Jan. 21, 2011

COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Texas A&M volleyball honored several of its outstanding players from the 2010 season at its annual banquet, held this evening at The Zone at Kyle Field.

Junior outside hitter Kelsey Black (Amarillo, Texas) took top honors as she was presented both the MVP and Best Offensive Player awards by Aggie head coach Laurie Corbelli.

In her first year as a starter, Black finished the season ranked 25th in the nation in points (4.77) per set and 31st in the nation in kills (4.08) per set. The team captain twice tied the A&M all-time record for aces in a match with six each against Sam Houston State and Pacific, and she led the Big 12 in aces (.37) per set and ranked second in the league in points, fourth in kills and 15th in digs (2.99) per set for the full season en route to earning All-Big 12 First Team honors.

A must-have on the court, Black started every match and played in all 113 sets as the Aggies went 13-17, including a 3-0 sweep against No. 8 Texas at Reed Arena. She posted double figures in kills in 25 of 30 matches, including seven matches in which she posted 20 or more kills. Black led or tied for the team lead in kills in all but one match and also led the team with 17 double-doubles.

Tori Mellinger was presented the Best Defensive Player award after a stellar season in which she led the Aggies in digs and set the A&M record with 329 digs in Big 12 matches. The sophomore libero from Dallas tallied 467 digs for the full season, fourth most in school history and the most by an A&M player since 1988, three years before Mellinger was born.

Mellinger recorded a career-high 34 digs against Missouri on Oct. 13, the most digs by an A&M player in the rally-point scoring era -- using both the 30- and 25-point scoring cap -- and ranking fifth all-time in the Aggie record books. She finished the season ranked eighth in the Big 12 with 4.13 digs per set for the full season and eighth in the league with 4.22 digs per set in conference matches only.

Mellinger led or tied for team-high honors in digs in a team-best 19 matches. She had eight matches in which she tallied 20 or more digs, and she finished the season with a team-high 25 double-figure dig performances.

Freshman Allie Sawatzky, who started every match at setter, collected the team's Most Improved Player award. Sawatzky came to A&M from St. Andrews, Manitoba, Canada, and capped her rookie campaign by being named All-Big 12 honorable mention, as well as being named to the Big 12 All-Freshman Team. In addition, Sawatzky was a three-time Big 12 Rookie of the Week.

Sawatzky led the Aggies and ranked sixth in the Big 12 with 9.71 assists per set for the full season and was seventh in the league with 9.67 assists per season in conference matches only. She ranked second among A&M players with four double doubles, including career-highs of 56 assists and 15 digs in a five-set victory over North Carolina, as well as 46 assists and a career-high 12 kills while hitting .588 at Oklahoma.

Junior outside hitter Chelsea Ringel (Arlington, Texas) was bestowed the prestigious Most Inspirational Player award for her leadership both on and off the court. Ringel played in every set and started all but one match. She was named to the Pioneer Classic All-Tournament Team after recording the first double-double of her career with 10 kills and 11 digs in the sweep against Denver. She also made her second consecutive appearance on the Academic All-Big 12 First Team and was named the State Farm Lone Star Scholar Athlete.

The winners of the team awards were determined based on a vote by both players and coaches.

2010 Texas A&M volleyball team award recipients:
MVP: Kelsey Black
Best Offensive Player: Kelsey Black
Best Defensive Player: Tori Mellinger
Most Improved Player: Allie Sawatzky
Most Inspirational Player: Chelsea Ringel

Highlights of the award recipients:

Kelsey Black - MVP, Best Offensive Player
• All-Big 12 First Team
• Preseason All-Big 12 Team
• All-Tournament Team, Texas A&M Invitational
• All-Tournament Team, Missouri State JQH Invitational
• Team captain
• In her first year as a starter, finished 25th in the nation in points (4.77) per set and 31st in the nation in kills (4.08) per set
• Led the Big 12 in aces (.37) per set and ranked second in the league in points, fourth in kills and 15th in digs (2.99) per set for the full season
• Twice tied the A&M all-time record for aces in a match with six each against Sam Houston State and Pacific
• Tallied 1,275 attack attempts, the most in a season since rally scoring began in 2001 and tying for fourth in the A&M all-time single-season records
• Posted 85 attacks attempts at Baylor on Nov. 6, an A&M record in a Big 12 match and the second most attack attempts in a match in the history of the program
• Her 28 kills against Baylor is the most by an A&M player since All-American Laura Jones had 30 vs. Northwestern on Dec. 1, 2005
• Posted double figures in kills in 25 of 30 matches
• Led or tied for the team lead in kills in all but one match and led the team with 17 double-doubles
• Led or tied for the team lead in points in all but two matches
• Had first the 20-20 performance of her career with 28 kills and 24 digs against Baylor on Oct. 6
• Recorded 20-plus kills in seven matches in 2010 and tallied three 20-plus dig performances
• Started every match and played in all 113 sets

Tori Mellinger - Best Defensive Player
• Set an A&M Big 12 season record with 329 digs in conference matches
• Had 467 digs for the full season, fourth most in school history and the most by an A&M player since 1988
• Recorded a career-high 34 digs against Missouri on Oct. 13, the most digs by an A&M player in the rally-point scoring era -- using both the 30- and 25-point scoring cap -- and ranking fifth all-time in the Aggie record books. It is the most digs by an Aggie since Erin Gibson had 35 against Colorado in 2000 and is only four shy of tying the all-time record of 38 set by Yvonne Van Brandt in 1988 and tied by Stacy Sykora in 1998 using side-out scoring.
• Ranked eighth in the Big 12 with 4.13 digs per set for the full season and eighth in the league with 4.22 digs per set in conference matches only
• Was the designated libero in all 113 sets
• Led or tied for team-high honors in digs in a team-best 19 matches
• Had eight matches in which she tallied 20 or more digs
• Posted double figures in digs in a team-leading 25 matches, including each of the last eight matches of the season
• Needs only 179 more digs to become the become the 19th player in A&M history to reach 1,000 digs

Allie Sawatzky - Most Improved Player
• All-Big 12 Honorable Mention
• Big 12 All-Freshman Team
• Three-time Big 12 Rookie of the Week
• Started every match as a true freshman
• Led the team and ranked sixth in the Big 12 with 9.71 assists per set for the full season
• Ranked seventh in the Big 12 with 9.67 assists per season in conference matches only
• Was second on the team with four double doubles, including career-highs of 56 assists and 15 digs in a five-set victory over North Carolina, as well as 46 assists and a career-high 12 kills while hitting .588 at Oklahoma
• Recorded 50 or more assists in five matches

Chelsea Ringel - Most Inspirational Player
• Academic All-Big 12 First Team
• Denver Pioneer Classic All-Tournament Team
• State Farm Lone Star Scholar Athlete
• Played in every set and started all but one match
• Posted double figures in digs in 14 matches
• Recorded the first double-double of her career with 10 kills and 11 digs at Denver
• Had two 20-plus dig performances, including a career-high 22 digs against Kansas