IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa volleyball team held its year-end banquet Sunday night, celebrating its 2017 season and honoring its annual team award recipients. Freshman Brie Orr and senior Jess Janota were selected by teammates as the Most Improved Player and the Most Valuable Player, respectively, while Annika Olsen was awarded the inaugural Barb Willis Award.
MOST IMPROVED PLAYER
Orr played in all 33 matches as the setter in her first season with the team. The freshman had three matches with 50 or more assists, 13 matches with 40-or-more assists, and 23 matches with 30-or-more assists, leading Iowa with 1,201 assists in all. She chipped in 99 kills, 65 blocks, and 10 aces. Orr tallied her 1,000th career assist against No. 22 Purdue on Nov. 5 and had a personal-best 59 assists against No. 22 Michigan on Oct. 4.
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
Janota appeared in all 33 matches for Iowa and was named All-Big Ten honorable mention following the season. She ranked second on the team with 274 kills and a .304 attack percentage. The Concord, Ohio, native amassed 173 kills and 63 blocks during Big Ten play.
Janota had 12 matches with double-digit kills, 16 matches with above a .300 attack percentage, and 12 matches with over a .400 attack percentage. Janota collected her 1,000th career kill against Northwestern on Oct. 21 and finished her Iowa career with 1,080 kills, a mark that ranks No. 16 in the record books.
BARB WILLIS AWARD
The Barb Willis Award, formerly the Coaches’ Award, was instituted due to Barb Willis’ hard work, dedication, and continued service to the Iowa volleyball program. The award recognizes one player each year who has demonstrated the same character, drive, and determination as Willis.
Olsen played in all 33 matches as the libero. She was named All-Big Ten honorable mention and became the fourth Hawkeye in program history, and the first since 1989, to earn CoSIDA Academic All-America honors.
Olsen, who also received the Sportsmanship Award, led the Big Ten with 555 digs and 4.83 digs per set. She recorded 343 digs and 4.90 digs per set in Big Ten action. The senior from Johns Creek, Georgia, reached double digits in digs in 30 matches, including a career-high 29 digs twice, at Indiana on Oct. 11 and against Illinois on Oct. 20. Olsen had 10 matches with 20-or-more digs this season. Overall, Olsen finished her career ranked No. 5 in program history with 1,556 career digs.
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