OMAHA, Neb. (Purdue Sports) — The Purdue volleyball program continued its record-setting awards season with five Boilermakers garnering Northeast All-Region honorees, the most in program history.
The accolades, announced by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) and selected by member coaches, celebrate Hayley Bush, Grace Cleveland, Caitlyn Newton and Jena Otec as first team selections, while Taylor Trammell received Honorable Mention.
Bush Is the first setter to be recognized on the first team all-region team since Val Nichol in 2013. Before being named a First Team All-Big Ten selection a week ago, Bush closed out the season averaging 10.62 assists per set and 2.82 digs per set over the 20-match season. In addition to 12 double-doubles, the setter recorded 45 kills throughout the spring, including a .500 or better attack % on five occasions this year, including seven kills and no errors at then-No. 10 Penn State. The Union, Kentucky, native continued to step up in key moments throughout the season and secured a career-best 22 digs vs. No. 6 Minnesota earlier in the year. The All-Big Ten honor is the first of its kind for Bush.
Cleveland continued her growing tradition of postseason honors, earning her second straight all-region and All-Big Ten nod. Cleveland, a Bloomington, Illinois, product set career-highs in multiple categories this season including block assists (nine on three outings) and digs (11). Registering a .299 attack percentage, Cleveland recorded double-digit kills in 13 matches this season in addition to eight with two or fewer errors. Not only did Cleveland record a .350 hitting clip or better in six times throughout the 2021 campaign, her defensive performance led to 1.42 blocks per set. Moreover, Cleveland was one dig shy of a triple threat in the victory at Penn State with 11 kills, nine digs and 10 blocks. It is the second straight year Cleveland received first team honors.
Joining Cleveland with back-to-back all-region recognition is Newton, who also received first team honors in 2019. Newton, who is also a First Team All-Big Ten selection, recorded double-digit kills in all but three matches this season, with 11 coming in consecutive fashion. With 281 kills on the season, the full-rotation hitter also recorded five double-doubles over the Big Ten campaign. Setting career-highs in kills (29 vs. No. 6 Minnesota 2/6), digs (15 vs. Illinois 4/3), block assists (6 at Rutgers 3/19) and attacks (84 vs. Minnesota 2/5) this season, Newton has played in all but one set this season.
Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Otec became the first Purdue libero/defensive specialist to be named First Team All-Region since Kim Corwin in 1983. Otec joins 2013's Carly Cramer (honorable mention) as the second defensive specialist to receive all-region honors under the Shondell era. Otec concluded the regular season with 4.59 digs per set, including two of the three most digs in a single match (including the Big Ten-best: 31 vs. Minnesota and 29 at Ohio State). The Crystal City, Missouri, native recorded a perfect 1.000 reception rate nine times this season, including at No. 1 Wisconsin, at No. 9 Ohio State and at then-No. 24 Michigan. In the second victory at No. 9 Ohio State, Otec was served the ball 34 times without a single error. Otec concluded the Big Ten season with seven 20-plus dig matches.
Trammell joins All-American Stephanie (Lynch) Harpenau as the only freshmen Boilermakers named to the all-region team this century. In her breakout year, Trammell led the team with a .397 attack %, which checks in at No. 6 overall in the Big Ten. Not only did the Lexington, Kentucky, middle blocker out-block all Big Ten freshman, sophomores, juniors and most seniors, her 1.59 blocks per set rank as the fifth-most in the nation while her 118 total blocks are the third-most in all of Division I.
Bush, Cleveland, Newton and Otec will move on for All-America consideration. The 14 person first, second and third team will be released Wednesday, April 21.
Purdue, selected as a No. 7 overall seed in the NCAA tournament, has spent five consecutive weeks in the AVCA top 10 polls. The Boilermakers are set to play the first round winner High Point or UCF on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN3.