Morgan Bergren Earns Second Team All-America Honors
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Kentucky volleyball junior setter Morgan Bergren was named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-America second team, becoming the ninth player in program history to earn first or second team accolades.
Along with Bergren, seniors Jackie Napper and Lauren O'Conner and sophomore Anni Thomasson were named All-America honorable mention honorees, marking a program record four All-America honors. Each earned AVCA All-America accolades for the first time in their careers after being named to the All-Region team last week.
Bergren led UK with 1,291 assists in 2014, the second most in a single season in program history in the 25-point rally scoring era. The Muncie, Ind., native directed the UK offense to a .272 hitting percentage and a Southeastern Conference-best 14.25 kills per set, both the highest totals by the Wildcats since 2009.
"Morgan really developed and got to the next level this year," UK head coach Craig Skinner said. "Our offensive statistics show that, with the highest hitting percentage and highest number of kills per set in the last five years. With her ability to impact the game in several different ways was a big reason why she was recognized as an All-American."
Along with earning AVCA All-Region honors and being named to the All-SEC team, Bergren 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 Kentucky'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.
In the season's final regular season match, Bergren hit a perfect 1.000 with 10 kills on 10 attempts, a program and Memorial Coliseum record for attack percentage. In UK's win at Louisville, the junior had 55 assists, a season-best and the most in a four-set match in team history in the 25-point rally scoring era.
She posted eight double-doubles in 2014 and led UK in assists in every match. Along with her season-best assists total, Bergren tied for second with 91 blocks, was third with 28 aces, fourth with 214 digs and fifth with 158 kills, all career-highs. In her career, Bergren's 2,654 assists is third in the 25-point rally scoring era and the ninth-best in program history.
UK players have earned a total of 25 All-America honors in program history, with the four in 2014 extending a streak of at least one All-America selection from Kentucky since 2007. All but six of UK's 25 All-America honors have come under Skinner.
"We are very proud of Morgan, Jackie, Lauren and Anni," Skinner said. "All four of them had the best season of their careers, and it is great to see them rewarded for their success and to see your players continue to improve throughout their careers. To have a record four players recognized with All-America honors means a lot to the program."
The four Wildcats were also named to the All-SEC team last month, while Napper was named the league's Libero of the Year.
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 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. She 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.
The Louisville, Ky., native charted 1,516 digs in her career, second-most in UK history in the 25-point rally scoring era and fourth in the all-time record books.
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 capped 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.
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 Newark, Ohio, native 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 and 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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