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BYU volleyball: four Cougars collect All-America honors

By Rachel Hawks

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 12 2012 11:57 a.m. MST

PROVO, Utah — The American Volleyball Coaches Association named junior opposite hitter Jennifer Hamson a 2012 Division I First-Team All-American, the association announced Wednesday.

Senior middle blocker Nicole Warner, senior setter Heather Hannemann and freshman outside hitter Alexa Gray were also included on the honors list, receiving All-America Honorable Mention accolades.

“To be named All-American is an impressive accomplishment,” BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “I’m so proud and happy for each one of these girls. They are beyond deserving. Collectively as a program it shows our strength as a team and everyone on our team contributed to these awards.”

Hamson led the Cougars to a 28-4 season record, BYU’s best finish since 1999, and a spot in the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2007. During the season Hamson totaled 458 kills (4.09 per set) while hitting .362. She also had 206 digs (1.84 per set) and 328 blocks (1.26 per set).

Hamson was named All-Pacific Region First Team, West Coast Conference Player of the Year, WCC Player of the Month for September and November, and WCC Player of the Week three times. The 6-foot-7 opposite hitter was also included in the Omaha Regional All-Tournament Team. Hamson entered BYU’s 1,000-kills club in November and is currently 11th all-time in team history. Last season, Hamson received All-America Honorable Mention accolades.

Hannemann, a native of Alpine, Utah, averaged 11.17 assists per set for the Cougars (1,251 total) and ended her career with 2,486 assists, good for eighth place in BYU history. She averaged 2.41 digs (270 total) and had 38 blocks. A two-year starter, Hannemann also received All-WCC Honorable Mention and All-Pacific Region Honorable Mention.

In her debut season as a Cougar, Gray was second on the team in kills with 365 (3.26 per set) while hitting .308. Her kills total included 19 double-figure outings. She also totaled 67 blocks and 71 digs. Gray was named WCC Freshman of the Year for her performance and received All-Pacific Region Honorable Mention.

Warner, a native of Rigby, Idaho, led the nation in blocks per set through most of November, finishing with 202 total and a 1.80 average. She also led the Cougars in hitting percentage at .423. Warner set her career high in blocks with 17 against Loyola Marymount in October, good for No. 3 in BYU’s record books for blocks in a match.

Warner finishes her career No. 3 all-time at BYU for career block assists and No. 4 all-time for total career blocks. Warner is also No. 4 for hitting percentage in a single season and tied for fourth for season block assists with Nina Puikkonen’s total (189) in 2000. Her 1.80 blocks per set ranks No. 6 for season block average.

The last time a Cougar received All-America First Team honors was in 2000, when Puikkonen received the award.

For a complete list of All-America honorees, visit the AVCA website.

Rachel Hawks is the women's volleyball sports information director for BYU Athletic Communications.

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