McMahon, Birks, Jendryk Earn Big Ten Postseason Honors
Nov. 27, 2012
Park Ridge, Ill. – The Big Ten Conference honored three members of the Fighting Illini volleyball team this morning, recognizing sophomore Liz McMahon, redshirt freshman Jocelynn Birks and redshirt junior Jessica Jendryk with postseason awards. McMahon was named to the All-Big Ten team, while Birks was unanimously voted to the All-Freshman team as well as receiving All-Big Ten Honorable Mention, and Jendryk was honored with a Sportsmanship Award.
“I am excited for Liz and Jocelynn on their awards,” said Head Coach Kevin Hambly. “They both work very hard to be great players and carried huge loads for us all season, and it is nice to see them honored. They both look to be great players in the Big Ten for many years to come.”
Sophomore outside hitter Liz McMahon earns her first All-Big Ten honor after being named to the Big Ten All-Freshman team in 2011 and to the 2012 Preseason All-Big Ten team. The Liberty Township, Ohio, native finished second on the team in kills (400) and points (470.5), and third in hitting percentage (.270), blocks (97) and aces (16), while leading the Illini in solo blocks, with 12. The sophomore put together 19 double-digit kill matches and four 20-kill matches, including registering the Illini’s first 30-kill match since 2008 on Nov. 21 at Northwestern. She hit over .300 in 15 of the Illini’s 30 matches, including a .415 clip in her 30-kill match. The 6-6 outside put up 11 block assists at then-No. 6 Texas on Sept. 14, tying for eighth-most all time at Illinois, to lead the Illini past the Longhorns, 3-2. She also developed her serving technique throughout the season, putting up nine aces in the final six matches of the season, including three aces and no errors at No. 2 Penn State on Nov. 8.
Outside hitter Jocelynn Birks had a breakout redshirt freshman season, leading the Illini with 510 kills, averaging 4.15 per set, and 27 aces, and ranking second in digs (262). She became the 10th member of the 500-kill club in the final match of the season, finishing her rookie campaign ranked ninth all-time in single-season kills and recording the second-best freshman season in Illini history, following volunteer assistant Laura DeBruler’s 577 kills in 2007. In 30 matches this season, she tallied 20-or-more kills 11 times, ranking sixth all-time at Illinois, and put up 13 double-doubles, all with double-digit kills and digs. On Oct. 6, she became the 17th Illini to record a 20-20, tallying 20 kills and 23 digs against No. 1 Penn State.
Birks picked up five weekly conference honors throughout the season, the most-ever for an Illinois player, being named Big Ten Player and Freshman of the Week of Sept. 17 after leading the Illini to a sweep of the Time Warner Cable Texas Invitational, including a 3-2 victory over then-No. 6 Texas, then tabbed Freshman of the Week honors three times in the month of November. The Willow Springs, Ill., native finished the regular season ranked fifth in the Big Ten in kills and sixth in points. Additionally, she ranked 42nd overall and third among freshmen nationally in kills and 51st overall and fifth among rookies in points.
Middle blocker Jessica Jendryk was one of 12 conference players to earn the Sportsmanship Award. These student-athletes were selected by their coaches as individuals who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. They must being in good academic standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting.
“Jess is a respected competitor and set a standard for all of us when it comes to sportsmanship,” said Hambly. “I am happy that she was honored for the award.”
Jendryk appeared in four matches this season, getting into the action against UCF at the Time Warner Cable Texas Invitational on Sept. 15, then starting the final three matches of the season in Anna Dorn’s position. The Wheaton, Ill., native hit .381 with 12 kills, five blocks and an assist in 13 sets. In her first career start on Nov. 17, Jendryk led the Illini to a 3-1 victory over Michigan, hitting .571 with five kills and a block. She followed that with a .500 clip (2-0-4) and two block assists at Northwestern, then finished her career with four kills and two blocks at Iowa. Jendryk will graduate from Illinois this spring with one additional year of NCAA eligibility, after redshirting the 2009 season, which she plans to use in graduate school.
2012 Big Ten Postseason Award Winners
PLAYER OF THE YEAR