Record-Tying Four Wildcats Named to AVCA All-Region Team
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Kentucky volleyball seniors Jackie Napper and Lauren O'Conner, junior Morgan Bergren and sophomore Anni Thomasson were named to the All-Southeast Region Team, the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) announced.
Bergren, Napper, O’Conner and Thomasson were named to the All-Region team for the first time in their careers after record-setting 2014 seasons. The four AVCA All-Region honors are tied for the most in a single season in program history, set in 2008 and ’09. UK has had at least one player earn All-Region accolades every year since 2006, with at least two honorees in all but two of those seasons.
“As a staff, we are very happy for Morgan, Jackie, Lauren and Anni,” UK head coach Craig Skinner said. “Each of them had the best season of their careers, and it is rewarding to know your players continue to improve throughout their careers and get recognized for their accomplishments. It’s great recognition for the program and the success that we’ve had.”
The Four Wildcats were also named to the All-Southeastern Conference Team last month, while Napper was named the SEC Libero of the Year. With their All-Region selection, they are eligible for selection to the AVCA All-America teams.
Napper concluded her record-setting senior season with 537 digs, third in program history in the 25-point rally scoring era. A four-time SEC Player of the Week in 2014, the most in a single season by a Wildcat in team history, Napper charted 1,516 digs, second-most in UK history in the 25-point rally scoring era and fourth in the all-time record books.
The Louisville, Ky., native recorded 10 or more digs in all but four matches, had 15 or more digs in 22 matches and posted 20 or more digs on 10 occasions. Napper led UK in digs 30 times and in all but two SEC matches. She averaged 4.55 digs per set as a senior, a career-high by 0.56 digs.
O’Conner had one of the most explosive seasons in program history as a senior. A two-time SEC Player of the Week honoree, the Taylor Mill, Ky., native became the 15th Wildcat to record 1,000 career kills and caps her career with 1,204, second-most in UK history in the 25-point rally scoring era and 12th all-time. In 2014, the senior led UK with 379 kills, fifth-most in a single season in program history, 34 aces, tied for fourth in team history and 448.5 points in 2014, fifth in the UK record books, all in the 25-point rally scoring era.
As a senior O’Conner recorded double-digit kills in 18 matches, highlighted by a four-match span where she had 39 kills on 70 attempts without a single attacking error in nearly 10 consecutive sets from Oct. 29-Nov. 9. Included in the streak was a pair of 19-kill outings in back-to-back contests. The 19 kills in UK’s 3-0 win over Tennessee marked a program record in a three-set match in the 25-point rally scoring era. She also holds the record in a four-set match with a career-high 22 at South Carolina.
Bergren dished out 1,291 assists in 2014 and directed the UK offense to a league-best 14.25 kills-per-set and a .272 hitting percentage, second-best in the conference. The junior earned SEC Player of the Week honors on Oct. 6 after she led UK to a .306 attacking percentage with six players averaging 1.29 kills per set or better in UK’s wins over Alabama and No. 21 Texas A&M. Bergren had 43 or more assists in each win and added 11 kills on .579 hitting with no errors.
A Muncie, Ind., native, Bergren’s 2,587 assists is third in the 25-point rally scoring era and the ninth-best in program history. Leading UK in assists in every match, her 1,291 assists this season is second in Kentucky’s rally scoring era record books. She posted eight double-doubles in 2014 and ranks in the top three in aces and blocks for the Wildcats along with her team-best assists total.
Thomasson backed up an impressive freshman campaign with an even better sophomore season. She recorded a team-best 14 double-doubles and led UK in kills eight times, digs six times and blocks twice. The sophomore posted 22 matches with at least 10 kills and 18 matches with 10 or more digs. She notched double-doubles in three consecutive matches from Oct. 19-26, all SEC contests. She finished 2014 second on the team in kills with 334, aces with 30, digs with 317 and points with 386.5.
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