Keala, Mariani Receive Big Ten Honors

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IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa senior volleyball players Loxley Keala and Ashley Mariani earned recognition from the Big Ten Conference on Tuesday. Keala was named honorable mention All-Big Ten and Mariani was honored with the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award. Keala is Iowa’s first All-Big Ten selection since Sara Meyermann was named first team in 2001.
“This is a great honor for Loxley and our program,” said UI head coach Bond Shymansky. “Being recognized as one of the best players in the Big Ten is a significant symbol of the hard work and growth that Loxley has experienced during her career as a Hawkeye. I know that she will obviously give the credit to her passers and hitters for the award. She has had a tremendous impact on our offensive balance and our team culture.”
In just two years with the program, Keala became one of eight players in program history to record 2,000 or more assists. Keala tied her career-high with 64 assists against No. 3 Minnesota on Oct. 21, but topped that with a new personal-best 65 assists against No. 24 Illinois on Oct. 29. The Kaneohe, Hawaii, native ranks seventh all-time in the Hawkeye record books with 2,459 career assists.
Keala finished the season with six double-doubles which was highlighted by a double-double against Minnesota (64 assists, 10 digs) and one against Nebraska (23 assists, 10 digs). Overall, she had two matches with more than 60 assists, 13 contests with 40-or more assists and 22 matches with 30-or-more assists.
During the 2016 regular season, Keala racked up 1,212 assists to rank No. 5 in the Big Ten and No. 37 nationally. With an average of 11.02 assists per set, the senior concluded the regular season fourth in the conference and No. 26 in the nation.
Mariani played in 32 matches this season and tallied 221 kills. She racked up 71 blocks (four solo, 67 assisted) and 19 digs.
“Ashley has gotten better every season here at Iowa, and she became a go-to hitter for us this past fall,” said Shymansky. “She played with intensity, determination, focus, desire and skill. The best part, is that she did it all with a happy heart and a great attitude.  Ashley is a competitor of character, and she earned the Sportsmanship Award with class and distinction.”
The Arlington, Texas, native registered seven matches with double-digit kills. The highlight of her season was a personal-best 15 kills and a career-high .636 hitting percentage against No. 3 Wisconsin on Oct. 22.