Feb. 19, 2011
DeKALB, Ill. - Northern Illinois freshman outside hitter Lauren Wicinski was named 2010 CVU.com Freshman of the Year by Collegiate Volleyball Update (CVU), the organization announced Friday.
The latest honor for the Geneva, Ill. (Geneva H.S.) native is another first for the NIU volleyball program. Wicinski arrived on campus as the program's first high school All-American, became the first freshman to earn AVCA All-American status and is the only Mid-American Conference player to win the league's Freshman of the Year and Player of the Year awards in the same season.
"This award, along with the other prestigious honors she has received this year, is the result of the team's fantastic season," said NIU head coach Ray Gooden. "She couldn't be in this position without her teammates. She has helped the program reach a national level and for her to be recognized as the Freshman of the Year is outstanding. It's another accomplishment from a really positive 2010 campaign."
The criteria CVU's award are based on players who played in 50 percent or more of their team's matches with the decision being made using individual performance, contributions to the team and players who look to have the potential to make a future impact.
Wicinski led the Huskies to their best MAC finish (second place) since 2001 and put together an extraordinary season in doing so. Along with previously mentioned accolades, she was a First Team All-MAC and MAC All-Tournament selection. Additionally, she collected three all-invitational selections, including being chosen MVP of the Illinois-Chicago Invitational, and five MAC West Division Offensive Player of the Week accolades, an NIU career record.
The rookie's statistics were prominent among the MAC and NCAA all year. Wicinski led the nation's freshmen and the MAC in points (5.63), kills (4.82) and aces (0.54); ranked with the nation's leaders in points (fifth), kills (sixth) and aces (10th); her kill (636) and ace (71) totals rank second and fourth, respectively, on the NCAA's all-time single season 25-point set lists, third and second on NIU's all-time single season lists, and fifth and 10th on the MAC's all-time single season lists; she scored double figures in points in all 35 matches and tallied double figure kills in the last 34 matches; served up multiple aces on 17 occasions; totaled 16 kill-dig double-doubles; and notched multiple blocks in 16 matches.
With the marvelous freshman campaign, Wicinski is continuing her family's Huskie legacy. Her mother, Gina (Graf), was a standout on the court from 1983-87 and ranks in NIU's top-15 in aces, kills, points, solo blocks and digs. Her father, Rob, was an outstanding linebacker on the football team from 1981-85 and was a key performer on the NIU 1983 California Bowl championship team.