UK's Klefot named SEC Libero of Year for third straight time

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Senior libero Stephanie Klefot was honored as the Southeastern Conference’s Libero of the Year for the third-consecutive season to lead Kentucky’s All-SEC selections.

In addition to the defensive player of the year honor, Klefot was named All-SEC second team. Junior Whitney Billings was a first-team honoree for the second-straight season and freshman Sara Schwarzwalder was tabbed to the All-Freshman team.

Klefot becomes the first player in conference history to earn SEC Libero of the Year honors in three straight seasons. The Louisville, Ky., native averaged 4.09 digs per set in her final campaign and topped double-figures 24 times this season. Klefot charted more than 400 digs for the third-straight season and rose to No. 4 all-time in the history of the conference for career digs with more than 1,800.

She becomes just the third player in the Craig Skinner era to earn All-SEC honors in all four seasons joining Lauren Rapp (2007-10) and Queen Nzenwa (2005-08) as the others to achieve the feat.

Billings is a first-team honoree for the second straight season after turning in the best season of her career. The Helena, Ala., native ranked first for the Wildcats with 3.03 kills per set and 30 aces. She then tallied the second-highest totals in digs (2.72 p/s) and blocks (0.83 p/s). She logged a career-high 16 double-double efforts including 12 in SEC action.

Schwarzwalder adds to the string of All-SEC Freshman team accolades under Craig Skinner’s tutelage. A UK player has garnered All-SEC Freshman team honors in every season in his coaching tenure. Schwarzwalder was a full-time starter for UK and posted 1.55 kills per set while charting more than 80 blocks on the season.

The first and second teams are nine-member teams voted on by the league coaches while the freshmen team has seven members named to it.

The Wildcats were selected to their eighth consecutive NCAA Tournament on Sunday night. UK will open the 2012 tournament with East Tennessee State on Friday, Nov. 30 at 7:30 p.m. ET at home in Memorial Coliseum.