BRYAN, Texas – The Texas A&M volleyball annual awards were presented at the team’s end-of-the-year celebration dinner Friday night at The Traditions Club.
Junior setter Allie Sawatzky (St. Andrews, Manitoba, Canada) took home the team’s MVP award, having helped direct the Aggies to a 25-6 overall record, the second round of the NCAA Championship and the Southeastern Conference Western Division title with a 16-4 record in A&M’s first season competing in the league.
Seniors Alisia Kastmo, an opposite hitter from Tyler, Texas, and Lindsey Miller, a middle blocker from Katy, Texas, were presented Co-Best Offensive Player honors, and senior libero Megan Pendergast from League City, Texas, received the Best Defensive Player award.
In addition, fifth-year senior Stephanie Minnerly (Arlington, Texas) was the recipient of the Most Improved Player award, and senior outside hitter Tori Mellinger was presented the team’s Most Inspirational Player Award, as voted by her teammates.
Texas A&M head coach Laurie Corbelli also was recognized for posting the 500th victory of her head coaching career as well as her 400th win at the helm of the Aggies, two milestones reached simultaneously with the Aggies’ 3-0 victory over Texas State in the 2012 season opener.
Sawatzky, who has started every match in her career, orchestrated an A&M offense that led the SEC and ranked in the top 15 in the nation in both kills and assists per set. She was named honorable mention All-America and All-South Region honorable mention by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) and also was an All-SEC second-team selection in 2012 after averaging 10.31 assists per set. Sawatzky led all SEC setters with 1.82 kills per set while hitting .274. In addition, she averaged 2.03 digs per set, registered 11 double-doubles and was named to two all-tournament teams and was an SEC Offensive Player of the Week selection. Sawatzky will enter her senior campaign with 3,440 career assists, ranking third in the A&M career records.
Kastmo was one of Sawatsky’s main targets and proved to be A&M’s go-to-player on offense. A starter in every match this season, Kastmo led the Aggies and ranked in the top 10 in the SEC in kills (3.54), aces (0.24) and points per set (4.01) to earn honorable mention All-America, All-South Region and All-SEC first-team laurels. She led A&M in kills in 17 matches and posted double figures in kills in 24 of 31 matches and tallied 20 or more kills in a team-high four matches.
Miller completed her stellar-four career having started every match and leading Texas A&M in hitting percentage, blocks and blocks per set every year. This season she hit .363, sixth-best in A&M history and fourth among players in the SEC and 41st in the nation in 2012. She also ranked seventh in the conference with 1.06 blocks per set.
The team co-caption garnered honorable mention All-America, All-South Region honorable mention and All-SEC first-team accolades and also was named to the Texas A&M Invitational All-Tournament Team and was a candidate for the national Senior CLASS Award in 2012. Miller capped the regular season by posting her 1,000th career kill and being named SEC Offensive Player of the Week. She completed her collegiate career ranked third in the A&M all-time career records with 409 block assists, fifth with a .311 career hitting percentage and sixth with 462 total blocks.
Pendergast was the starting designated libero in all 31 matches and led A&M and was 11th in the SEC with 3.90 digs per set in all matches in 2012. She also led A&M and was seventh in the conference with 4.10 digs per set in SEC matches only. The first A&M player to garner SEC weekly awards when she was named the league’s Co-Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 1, Pendergast posted double-digit digs in a team-high 24 matches and also led the team with six 20-plus dig performances. She took team-high honors in digs in a team-leading 18 matches this season, including a career-high 32-dig performance against Arkansas, marking the second most digs by an A&M player during the rally scoring era -- including the 30-point scoring cap period -- and tying for eighth in the A&M all-time match records. She finished the season with 441 total digs, tying for seventh in the A&M all-time season records.
Minnerly received most improved honors by starting all 31 matches this season after appearing in only 15 matches and 19 sets in 2011. She finished the season second among A&M starters and 19th in the SEC with a .268 hitting percentage in all matches and second among A&M starters and 14th in the SEC with a .283 hitting percentage. Minnerly hit .700 [15-1-20] at Missouri, tying for fifth in A&M records for highest hitting percentage in a single match with 20 or more attempts. Her .700 hitting percentage performance also tied for the highest in the SEC in 2012 when taking 20 or more swings. Minnerly also had a career night in the Aggies’ win at Arkansas, posting eight blocks, the most blocks by an A&M player in 2012.
Mellinger, the team’s designated libero her first two seasons, started all 31 matches at outside hitter as a senior and led the team with 14 double-doubles. The most complete player on the team, Mellinger was second on the squad with 2.74 kills for the full season and 2.76 kills per set in SEC matches only. She also was second on the team and 16th in the SEC with 3.18 digs per set for the full season and second on the team and 16th in the SEC with 3.37 digs per set in SEC matches only. The team co-captain and Dallas native posted double-figure digs in 20 matches and double-figure kills in 17 matches in 2012.
Selected to both the SEC Community Service Team and the Delaware Invitational All-Tournament Team, Mellinger finished her career ranked second in the A&M records with 1,480 career digs, the most by an A&M player in the rally scoring era, including the 30-point scoring cap which began in 2001.
The dinner concluded with a season highlight film produced by Samantha Renteria and 12th Man Productions.
2012 Texas A&M Volleyball Awards:
MVP: Allie Sawatzky
Co-Best Offensive Players: Lindsey Miller, Alisia Kastmo
Best Defensive Player: Megan Pendergast
Most Improved Player: Stephanie Minnerly
Most Inspirational Player: Tori Mellinger