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July 10, 2012All-Americans, professional draft picks, a bevy of first-team All-Big Ten selections and some conference champions highlight our annual list of Purdue's athletes-of-the-year.
We hit No. 4 on our series today, as GoldandBlack.com takes a subjective look at the top 10 Boilermakers from 2011-12.
Bio: A junior with a killer right arm
Summary: Ariel Turner is a feared hitter.
The junior, an outside hitter on Purdue's volleyball team, helped the Boilermakers to one of their finest seasons ever, as they finished 29-5, advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament and tied for second in the loaded Big Ten, their best place since 1987.
And Turner was at the forefront. The 6-foot-1 native of Highlands Ranch, Colo., was named a Purdue Athlete-of-the-Year, the third volleyball player ever to earn such an honor, was Big Ten Player-of-the-Year and was AVCA first-team All-American.
She could be dominant on the court, with a kills per set average of 4.84 and points per set average of 5.46 that led the conference and ranked in the top six nationally. Five times this season, she was named the Big Ten Player-of-the-Week.
A mechanical engineering major, Turner was a second-team academic All-American, as well.
Analysis: Purdue's had plenty of greats come through West Lafayette during its recent NCAA Tournament streak - five Sweet 16s since 2005 - but Turner might be right at the top.
She's deadly from her outside hitter position, but is good defensively good, averaging 2.84 digs per set, the second most on the Boilermakers. Turner's simply a great all-around player, and with her returning in 2012, one of the reasons why Purdue has high hopes for another deep run in the NCAA Tournament.
No. 10: Ricardo Allen
No. 9: Jennifer Rabot
No. 8: Brittany Rayburn
No. 7: Joe Haase
No. 6: Leah Eber
No. 5: Laura Gonzalez-Escallon
No. 4: Ariel Turner
No. 3: Wednesday
No. 2: Thursday
No. 1: Friday
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