Three Players Named All-Southeastern Conference

Nov. 29, 2010

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -

Three University of Kentucky volleyball players earned All-Southeastern Conference honors it was announced Monday night. Sophomore Stephanie Klefot was tabbed as the conference’s Libero of the Year, while senior Lauren Rapp was named the Co-Scholar Athlete of the Year.

Rapp was one of nine players selected for the All-SEC First team, while Klefot earned second-team honors. Freshman Whitney Billings rounds out the honors for the Blue and White with a selection to the All-SEC Freshman team.

Kentucky’s senior captain, Rapp, has been a vital member of UK’s team in her final campaign and throughout her career in the Bluegrass. Rapp is now a four-time All-SEC selection with her honor as first-team in her final season. She had previously twice been named to the second team and was an All-SEC Freshman team member in 2007.

Rapp was also named along with Tennessee’s Nikki Fowler as the Scholar Athlete of the Year. She is just the second player in school history to claim the honor along with Danielle Wallace in 2005. Rapp is an elementary education major who maintains a 3.84 grade point average. She is a two-time CoSida/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District selection and a three-time Academic All-SEC team member. She has also achieved dean’s list status in every semester of college.

On the floor, Rapp became the 14th player in school history to tally 1,000 career kills this season. She currently ranks seventh all-time with 1,270 career hammers. An excellent blocker as well, Rapp ranks second all-time in school history with 420 block assists. She has posted 100 or more combined blocks in all four seasons at UK. For the season, Rapp averages 2.71 kills per set on .295 hitting and 1.05 blocks per stanza.

“Both honors are well deserved for Lauren,” UK coach Craig Skinner said. “She has committed herself since January and she’s been an integral part of our success all year long. We’re all very proud of her.”

Klefot, just a sophomore, wins the first Libero of the Year in UK history and is just the second player in to win the overall Defensive Player of the Year. Former player Jenni Casper was twice named the Defensive Player of the Year prior to the inception of the new award.

The Louisville native has been a major factor in guiding the Wildcats to their sixth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. An All-SEC Freshman team selection a season-ago, Klefot became just the fifth player in school history to total 500 or more digs in a single season with 511 for the year. She led the conference with 4.65 digs per stanza and also charted a conference-leading 344 digs for the SEC season. Her 29 digs in the upset victory over LSU is a career-high which earned her SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors.

“We’ve felt all along that Steph has been the best at her position,” Skinner said. “She has certainly proved she is an excellent defensive player with her play and her ability to serve-receive most of the court for us. Her passing numbers and digs per set have been off the charts. The future of our defense is certainly in great hands.”

Billings is the sixth player under Skinner to earn All-SEC Freshman team honors. The Helena, Ala., native leads the Wildcats with 2.73 kills per set and ranks second on the squad with 2.33 digs per stanza. Billings has led UK in kills on 12 occasions this season and totaled a season-best 23 kills against Florida State earlier this year. The first-year player posted seven double-double efforts this season including four in league play.

“Whitney quickly embraced the role of a six-rotation player,” Skinner said. “She really thrived as one of our primary passers and as an outside hitter. This is a great honor for Whitney knowing she has only just begun to scratch the surface in her potential.”

The first and second teams are nine-member teams voted on by the league coaches while the freshmen team has seven members named to it.

Kentucky returns to action on Friday, Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m. ET. The Wildcats will appear in their sixth consecutive NCAA Tournament as they face No. 16 overall seed Purdue in West Lafayette, Ind.

Follow along with UKathletics.com for the most up-to-date information regarding the Kentucky volleyball team and all of UK’s 22 sports.

All-Awards

Player of the Year: Kelly Murphy, Florida
Libero of the Year: Stephanie Klefot, Kentucky
Freshman of the Year: Desiree Elliott, LSU
Co-Scholar-Athletes of the Year: Lauren Rapp, Kentucky; Nikki Fowler, Tennessee
Coach of the Year: Mary Wise, Florida First Team

All-SEC
Lauren Bledsoe, Florida
Kelly Murphy, Florida
Callie Rivers, Florida
Lauren Rapp, Kentucky
Angela Bensend, LSU
Desiree Elliott, LSU
Regina Thomas, Ole Miss
Nikki Fowler, Tennessee
Kayla Jeter, Tennessee

Second Team All-SEC
Kayla Fitterer, Alabama
Jasmine Norton, Arkansas
Morgan Johns, Auburn
Cassandra Anderson, Florida
Kristy Jaeckel, Florida
Valentina Gonzalez, Georgia
Stephanie Klefot, Kentucky
Michele Williams, LSU
Ashley Newsome, Mississippi State
Leah Hinkey, Tennessee

All-Freshmen Team
Raymariely Santos, Arkansas
Camila Jersonsky, Auburn
Chanel Brown, Florida
Whitney Billings, Kentucky
Desiree Elliott, LSU
Juliette Thevenin, South Carolina
Kelsey Robinson, Tennessee