For the second consecutive year, Allie Sawatzky (St. Andrews, Manitoba, Canada) took home the team’s MVP award. The senior setter captained Texas A&M to a 19-12 record in 2013 and its third consecutive NCAA second-round appearance.
Sophomore Shelby Sullivan, a middle blocker from Richardson, Texas, was presented the Best Offensive Player award, and senior libero Heather Reynolds from Wharton, Texas, received the Best Defensive Player award.
In addition, redshirt freshman middle blocker Jazzmin Babers (Bowling Green, Ohio/Waco Midway High School) was the recipient of the Most Improved Player award, and junior defensive specialist Hannah Hood (Austin, Texas) was presented the Most Inspirational Player award, as voted by her teammates.
Sawatzky, a two-time Honorable Mention All-America selection by the American Volleyball Coaches Association, led the Southeastern Conference with six triple-doubles (assists, kills, digs) and 21 double-doubles for the full season. A member of the All-SEC Team, the multidimensional lefty not only averaged 9.97 assists per set, but she also averaged 2.14 kills per set while hitting .303. The attacking-minded setter tallied 10 or more kills 13 times in 2013, hitting a combined .451 when posting 10 or more kills. She also averaged 2.32 digs and 2.53 points per set for the full season.
Sawatzky completed a stellar four-year career having started every match (123) -- all at the setter position -- and playing in 452 of 455 total sets. She finished her tenure ranked third in the A&M career records with 4,547 assists and is 10th in career points with 936.5.
Sullivan was on the receiving end of many of Sawatzky’s sets and proved to be A&M’s go-to terminator on offense. Sullivan started every match and played in every set for the Aggies in 2013. An All-SEC Team selection, the J.J. Pearce High School product averaged 2.75 kills per set and hit .386 for the full season, ranking second in the A&M all-time season records behind former All-American Sherri Brinkman, who hit .400 as a junior in 1984.
Reynolds appeared in all 31 matches, spending the first part of the season as a defensive specialist and taking over the libero position for the final 13 matches. She led the Aggies and ranked 10th in the conference with 3.52 digs per set in SEC matches only. Reynolds was named SEC Defensive Player of the Week on Nov. 25 after averaging 6.62 digs per set in stellar back-to-back performances at Kentucky and Georgia. Her 18 digs at Kentucky was the most digs by an A&M player in a three-set match in 2013, and her 35 digs at Georgia is the most by an A&M player in the rally scoring era -- including when the 30-point cap was in effect (2001-07) -- and ties for fourth all-time in school history. She concluded her career by posting double-figure digs in each of the last 11 matches of the season.
In her first season of action, Babers joined Sawatzky and Sullivan in the starting lineup for every match. She hit .285 and averaged 1.92 kills and 2.65 points while playing in every set and also finished the season with 128 block assists, ranking sixth in the A&M all-time single season records. Babers, who was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team and twice earned SEC weekly honors, averaged 1.31 blocks per set, ranking 39th in the nation and second in the SEC. She had five matches in which she recorded nine or more blocks, including a career-high 11 blocks against No. 7 Michigan on Sept. 13. The 11 blocks is the most blocks by an A&M freshman since 2001.
Hood, the only junior on the 16-member squad, was presented the prestigious inspirational award for her team-strengthening commitment, trust and knowledge. She has been described as the ideal teammate with a tremendous work ethic and positive attitude both on the court and in the classroom. In addition, Hood is always eager to improve and contribute every day, and she exudes a reassuring confidence that heartens those around her.
After the season highlight film, produced by Julie Hebert and 12th Man Productions, was shown, head coach Laurie Corbelli concluded the evening by recognizing team administrator and Texas A&M senior associate athletics director and senior women’s administrator Penny King, who retired today after serving 41 years with the school’s athletic department.
2013 Texas A&M Volleyball Awards:
MVP: Allie Sawatzky
Best Offensive Player: Shelby Sullivan
Best Defensive Player: Heather Reynolds
Most Improved Player: Jazzmin Babers
Most Inspirational Player: Hannah Hood
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