Aliyah Carter punctuated a remarkable debut volleyball season at Kansas State University with three Big 12 Conference honors on Thursday.
The 5-foot-9 outside hitter from Dubuque Wahlert landed a unanimous position on the Big 12’s first-team all-conference squad while being named the league’s freshman of the year and a member of the six-player all-freshman team. The 15-player first team included seven other unanimous selections and only two other freshmen.
The honors were selected in a vote of the league’s head coaches, who were not permitted to vote for players from their own institution. Carter became K-State’s second Big 12 freshman of the year, joining Kylee Zumach, who claimed the title in 2014.
“One of her big advantages was that she came in last spring, so she’s not a first-semester freshman,” Kansas State coach Suzie Fritz said earlier this season. “I think for a lot of players in terms of adjusting to speed and power and those types of things, she had a semester to be able to do that. We had a pretty good idea that she was going to be an impactful part of the team.
“I think the thing I’m most pleased with is how Aliyah’s all-around game is coming along. We this spring have started to ask more of her in terms of her responsibilities. Sometimes when you start to ask more and they take on other responsibilities, other things suffer. In her case, every time she has an opportunity to go, we see her growing as a complete volleyball player.”
As the season progressed, Fritz used Carter in all six rotations.
Carter turned in 4.11 kills per set and 4.47 points per set — both the highest rates by a freshman in program history. Her kills-per-set average is the fourth-best mark by a Wildcat in the rally-scoring era (since 2001) and broke Cari Jensen’s freshman record of 4.00 that stood since 2000.
During her initial campaign, Carter shattered K-State’s freshman single-match kill record, recording 27 against Texas State on March 4. She totaled six matches with at least 20 kills and owns the top three kill totals as a Wildcat freshman.
“Aliyah has always been a super reliable hitter,” Kansas State senior setter Shelby Martin said. “Whenever we are out there in a pinch she is definitely one of the ones that I rely heavily on because she is so consistent and she can always put the ball down regardless of who we are playing. She’ll always play hard regardless of what’s going on on the other side of the net.”
Carter earned Big 12 rookie of the week on five occasions and Big 12 offensive player of the week once to set a single-season program record for weekly honors during the Big 12 era. In the month of March, she claimed three rookie honors and the offensive player of the week award.
The Wildcats finished 13-8 overall and 10-6 in the Big 12.