The Big East announced the postseason awards for volleyball on Tuesday afternoon, and boy let me tell you, the Big East coaches are big fans of everything going in in Milwaukee.
The top line item as I see it is that Marquette sophomore Yadhira Anchante has been named Setter of the Year in the Big East. In addition to that big time news, five Golden Eagles are on the Big East’s 18 woman all-conference team. That is the most representatives from any single team in the league, beating out the four players from fellow co-champions Creighton. Anchante and junior middle blocker Carsen Murray are both unanimous choices for the team, and they are joined by redshirt freshman middle blocker Hattie Bray, junior outside hitter Aubrey Hamilton, and sophomore outside hitter Jenna Reitsma.
In addition to that fun, both Bray and right side hitter (and converted setter) Ella Foti were named to the Big East’s All-Freshman team. Given her appearance on the all-conference team, you are probably not surprised to learn that Bray was a unanimous choice for the Freshman team and was one of just two unanimous picks along with Big East Freshman of the Year Ava Martin from Creighton. Marquette is the only team to put two players on the All-Freshman squad.
Onwards to official writeups! Here’s what the league said about Anchante’s single honor:
Yadhira Anchante, a two-time NJCAA Division I Player of the Year, earns BIG EAST Setter of the Year recognition during her first stint with the Golden Eagles. Originally from Lima, Peru, she’s tied for first for assists in conference play, averaging 11.35 (681). Overall, Anchante ranks second in the BIG EAST with 1062 assists over 98 sets (10.84). The sophomore was named BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week twice this year, earning the recognition in both the first (9/26) and (11/21) last weeks of conference play.
Marquette’s press release on the awards elaborated on her play during her first season at the Division 1 level:
Anchante guided Marquette’s offensive attack to a league-best .306 hitting percentage and 14.98 kills per set in BIG EAST action. The two-time NJCAA National Player of the Year posted 11.35 assists per set in league play and on the year is averaging 10.84 assists and 2.62 digs per set with 32 total service aces, 33 blocks and an individual hitting percentage of .406. She has a team-high 13 double-doubles and recorded her first NCAA triple-double against Butler on Sept. 24 with 10 kills, 46 assists and 13 digs.
We continue with the MU press release for Hamilton:
Hamilton leads the Golden Eagles with 320 kills (3.37 per set) on the year and is hitting .248 with 2.18 digs and 0.52 blocks per set along with 23 total service aces. The junior transfer posted a season-high 18 kills in her season debut at No. 11 Kentucky and leads MU with 371 points (3.91/set).
An All-BIG EAST Preseason Team selection, Murray is sixth nationally in hitting percentage (.427) to lead the league. She also ranks second in blocks per set (1.10) and earned weekly league recognition four times this season, including offensive player of the week honors on Nov. 14.
Bray earned a redshirt last season with Murray and All-BIG EAST performer Savannah Rennie in starting middle blocker roles. She finished this regular season second to Murray in the conference in hitting percentage (.350) and averaged 2.10 kills and 0.77 blocks per set while starting all but one match.
Reitsma posted 2.72 kills and 2.72 digs per set with 33 total blocks while leading the Golden Eagles with 44 service aces. The Lowell, Michigan native plays all six rotations, had a career-high six aces in the sweep of UConn on Sept. 30 and has nine double-doubles on the year.
Foti burst onto the scene this year with a 12-kill, nine-dig performance in MU’s Aug. 26 win at Kentucky and hit .400 with 12 kills and a pair of blocks in her native Madison against then-No. 6 Wisconsin on Sept. 2. For the season, she is hitting .314 with 2.22 kills and 1.19 digs per set with 24 total service aces and 35 blocks. Foti has been on Marquette’s campus since the spring of 2021 but is on the all-freshman team after not being eligible to compete in 2020-21 as an early enrollee and earning a medical redshirt last fall.
In other awards news, Creighton took home both Player of the Year for outside hitter Norah Sis and Freshman of the Year for outside hitter Ava Martin. Butler’s Jaymeson Kinley was named Libero of the Year for the second straight year because that’s what happens when you lead the league in digs for two straight years. Finally, Xavier’s staff lead by head coach Christy Pfeffenberger was named Coaching Staff of the Year as the Musketeers reached the conference tournament for the first time since 2016. This isn’t even a “yes, but six teams” situation as Xavier is the #3 seed and would have still qualified if it was still a four team tournament like it has been the past several seasons.
Marquette returns to action on Friday in the Big East tournament semifinals with first serve on FloSports set for 4pm Central. We’ll have to wait for Wednesday afternoon to know who they’ll be facing, as they received a bye to the semifinals and they’ll be opposed by a winner from Wednesday’s St. John’s/Connecticut first round contest. If MU wins, they will advance to Saturday’s championship match, which is scheduled for 5pm Central time and will be broadcast on FS2.
You can check out the entire Big East press release on the awards right here.