREENSBORO, N.C. -North Carolina middle blocker Paige Neuenfeldt was chosen as the Freshman of the Year and headlines the six-person All-Freshman Team, announced Wednesday by Commissioner John Swofford.
Florida State junior middle blocker Ashley Neff has been selected as the 2012 Atlantic Coast Conference Volleyball Player of the Year, Duke junior libero Ali McCurdy has been named the Defensive Player of the Year, and Miami's Nicole Lantagne Welch was named the Coach of the Year. The awards were decided based on a vote of the league's 12 head coaches.
Neuenfeldt is the second straight Tar Heel to be named Freshman of the Year after Cameron Van Noy took the honor last season. A native of Birmingham, Mich., Neuenfeldt was the ACC Freshman of the Week five times and played a key role for North Carolina which is ranked No. 24 in the AVCA Top 25 and in sole possession of third place in the conference standings. Neuenfeldt ranks eighth in the ACC in hitting percentage (.331) and fourth in blocks per set (1.14). She closed out the season with double-digit kills in 10 of the last 12 matches as the Tar Heels went 11-1 down the stretch.
Neff, a native of Kennesaw, Ga., leads the conference and ranks sixth in the nation in blocks per set (1.65) and is 10th in the country in hitting percentage (.403). Florida State is tied for first in the conference with one match remaining and is No. 12 in the AVCA Top 25, where it has been ranked as high as No. 6 this season. Neff is the second Seminole to win garner Player of the Year accolades and first since Brianna Barry in 2009.
McCurdy has been named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year for two straight seasons. A native of Tampa, Fla., she has been selected to the All-ACC Team in all three year of her career at Duke and is just the third student-athlete to earn the defensive award since its inception in 2009. She leads the league in digs with 5.32 per set.
Lantagne Welch's Hurricanes are ranked No. 23 in the AVCA Top 25 and are 25-4 and 17-2 in conference play, tied for the league lead. Miami had to replace four starters from 2011, three that were named to the All-ACC Team including the ACC Player of the year, Lane Carico. Five different Hurricanes earned Player of the Week honors six times this season, and the squad ranks in the top four of the conference in every statistical category. This is her second ACC Coach of the Year honor after previously being recognized in 2008.
Nine different teams are represented on the All-ACC Team, led by Miami's six student-athletes. Three from Florida State were recognized, followed by two from Duke and North Carolina and one from Clemson, Georgia Tech, Maryland, NC State, and Virginia Tech.
Joining Neuenfeldt on the All-Freshman Team are Boston College's Katty Workman, Duke's Elizabeth Campbell and Emily Sklar, Georgia Tech's Chanell Clark-Bibbs, and Virginia's Natalie Bausback.
Clemson's Sandra Adeleye and Georgia Tech Monique Mead were named to the All-ACC Team for the fourth time, just the 12th and 13th in ACC history to accomplish the feat.
The 2012 regular season wraps up this week which each team playing one final regular season match. Florida State hosts Miami Friday at 1 p.m. on ESPN3, with the winner clinching the ACC Championship and the league's automatic berth in the NCAA Championship. The tournament selection show will air Sunday at 4 p.m. on ESPNU.
|2012 ACC Volleyball Individual Awards|
|Player of the Year||Ashley Neff||Jr.||MB||Florida State|
|Defensive Player of the Year||Ali McCurdy||Jr.||L||Duke|
|Freshman of the Year||Paige Neuenfeldt||Fr.||MB||North Carolina|
|Coach of the Year||Nicole Lantagne Welch||Miami|
2012 All-ACC Team
|Sandra Adeleye %||Sr.||MH||Clemson|
|Ali McCurdy #||Jr.||L||Duke|
|Christiana Gray #||Sr.||MB||Duke|
|Ashley Neff @||Jr.||MB||Florida State|
|Fatma Yildirim||Sr.||OH||Florida State|
|Sareea Freeman||Sr.||MB||Florida State|
|Monique Mead %||Sr.||RS||Georgia Tech|
|Megan Cyr||Sr.||S||NC State|
|Chaniel Nelson @||So.||RS||North Carolina|
|Emily McGee #||Sr.||OH||North Carolina|
|Cara Baarendsee #||Sr.||OPP||Virginia Tech|
|2012 ACC All-Freshman Team|
|Katty Workman||Fr.||OH||Boston College|
|Chanell Clark-Bibbs||Fr.||MB||Georgia Tech|
|Paige Neuenfeldt||Fr.||MB||North Carolina|
|@ – Two-time selection|
|# – Three-time selection|
|% – Four-time selection|