Nzenwa, Britenriker Earn All-Region Honors
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Junior middle blocker Queen Nzenwa (Baltimore, Md.) became Kentucky’s first American Volleyball Coaches Association All-South Region selection since the 1993 season and senior middle blocker Nicole Britenriker (Cincinnati, Ohio) earned Honorable Mention All-South Region honors for the second consecutive year, as announced on Wednesday by the AVCA offices in Lexington, Ky.
“It’s a tremendous accomplishment for two of our athletes to be recognized on the All-Region Team,” UK head coach Craig Skinner said. “Queen had a fantastic year being one of the most dominant blockers in all of college volleyball. She really altered the way teams ran their offense against us. We anticipate her working even harder to take it to the next level for us during her senior season in 2008.
“This was another great year for Nicole here at UK,” Skinner continued. “She has been a major factor in why this program has made a great run over the last couple of years. Her ability to play and excel in all six rotations on the volleyball court is rare for her position. I highly doubt that any other middle blocker who made an all-region team played both front row and back two for their team.”
Nzenwa, a 2007 All-Southeastern Conference First Team selection, recorded an impressive junior season in which she became the school’s all-time career and single-season leader in block assists. Nzenwa led the SEC in both blocks per game and hitting percentage, finishing the year with a league-best .371 hitting percentage and a conference-leading 1.61 blocks per game. She was the first Wildcat to earn that distinction since Jane Belanger, Krista Robinson and Eunice Thomas earned All-South Region honors in 1993.
Nzenwa has 437 block assists for her career and looks to become the first player in school history to accumulate 500 or more block assists in a career. Nzenwa concluded the year with 174 block assists, which is the school’s all-time single-season record. Her 174 block assists in a single season ranks her eighth all-time on the SEC’s single-season block assists list.
Nzenwa’s .371 hitting percentage ranks fourth all-time in UK’s single-season hitting percentage chart and her career efficiency mark of .333 ranks third all-time on the school’s career hitting percentage list. She hit .341 in 2006, which is seventh all-time in single-season school annals, and now holds two of the school’s top 10 hitting efficiency marks.
Britenriker, a 2007 All-SEC Second Team selection, led the Wildcats with 3.90 kills per game, which ranked fourth in the SEC. She was second on the team with 1.15 blocks per game, second in hitting percentage with a .309 clip and third in digs with 2.99 scoops per game. Britenriker also was an AVCA Honorable Mention All-Region selection last season.
Britenriker finished her collegiate career with 1,262 kills, including her first two seasons at Ohio State. Her kills total would rank seventh all-time at UK if each of her kills had come as a Wildcat. In keeping all-time career lists, Kentucky record books only account for those statistics accumulated while at UK.
Britenriker registered double-digit kills in each of the team’s 32 matches her final campaign and had double-digit kills 57 times in her two-year Kentucky career. She played in each of the team’s 63 matches as a Wildcat.
Britenriker notched a team-leading 20 double-doubles in 2007 and concluded her Kentucky career with 35 double-doubles over the two-year span.
Britenriker was the only middle blocker in the Southeastern Conference to play all the way around (every rotation) this season.
Kentucky’s 2007 campaign was one of its finest in school history. The Wildcats won 22 matches and eclipsed the 20-win plateau for the first time since the 1993 campaign. UK made a school-record third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and has now won 17 or more matches in three straight years for the first time since 1991-93.