Sports

Six Cardinal volleyball players named to All-America teams

 
Merete Lutz (in the middle) is one of six Stanford All-Americans. Photo by Karen Ambrose Hickey/isiphotos.com.

Stanford sophomores Kathryn Plummer, Morgan Hentz and Jenna Gray earned first team All-America recognition from the American Volleyball Coaches Association on Wednesday. Sophomore Audriana Fitzmorris and fifth-year senior Merete Lutz were named to the second team and junior Tami Alade is an honorable mention.

Stanford's five players on the first and second teams are a program-best and its six overall tied with Penn State and Texas for the most in the nation this season. The third-seeded Cardinal (30-3) meets No. 2 seed Florida (29-1) and its first team All-America Rhamat Alhassan on Thursday at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. First serve is scheduled for 6 p.m. on ESPN.

Lutz became the 11th player in program history to become a four-time AVCA All-American. Plummer is a repeat first team pick, while Fitzmorris earned honorable mention last year. Gray, Hentz and Alade are recognized for the first time.

Gray, the Pac-12 Setter of the Year, leads the league and is fourth nationally with 12.14 assists per set. She is also third in the league with 0.39 aces per set this season. As a team, the Cardinal is the only Pac-12 squad hitting over .300 on the year at .322 -- the third-best mark in the nation. Earning her first all-conference honors this season, the Shawnee, Kansas native recently moved into the top-10 in program history with 2,557 career assists (eighth).

Hentz, who became the first Cardinal to be named the Pac-12 Libero of the Year, leads the team with 4.04 digs per set and has just 11 reception errors on the season. Her 4.04 digs per set would be the eighth-best single season mark in school history. On November 16, the Lakeside Park, Kentucky native became the 18th Stanford player since 1986 to register 1,000 career digs. She has registered double-digit digs in 26 of the team's 33 matches this season, reaching the 20-dig plateau on four occasions.

A native of Aliso Viejo, Plummer leads the Pac-12 and ranks sixth in the nation in kills per set (4.73) and points per set (5.48). The sophomore is also fourth in the conference with 0.36 aces per set and ninth with a .323 hitting percentage. The Pac-12 Player of the Year, she leads the team with eight double-doubles. She has registered 20 or more kills in 11 matches this season, including a career-best 28 in a five-set win over UCLA, and has hit .400 or better in 15 matches.

Fitzmorris, a middle blocker from Overland Park, Kansas, leads the Pac-12 and is 10th in the nation with 1.51 blocks per set. She's also second in the conference with a .386 hitting percentage. The sophomore was the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week on Nov. 20 after averaging 2.25 blocks per set against the Los Angeles schools. She has tallied six or more blocks in 14 matches this season and her .343 career hitting percentage would be the eighth-best mark in program history.

Lutz, a native of Houston, Texas, is a four-time all-conference and all-region selection for the Cardinal. The opposite is second on the team with 2.94 kills per set and third with 1.01 blocks per set. In September, she became the 18th Stanford player since 1986 to notch 1,000 career kills. Her .348 career hitting percentage is the seventh-best mark in program history, while her 503 career blocks is seventh all-time in school history.

Alade, who was recently named all-region honorable mention and All-Pac-12 honorable mention, is the only Pac-12 player hitting over .400 this season (.427). The Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada native is also second in the conference with 1.44 blocks per set as Stanford leads the Pac-12 with a .178 opponent hitting percentage. The junior has tallied six or more blocks in 13 matches this season and had a career-high 17 kills at Colorado.

The selections bring Stanford's total AVCA All-America award count to 95 honors spread over 40 players. It marks the fifth straight season in which the Cardinal has produced at least four All-Americans. Stanford's three first team selections are its most since 2014 (Inky Ajanaku, Madi Bugg and Jordan Burgess).

— Palo Alto Online Sports/Stanford Athletics

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