Dec. 18, 2013
By Andrew Jennette
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - UCF volleyball junior DeLaina Sarden earned Honorable Mention All-America honors from the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Wednesday. Sarden became the first athlete in program history to earn the distinction in back-to-back seasons.
Prior to Sarden claiming her second-career 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're so proud of DeLaina for being the first player in program history to receive back-to-back All-American honors, UCF head coach Todd Dagenais said. It's a testament to her hard work and dedication. It's a testament to Michelle Chatman, her position coach, who works with her tirelessly. It's also a testament to our setters who work so hard to get DeLaina the ball in every situation.
The Lawrenceville, Ga., native topped her stellar 2012 campaign by setting new career highs in virtually every offensive category. The 6-foot-1 middle blocker smacked 395 kills on the year with a .409 hitting percentage, the highest single-season clip in school history. She also accumulated 122 total blocks and 23 service aces which gave her 494 points for the season.
It's a great honor to be recognized for another year, Sarden said. I could not have done this without a great team beside me and an even more amazing and supportive coaching staff. I am glad to have brought this type of recognition to UCF, but there is still much more to be accomplished and I'm looking forward to a great senior year.
Sarden was named to the AVCA Southeast All-Region First Team as well as the All-American Athletic Conference First Team as a unanimous selection last week after leading the league in attack percentage while ranking fourth in kills per set (3.41). This is the third-consecutive year that Sarden has been honored with a major award as she was also named the Conference USA Freshman of the Year in 2011.
We intend to schedule even more high-ranking opponents next season, Dagenais continued. That will allow our players to shine on a more national stage. This will give players like DeLaina the opportunity to earn even higher All-American honors.