Wednesday, 21 February 2024

International Volleyball

Skinner and Elliott of Texas, Pitt’s Babcock lead 2023 All-Americans

Skinner and Elliott of Texas, Pitt's Babcock lead 2023 All-Americans

For the third year in a row, a Texas Longhorn is the national player of the year.

This year it’s junior Madisen Skinner, the outside hitter who was the Big 12 player of the year and then had a tremendous NCAA Tournament. Skinner is joined on our first team by Texas teammate Asjia O’Neal, the middle who was outstanding all season. Together they were a wrecking crew as the seventh-seeded Longhorns won last Sunday’s NCAA Division I Volleyball Championship in Tampa to give their school back-to-back titles.

Our All-American teams and top honors are presented by the Pro Volleyball Federation, which begins its inaugural season next month.

The three other semifinalists are represented on our first team. Nebraska has junior right side Merritt Beason and junior Lexi Rodriguez, Wisconsin has senior outside Sarah Franklin (who was the AVCA national player of the year), and Pittsburgh has Olivia Babock, our national freshman of the year.

Also receiving votes for player of the year, an award won the past two seasons by Logan Eggleston of Texas, were Franklin, Beason, Arizona State’s Marta Levinska, Jillian Gillen of Arkansas, Stanford’s Kendall Kipp, Louisville’s Anna DeBeer and USC’s Skylar Fields.

Babcock, also the AVCA national freshman of the year, narrowly beat out Nebraska’s Bergen Reilly for the honor. Others receiving votes were Florida’s Kennedy Martin, Purdue’s Chloe Chicoine and Nebraska’s Harper Murray.

Our national coach of the year is Jerritt Elliott of Texas, whose Longhorns were 5-3 early in the season but continually improved, right through the final weekend when they beat third-seeded Wisconsin in the semifinals and then swept top-seeded Nebraska in the championship match.

Elliott, who won his third NCAA title at Texas, edged Nebraska’s John Cook. Just behind was Arizona State’s JJ Van Niel. Others receiving votes were Missouri’s Dawn Sullivan, Pittsburgh’s Dan Fisher, Jason Watson of Arkansas and Sara Thomas of Eastern Illinois.

We have a separate story on Skinner and a video interview with her, and we also have an interview with Elliott that will post Saturday.

A couple of notes about our selection process. Our panel included many of our Super 16 Media Poll voters and a handful of other experts who vote for us annually. They were instructed to pick four teams and each team had to include a setter and a libero. For the top honors, they listed their…

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