Nov. 13, 2012
By Andrew Jennette
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - On the heels of its most successful season ever in Conference USA, the UCF women's volleyball team saw DeLaina Sarden and Angelica Crump named to the All-C-USA Team Tuesday afternoon. The two winners give the Knights nine since joining C-USA in 2005.
Appearing as UCF's second ever All-C-USA first teamer is Sarden, followed by Crump, who appeared on the squad for the second-consecutive year by nabbing a spot on the second team.
Head coach Todd Dagenais is thrilled by the honors his team received as voted on by fellow coaches in the league. Bouncing back from a 3-10 start to win 11 of their last 15 matches, Dagenais knows his team came has come a long way this season.
"It's always interesting to look back just five years ago when this team was 1-31 in conference play (06-07), Dagenais said. If you look at the big picture, we've now had back-to-back years where we've set a new standard of achievement in the C-USA standings as we finished third in the league this year. Conference USA a league that has been very good to us. We've played against a lot of great players and coaches, some of which we'll continue to see on a yearly basis and some that we'll leave behind as we make our transition to the BIG EAST and we will miss them."
Following a strong freshman season that saw her earn C-USA Freshman of the Year honors in 2011, Sarden took her game to another level in 2012, proving to be a force on both sides of the net as she leads the squad in attack percentage (.358), combined blocks (105) and blocks per set (1.03). Her attack percentage and blocks per set ranked her second and third in the league respectively.
"DeLaina has stepped into such a major role for us this season and has improved her blocking and defensive game to the point where she's one of the premier middle blockers in the league, Dagenais said. She has put herself in a position where she's going to be a major threat as we make the transition to the BIG EAST next year. She's worked so hard at her all-around game, knowing what her weaknesses are and working relentlessly every day to diminish those weaknesses."
Helping Sarden's progression as a top-tier middle blocker is Crump who leads the team with 318 kills, 3.15 kills per set and 20 solo blocks in 2012. As it stands through 28 matches, Crump's 1,046 career kills ranks seventh all-time. Dagenais credits Crump for taking pressure off the rest of the offense by shouldering much of the attacking responsibility.
"On paper, Angelica did not have the season she had last year, but I think that's where numbers can be deceiving, Dagenais explained. A lot of teams made Angelica the focus of their defense and yet she still found ways to be one of the top-10 scorers in the league. I expect she will find that next gear of performance and will really take off in her senior year."
With their conference awards in hand, the Knights will continue to prepare for the postseason as they are set to battle Marshall in the quarterfinals of the C-USA Championship Friday night at 7 p.m. in Tulsa, Okla.