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Wisconsin volleyball: Carlini and company pick up All-American honors

Sophomore Lauren Carlini, senior Courtney Thomas and junior Taylor Morey lead the awards charge for a Wisconsin team that fell two sets short of a return trip to the NCAA semifinals.

UW Athletic Communications

Though the season didn't end how they would have like, falling 3-1 to Penn State in the NCAA tournament quarterfinals, several Wisconsin women's volleyball players wrapped up the year with impressive individual honors.

Led by First Team All-American setter Lauren Carlini, a total of five Badgers were recognized Wednesday when the American Volleyball Coaches Association announced its All-American teams.

Carlini was named the Big Ten Player of the Year in 2014 after ranking second in the conference in assists per set and third in service aces per set. On Thursday, Carlini was also nominated for the 2014-15 Honda Volleyball Sport Award. The sophomore from Aurora, Ill., was a second-team All-American selection a year ago.

In addition, senior hitter Courtney Thomas and junior libero Taylor Morey were named to the All-American Second Team. Morey doubled as the Big Ten's Defensive Player of the Year this season.

Receiving honorable mention All-American nods were starting middle blockers Dominique Thompson and Haleigh Nelson.

Nelson, Morey and Carlini will form the core of next year's team, as Wisconsin (31-3) loses stalwarts Thomas, Thompson, Ellen Chapman, Deme Morales and three others to graduation. Kelli Bates, a Big Ten All-Freshman pick, will also return for head coach Kelly Sheffield.

Those interested can sign up to attend the team's annual awards banquet at Union South on January 17.