Pittsburgh, Pa. - Georgetown University freshman middle blocker Sara Albert (Davis, Calif./Davis) was named 2001 BIG EAST Women's Volleyball Rookie of the Year by a vote of the league's 13 head coaches. It marks the fourth time since 1997 that the Hoyas have had a player selected as the conference's Rookie of the Year. Albert was also tapped for the All-BIG EAST Second Team. In addition to Albert's recognition, senior outside hitter Yulia Vtyurina (Moscow, Russia/Moscow #1415) was a unanimous selection to the All-BIG EAST First Team, while sophomore setter Jen Ward (Huntington Beach, Calif./Mater Dei) earned All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention accolades.
Albert has enjoyed an outstanding freshman season on the Hilltop, earning the league's Rookie of the Week award twice. She led the team in blocks and hitting percentage with .413. Albert also led the BIG EAST in hitting percentage in both overall matches (.413) and conference play (.408). She is ranked 10th in the nation in hitting percentage according to the latest NCAA Division I Statistical Leaders List released on November 13, one of only two freshmen break the top 30.
Vtyurina, the 1998 BIG EAST Rookie of the Year, made the most of returning to the Hoya line-up healthy in 2001, as injuries had cut both her sophomore and junior seasons short. She led the squad in kills with 486 (5.01/game) and aces with 44 (.45/game), and was second on the team in digs with 245 (2.53/game). She also had the third-best blocking numbers with 56 total. Vtyurina was ranked 15th in the country in the November 11th NCAA Division I Statistical Leaders List for kills with a 4.97 average. She posted 12 double-doubles on the season and had two games with 24 kills. Vtyurina earned BIG EAST Player of the Week twice during the season, and was tapped to the George Mason Invitational and Georgia Tech Classic All-Tournament Teams.
Ward was a solid presence in the GU line-up all season. She dished out a team-high 1,116 assists over 91 games for a 12.26 assist per game average. Ward was second on the squad in service aces (40) and fourth in blocking digs (191) and blocking (53). She also recorded 36 kills on the year. One of Ward's best performances came against St. John's when she handed out a season-high 60 assists in addition to nine digs, three blocks, two aces and a kill.
Georgetown recorded a 18-9 overall record and a 10-2 mark in BIG EAST play under third-year head coach Li Liu. The Hoyas earned an automatic berth to the 2001 BIG EAST Tournament, where they recorded a victory over Rutgers University in the semi-finals before falling to Notre Dame in the Championship match.