Oct. 9, 2006

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - University of Tennessee senior middle blocker Sarah Blum has been named Southeastern Conference Offensive Player of the Week for the second time in three weeks after leading the No. 18 Lady Vols to victories over South Carolina and Georgia this past weekend.

"Sarah was a primary factor in our success this weekend, as she played at a consistently high level in both matches," UT head coach Rob Patrick said. "When we are able to get Sarah involved in our offense, she provides much more than what shows up on the stat sheet. Her presence alone opens up seams for our other hitters and allows us to have more success on the outside."

The Tulsa, Okla., native recorded just two attack errors in 51 attempts on the weekend, as she led the team with a .529 hitting percentage. She also paced the squad's efforts with 11 total blocks and 1.57 blocks per game. The senior finished third on the team with 29 kills, 4.14 kills per game and 51 total attacks.

In the four-game, 30-27, 23-30, 30-21, 30-19, win over the Gamecocks on Friday night, Blum collected a team-high .458 hitting percentage (12-1-24) and tied sophomore Mindy Flynn for the team lead with seven blocks. She put up an even stronger performance against the Bulldogs on Sunday afternoon, as she tallied a season-high .593 hitting percentage (17-1-27). Blum also had a team-leading four blocks and tied junior Yuliya Stoyanova for the match high in kills with 17 to guide the Lady Vols to the three-game sweep, 30-21, 30-27, 30-23.

For the season, Blum leads the team in hitting percentage (.343), solo blocks (14), block assists (94), total blocks (108), blocks per game (1.74), total points (283.0) and points per game (4.56). She is also third on the team with 214 kills and a 3.45 kills per game average. Her 1.74 blocks per game average places her atop the SEC leaderboard, while her .343 hitting percentage is 10th among all SEC performers.

As of Oct. 1, Blum was ranked eighth in the nation with 1.76 blocks per game to lead the country's 12th-ranked block unit, which was recording 3.31 blocks per game.

Blum is also close to reaching a number of career milestones, as she sits just 44 kills away from becoming the 16th player in Tennessee volleyball history to record 1,000 career kills. She also needs just 27 blocks to become only the second player in UT history to reach the 600 mark in that category.

The award marks the fourth time Blum has been honored by the SEC during her career and second this season. She also earned Offensive Player of the Week accolades two weeks ago after guiding the Lady Vols to victories over Louisville, Ole Miss and Mississippi State. Prior to this season, Blum had taken home the SEC Defensive Player of the Week title on two different occasions. She first picked up that honor following week five of her freshman year and claimed the prize again after week 10 of her sophomore season.

The Lady Vols will open a four-game road swing with a midweek contest against Kentucky this Wednesday. First serve is set for 7 p.m. at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, Ky. The squad will then move on to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to face the Crimson Tide at 1:30 p.m. CDT on Sunday, Oct. 15.





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