02 Dec

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Eckerman Garners 2nd Big 12 Player of the Year Award, Ogbogu Earns Big 12 Freshman of the Year

Eckerman celebrates with Texas volleyball team.

Eckerman earned her 2nd Big 12 Player of the year award. (Photo: University of Texas Athletics)

Eckerman repeats as Big 12 Volleyball Player of the Year, Ogbogu earns Big 12 Freshman of the Year

Junior outside hitter Haley Eckerman becomes just the fourth player in conference history to earn back-to-back POTY honors.

IRVING, Texas -- Texas’ Haley Eckerman claimed her second straight Big 12 Volleyball Player of the Year honor, while freshman Chiaka Ogbogu was named Freshman of the Year, the conference office announcedMonday afternoon. Three Longhorns join Eckerman (unanimous) and Ogbogu on the All-Big 12 First Team, as senior Bailey Webster (unanimous), junior Khat Bell and sophomore Molly McCage were also selected by the league’s head coaches.

With back-to-back Player of the Year distinctions, Eckerman becomes just the fourth player to achieve the feat. She was also named the 2011 Big 12 Freshman of the Year and is one of five players to claim both honors in her career.

Eckerman, who claims Texas' seventh Player of the Year honor, led the Big 12 in kills (4.55) and points (5.24) while ranking second in service aces (0.42) and 10th in hitting percentage (.294) in conference-only competition this season. The junior All-American led the Longhorns to a perfect 16-0 league record and a third straight Big 12 championship with six 20-plus kill performances and double-digit kills in all but four matches on the season. In overall contests, she also led the league in kills and points. Eckerman has also claimed three Offensive Player of the Week honors this season for a career total of 15 overall weekly league accolades - tied for second most in conference history.

A dual threat for the Longhorns, Ogbogu ranked second in the league in hitting percentage in Big 12-only matches (.386) and overall matches (.409), while ranking ninth (1.08) and eighth in blocks (1.09), respectively. The freshman from Coppell, Texas, has claimed three Big 12 Rookie of the Week awards this season. She is averaging 1.77 kills per set and has posted a hitting percentage of .500 or better in 12 matches in which she has recorded at least five kills. The third Longhorn to earn Freshman of the Year honors, Ogbogu also has six matches with five or more blocks. She is the only freshman on this year's All-Big 12 First Team and was unanimously selected as an All-Freshman honoree.

Including honorable mention and All-Freshman members, Texas garnered six honorees while Iowa State and Kansas each had five. 2012 All-Big 12 First Team members Zoe Adom (Baylor) and Victoria Hurtt (Iowa State) collected honorable mention. Ciara Capezio (Iowa State), Tayler Soucie (Kansas), Katie Brand (Kansas State) and Ogbogu (Texas) were selected to the All-Freshman team unanimously.

(via UT Athletics Communications)

James Schleicher is the publisher of Horns Illustrated magazine. He's also a fifth generation Texan and lifelong Austinite. Follow @HornsIllus twitter to keep up with all things Horns Illustrated.