Jan. 29, 2010
AUBURN, Ala. - The Auburn volleyball team came together on Sunday evening to celebrate its 2009 season and to honor the team award winners.
The Tigers finished the 2009 season with a 16-15 overall mark and were 8-12 in the Southeastern Conference. Auburn concluded the year second in the SEC West and tied for fifth overall in the league. The 16 overall wins and eight SEC victories were the most the team has had since 1999.
Junior libero Liz Crouch was given the highest honor, being named the team's Most Valuable Player. The New Orleans native reached a pair of milestones during the season. On Oct. 4, Crouch became the eighth Tiger to record 1,000 career digs and now has a total of 1,234 career digs, which places her third all-time at Auburn. Crouch's 453 digs this season also put her in the records books, as that mark is the most-ever reached by a Tiger in a single season.
The Freshman of the Year award went to outside hitter Sarah Bullock. The Allen, Texas product led the team in total kills (296), kills per set (2.62) and total attempts (889), while also owning a team-best 11 solo blocks. Bullock also finished with a team-high eight double-doubles and was named SEC Freshman of the Week on two occasions. She was named to the All-SEC Freshmen team for her efforts.
The Most Improved honor went the sophomore setter Christina Solverson, who appeared in 111 of the 113 sets for Auburn. Solverson led the Auburn setting core with a 5.48 assists per set average and 608 total assists. She was also fourth on the squad with 215 total digs on the season.
The Tiger Award was given to junior Lauren Mellor, while junior Morgan Johns was named the "Unsung Hero." Mellor, who was honored for being the team's hardest worker, led the squad in blocking and finished with a career-high 97 blocks on the season. She also set a career-high in total kills (125) and attempts (317). Johns was Auburn's primary hitter on the right-side and finished second on the squad in total kills (266) and third in blocks (54).
Junior Sara Shanks and freshman Katherine Culwell earned the Aubie Award - given to the best all-around student-athlete. Shanks was second on the team with a 5.13 assists per set average and recorded a third-best 16 service aces on the year. She was named to the SEC All-Academic team for her strong efforts in the classroom.
Culwell was fourth on the squad in total kills with 224 and had a team-best 24 service aces. She earned two SEC Freshman of the Week honors during her first season with Auburn.