Written By: Amanda Szylin
The American Athletic Conference has chosen their All-Conference selections! The AAU is excited to announce that two of the players who won individual awards are former AAU members and the Coach of the Year is a very familiar face at the AAU Girls Junior National Volleyball Championships.
University of Central Florida’s Delaina Sarden took home Player of the Year honors after putting up some impressive numbers this season. The 6’1 middle blocker led the conference in hitting percentage (.497) and is fifth in the nation for overall hitting percentage with .431. The senior from Lawrenceville, Georgia became the 10th player in UCF Volleyball history to reach 1,000 career kills and was named the American Athletic Conference Player of the Week on back-to-back weeks in October.
Sarden’s coach, Todd Dagenais, grabbed the Coach of the Year award in the AAC after leading his UCF team to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2003. Heading into his seventh season as UCF’s head coach, the Central Michigan graduate holds a 102-87 record, finishing the last four seasons with winning records. In 2014, his team capped off the year with a 25-7 record, going 18-2 in the conference, earning them the AAC title. Dagenais can be found scouring the courts at the AAU Girls’ Junior National Volleyball Championships looking for his next star player and is a member of the coaches’ panel at the Recruiting Seminar portion of the AAU Volleyball Nationals.
Morgan Heise grabbed the Libero of the Year award after scoring a conference-best 5.44 digs per set in AAC matches. The 5’6 sophomore helped lead her team to a school record 26 victories in 2014. Heise was named Defensive Player of the Week four times, matching Player of the Year, Sarden, for most weekly awards. The Texas native nabbed a career-high 38 digs at Arkansas, the third most in a match all-time at SMU.
Sarden and Heise were joined by teammates Jale Hervey (UCF) and Caroline Young (SMU) on the First-Team All-Conference list. Lauren Wright (Memphis), Erin Fairs (USF) and Erica Bohannon (Tulsa) were the other former AAU members that earned a spot on that list. Former AAU members Emma Roberson (Cincinnati), Tyler Davis (Temple) and Kirsten Overton (Temple) earned a spot on the Second-Team All-Conference list.
Player of the Year
DeLaina Sarden, Sr., MB, UCF
Coach of the Year
Todd Dagenais, UCF
Libero of the Year
Morgan Heise, So., L, SMU
Jale Hervey, So., OH, UCF
DeLaina Sarden, Sr., MB, UCF*
Lauren Wright, Sr., MB/RS, Memphis
Erin Fairs, Jr., OH, USF
Morgan Heise, So., L, SMU
Caroline Young, Sr., OPP, SMU
Erica Bohannon, So., OH, Tulsa
* - Unanimous selection
Emma Roberson, Jr., RS, Cincinnati
Tyler Davis, So., OH, Temple
Kirsten Overton, So., MB, Temple
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