Nov. 15, 2006
New Orleans - For the second-straight season a member of the Tulane volleyball team was named Conference USA Freshman of the Year. Outside hitter Ksenija Vlaskovic was named the top rookie by C-USA today, with last year's winner Sara Radosevic earning First Team All-Conference Honors in 2006. Vlaskovic, Jenn Miller and Jen Linder were named to the C-USA Second Team.
"To have four of our seven starters earn All-Conference awards reveals the total team effort that this season has been," head coach Liz Kritza said. "Having our most successful C-USA season to date is due largely in part to Sara's leadership and scoring ability, Ksenija's rapid development on the outside, Jen Linder's presence and consistency in the middle, and Jenn Miller's solid back row play. These are well deserved honors for our players, and certainly something to be proud of. I think they achieved those honors because they put the success of the team first. Our goal has not been individual achievements, but winning as a team."
Radosevic, a sophomore from Zagreb, Croatia, is second in Conference USA and eighth in the NCAA in kills per game with 5.41. The three-time C-USA Player of the Week is also 30th in the NCAA and is third in C-USA in service aces per game (0.56).
As well as the Freshman of the Year award, Vlaskovic earned a spot on the All-Conference USA Second Team. The outside hitter ranks 10th in C-USA in kills. The Serbia & Montenegro native averages 3.72 kills per game and has recorded nine double-doubles on the season, including the last two matches. In her last four matches, she is hitting .386 with 62 kills against just 11 errors.
Linder, a 6-0 sophomore from Austin, Texas, leads Conference USA in hitting percentage at .431. Earlier this season, she was among the NCAA leaders in hitting percentage, but dipped below the NCAA minimum attempts requirements after missing a match due to injury. Her .465 mark in C-USA matches also leads the conference, and she has posted a hitting percentage of .400 or higher in 15 of 25 matches this season. She added herself to the Tulane top single-match hitting marks twice this year, with a .714 effort against SMU (sixth-best) and .706 against Southern Miss (eighth best). Entering the season, Tulane had seen a player hit over .700 in a match just 10 times.
Miller, a freshman from San Pedro, California, is second in C-USA in digs with 5.18 per game. With 487 digs on the season, she owns the freshman record for most digs in a season at Tulane, and is just seven digs back of tying Karlyn Daly's all-time single-season record at Tulane with 494 in 2003. She has double-digit digs in all but one match this season, and 15 or more digs in 18 of 25 matches.
Vlaskovic and Miller also garnered All-Rookie Team membership. All four of the Tulane student-athletes garnering C-USA accolades are freshmen or sophomores, as Tulane has just one senior (Sara Thorson). "These awards show the potential that all of our young players have," Kritza continued. "This season is a clear step in the right direction the program but we are looking for continual improvement in each of our players to realize their full potential. If they work hard and continually raise the bar , it bodes well for the future of our program."
"I am confident that these young players will continue to develop as they work with our extremely capable assistant coaches. Sinisa has a great handle on international recruiting and is to credit for bringing in another Freshman of the Year, but his ability to develop young players into successful competitors is second to none. Katie does a tremendous job as well with training our setters and with ensuring that all our players are learning how to maximize their experience as student-athletes both on and off the court."
The Green Wave (15-10) completed the regular season with a school-best 11-5 conference mark, and the highest ever finish for Tulane in C-USA play (tied third). Tulane earned a bye in the C-USA tournament for the first time in school history and will play in the quarterfinals as the number four seed on Friday, at 2 p.m. against the winner of 12-seed UCF and 5-seed UAB.