Northern Illinois freshman outside hitter Lauren Wicinski wrapped up her astounding rookie campaign by garnering American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Honorable Mention All-American recognition, the organization announced Wednesday.
Wicinski came to NIU as the volleyball program’s first high school All-American and now becomes the Huskies’ first freshman, and second overall (Kate McCullagh in 2006), to earn AVCA All-American status.
After becoming the first rookie to take home Mid-American Conference Player and Freshman of the Year, the Geneva High School (Geneva, Ill.) standout is the first freshman from the league to be named an AVCA All-American, and is the 11th overall.
“I am never a fan of individual accolades in coaching a team sport, but I do think that there are certain titles that are worthy to note,” said NIU head coach Ray Gooden, who has coached the only two AVCA All-Americans in NIU volleyball history. “Any time you can be named an All-American it is an amazing accomplishment, whether it’s athletic or academic. For Lauren to be put in that category in her first season as a Huskie is nothing short of amazing.”
The AVCA All-American list has been announced every year for the past 30 years. The recipients are chosen by the AVCA Division I All-American Committee. This year’s group included 14 players each on the first, second and third teams, and 70 honorable mention selections. Of the group of 112, Wicinski is one of three freshmen, and is the only Mid-American Conference representative. Since 2003, she is one of 39 rookies to achieve an AVCA All-American nod.
Leading NIU to its best MAC finish (second place) since 2001, Wicinski produced quite an indelible season.
Along with taking two of the MAC’s top regular season honors, 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.