By Megan Herboth
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - Following one of the best seasons in program history, the UCF volleyball team continues to rake in the postseason accolades. The AVCA (American Volleyball Coaches Association) released its All-Region teams Tuesday, with four Knights earning regional recognition.
"What a historic day for our volleyball program and players," UCF head coach Todd Dagenais said. "To have four players be recognized among the best in the region and three of them earning the opportunity to be All-Americans is a special milestone for our program. Our tremendously talented setters deserve a lot of credit as well because their unselfishness made these awards possible."
Seniors DeLaina Sarden and Kaye-Alese Green were joined by sophomore Kia Bright as First Team All-Region honorees, and sophomore Jale Hervey received honorable mention. Four student-athletes receiving all-region consideration is the most in program history.
"It's such a fitting way for DeLaina and Kaye to finish their stellar careers are UCF," Dagenais continued. "They both have left footprints that our players will follow for generations to come."
Sarden earned her third consecutive first team honor, the only player in program history to earn multiple all-region accolades. The Lawrenceville, Ga., native posted a .451 hitting percentage on the season that ranked third in the nation while averaging 2.71 kills per set. The American Athletic Conference Player of the Year dominated in the middle and finished her tenure as a Knight with 1,203 kills on a .383 career hitting percentage.
After receiving strong consideration from the regional coaches last season, Green claimed First Team laurels to cap off her UCF career with her second accolade of the postseason. The Jacksonville, Fla., native averaged 1.79 kills per set and 0.78 blocks per set for the Knights. Her .428 hitting percentage, paired with Sarden's .451 hitting percentage, made UCF one of just three schools in the country with two players hitting above .400.
"Kia showed that she is capable of being one of the most dominant six-rotation players in the country," Dagenais noted. "Jale was recognized her ability to attack so consistently and with so few errors. I absolutely love the fact that both are only sophomores and we have so much time to shape and mold both of them. They are proof that the future is extremely bright for UCF Volleyball."
Bright garnered first team accolades following a stellar campaign for the Knights. In 43 collegiate starts, the Jacksonville, Fla., native has never finished with fewer than five kills. She led the team with 11 double-double matches this season, averaging 3.02 kills per set and 2.68 digs per set.
Hervey led the team with 3.47 kills per set to receive honorable mention consideration from the regional coaches. The Huntsville, Ala., native tallied double figure kills in 24 matches and finished with fewer than six kills only once this season. She finished the season with a .275 hitting percentage and led the team with 427 kills.
The four must now wait until Dec. 17 to learn if they will be named AVCA All-Americans. Sarden seeks her third All-American title after garnering a pair of honorable mentions in the past two seasons. UCF has three other All-America honors in its Division I history as former Knights Jenny Frank, Rachel Vukson and Angelica Crump have earned honorable mentions honors.