Volleyball: DeLaina Sarden Headlines All-American Team
On the heels of the most successful season in head coach Todd Dagenais’s tenure, the UCF women’s volleyball team saw five of its athletes honored on the 2013 All-American Athletic Conference team. Junior DeLaina Sarden was a unanimous first team selection, while senior Angelica Crump, junior Kaye-Alese Green, junior Jade Hayes and junior Marie Reiterova were all named to the second team.
Looking for an encore to her AVCA All-American sophomore campaign, Sarden took her game to new heights in 2013. The Lawrenceville, Ga., native set career highs in kills, kills per set, attack percentage, service aces, solo blocks and points. Sarden led The American with a .409 attack percentage and 494 points while ranking fourth in kills per set (3.41) and ninth in blocks (1.05). She was also honored as the league’s Player of the Week three times.
“I don’t think it’s a surprise to anyone involved with UCF volleyball that DeLaina was a unanimous first-team selection,” Dagenais said. “Her numbers are on par with athletes being considered for All-American honors. She was a stronghold of our offense all year despite being often double-teamed. The numbers that she put up were absolutely remarkable for the situations she was hitting in. Being the overall leader in points and hitting percentage for this league as a middle is quite remarkable and that makes her worth of additional honors as we get into the awards part of our season.”
Crump finished just behind Sarden with 386 kills. The Atlanta, Ga., native finished her UCF career with 1,489 kills, the most in UCF history during the rally scoring era. Green led the team with 126 combined blocks and joined Sarden as the only players to start every match this season. Reiterova led The American with 11.39 assists per set and had a career-high 13 double-doubles. Hayes came up with 530 digs in her first season with the Knights, second most in program history for a single season.
“I think that the other four athletes receiving second-team honors ended up exactly where we thought they should be,” Dagenais continued. “When you have that many players on a second team, that’s a credit to the balance of your squad. If we featured just one or two players offensively, we’d have had more first team players, but our philosophy is balance. Balanced teams often find it difficult to put additional players on the first team.”
With their conference awards in hand, the Knights will now look at AVCA national awards. Region awards will be announced Tuesday, Dec. 10 with All-America teams coming Wednesday, Dec. 18.