NEW ORLEANS (SBC) – Western Kentucky's Melanie Stutsman and Arkansas State's Megan Baska were named Rising Stars for the freshman class in 2010 by Collegiate Volleyball Update (CVU.com), announced by the organization on Friday.
Northern Illinois' Lauren Wicinski was named the 2010 CVU.com Freshman of the Year.
The pair were just two of 18 freshman in the country selected as Rising Stars and marked the second consecutive year the Sun Belt has had a freshman named a Rising Star. FIU's Jovana Bjelica was named a Rising Star after the 2009 season when she earned AVCA All-American honors and helped lead the Panthers to a 32-4 season and an NCAA Tournament berth.
Stutsman has had an impressive freshman campaign. She was named SBC Freshman of the Year and a member of the All-Conference Second Team in addition to her Region Freshman of the year and AVCA All-American honors. The Floyd Knobs, Ind., native set her team to a .294 hitting percentage which ranks seventh in the country and first in the Sun Belt. Stutsman saw action in all 121 sets in 2010 at the setter position. The freshman has collected 1,289 assists for an average of 10.65, which ranks third in the conference and 52nd in the nation in assists per set. Stutsman helped lead the Lady Toppers to their fifth trip to the NCAA tournament and first since 2008.
Baska also had a stellar collegiate debut in 2010. She was selected as the Defensive Player of the Year and earned All-Sun Belt Conference Second Team accolades. The Overland Park, Kan., native earned conference Defensive Player of the Week honors in her first collegiate weekend and was selected four times for the honor in 2010. Baska leads the Red Wolves with 497 digs so far this year and has etched her name in the record book already, taking over 10th place on the season digs chart. Her 5.07 digs per set average ranks in the top-ten among league players and in the top-50 nationally. She has also added three kills, 18 service aces and 64 assists so far this season.
To be considered as a CVU.com Rising Star, a student-athlete must have played in 50 percent or more of her team's overall games. The selections were made based upon individual performance, contributions to the team and potential future impact.
CVU.com's Rising Stars
* Taylor Akana, OH, Siena
* Megan Baska, L, Arkansas State
* Desiree Elliott, MB, LSU
* Chloe Ferrari, MH, San Diego
* Falyn Fonoimoana, OH, USC
* Kristina Graven, OH, Cal Poly
* Haleigh Hampton, MB, Long Beach State
* Molly Kreklow, S, Missouri
* Deja McClendon, OH, Penn State
* Andrea McHugh, OH, Notre Dame
* Sallie McLaurin, MB, Oklahoma
* Lena Oliver, L, Western Michigan
* Jenna Orlandini, L, Washington
* Lauren Plum, S, Oregon
* Garyn Schlatter, S, Portland State
* Maddie Simpson, S, High Point
* Melanie Stutsman, S, Western Kentucky
* Ashley Wittman, OH, Minnesota