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Purdue sets multiple records in All-Big Ten Volleyball Awards

With the Big Ten's release of postseason awards, five Boilermakers received All-Big Ten accolades, including a program-record four First Team All-Big Ten honors in addition to Jena Otec's selection as the first Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year in program history.

Posted: Apr 8, 2021 3:13 PM
Updated: Apr 8, 2021 9:31 PM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Purdue Sports) — With the Big Ten's release of postseason awards, five Boilermakers received All-Big Ten accolades, including a program-record four First Team All-Big Ten honors in addition to Jena Otec's selection as the first Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year in program history.

Receiving First Team All-Big Ten honors were Hayley Bush, Grace Cleveland, Caitlyn Newton and Otec. Meanwhile Taylor Trammell secured All-Freshman Team recognition.

In total, five Boilermakers were recognized in the awards, voted on my league head coaches.

Senior Jena Otec received her first All-Big Ten nod, securing Defensive Player of the Year in addition to her first All-Big Ten accolade. Not only is it Otec's first postseason award of her collegiate career, but the first Boilermaker to receive defensive player of the year since it was created in 2001.

Otec, who held the libero position, closed out 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.

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.

A difference-maker on both offense and defense, Bush averaged 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.

Newton, who received second team honors in 2019, 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.

Trammell was the first Boilermaker to be named to the All-Freshman team since 2014 (Danielle Cuttino). In her breakout year, Trammell led the team with a .397 attack %, which checks in at No. 6 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 check in at No. 5 nationally while her 118 total blocks are the third-most in all of Division I.

In addition to the program-record four first team honorees, No. 9 Purdue ties No. 1 Wisconsin as the most recognized by a single program.

Purdue, ranked No. 9 in the AVCA poll, secured its third 14-win Big Ten season in program history, despite two canceled matches during the season.

Up Next
The Boilermakers received the No. 16 overall seed in the NCAA volleyball tournament and are set to play its first match in the second round on Thursday, April 15 at 3:30 p.m. ET against the winner of UCF/High Point. The match will be available to watch on ESPN3.

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