Dec. 12, 2012
By Andrew Jennette
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - UCF volleyball's star sophomore DeLaina Sarden earned Honorable Mention All-America honors from the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Wednesday. Sarden became just the fourth athlete in program history to earn the noble distinction.
Prior to Sarden claiming honorable mention, only former Knights Jenny Frank and Rachel Vukson as well as current teammate Angelica Crump have been recognized by the AVCA for their talents on the court.
We knew that DeLaina had the type of performance that warranted an honor like Honorable Mention All-America. But you're never sure if someone is actually going to get that award, head coach Todd Dagenais said. It's voted upon by a committee in a room and sometimes the committee has never actually seen the candidate play live and is only going off the video highlights. For them to recognize DeLaina's talents and her impact on our program is something we're all very thankful for.
It goes without saying that we're extremely proud of DeLaina and all of her accomplishments thus far in her career. It's great to know that her best days are still ahead of her. Becoming an All-American is a very complex process. First you have to have the performance on the floor and that performance has to come against quality teams. Then the tough process begins.
Joining Crump as the only sophomores to ever earn Honorable Mention All-America status, Sarden put up strong two-way numbers in just her second year of action. The 6-foot-1 middle blocker smacked 269 kills on the year for a .352 hitting percentage. She also accumulated 127 total blocks and 16 service aces which gave her 359 points for the season. She was named to the AVCA Midwest All-Region First Team, All-Conference USA First Team and ranked second in the league in attack percentage as well as third in the conference in blocks per set (1.24).This is the second-consecutive year that Sarden has been honored with a major award as she was named the C-USA Freshman of the Year in 2011.
The truly difficult part of the All-America process is putting together a worthy All-America tape. There are three people in particular that went above and beyond and did so in a very tight timeframe, Dagenais explained. Credit goes to assistant coach Nicki Holmes for adding his expertise throughout the process and huge thanks also go to multimedia producer Chip Fontanazza and volleyball sports information director Andrew Jennette for doing the tedious work that goes into creating the supporting documentation and piecing together highlight clips in accordance with the stringent requirements of the AVCA.
It was truly a team effort and this is one of those situations where DeLaina was really dependent on the support staff of the volleyball program to allow her to shine. This All-American honor is not only enjoyed by DeLaina, but it's enjoyed by all the people that worked together to make sure she was honored at the highest possible level.