Nov. 28, 2006

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Three members of the University of Tennessee volleyball team have been named to All-Southeastern Conference teams, as senior Sarah Blum claimed First-Team honors, junior Yuliya Stoyanova picked up Second Team accolades and Leah Hinkey was tabbed to the All-Freshman squad.

By being named to the SEC First Team this season, Blum has now earned mention on each of the three lists during her career at Rocky Top, having claimed All-Freshman Team honors in 2003 and Second Team recognition in 2005. The Tulsa, Okla., native concluded the 2006 regular season as the Lady Vol leader in a wide variety of statistical categories, including kills (344), hitting percentage (.335), solo blocks (24), block assists (178), total blocks (202), blocks per game (1.84) and total points (466.0).

Blum's block per game average ranks third in the nation and is first in the SEC. In the team's last match, she broke a pair of school records, blocking a single-match high 16 Auburn attacks to move her career total to 667, three past the previous standard set by Robin Maine from 1980-1983. She is just the second person in Big Orange history to record both 1,000 kills and 600 blocks during her time at Rocky Top.

"Sarah had a monster year for us," UT head coach Rob Patrick said. "We asked her to increase her level of play on the offensive side, and she stepped up huge for us in that department. I think the other coaches in our conference realized Sarah was somebody that they had to take into account every time we stepped on the court. Even though she was a focus for other team's defenses, she was still able to put up the best offensive numbers of her career."

A member of the SEC First Team and an AVCA Honorable Mention All-American in 2005, Stoyanova also earned a spot on the Second Team in 2004, in addition to a mention on the All- Freshman Team that same year. The native of Sofia, Bulgaria, finished the 2006 season with a team-high 4.08 kills per game average, good for fourth in the SEC. She is also second on the squad with 343 kills and fourth with 232 digs. She had posted 10 double-doubles this year before suffering a torn ACL in the second game against Alabama on Nov. 3.

"Unfortunately, Yuliya had her season end early, but this award really shows what the other coaches in our league thought about the impact she had on our team," Patrick said. "Even though she missed the last four matches, she was still able to be a Second-Team honoree, which says a lot about her abilities."

Hinkey has made a significant contribution during her freshman campaign, starting in 28 of the team's 30 matches. With 129 blocks, she is tied for second on the team with sophomore Mindy Flynn, while her 207 kills are good enough for fifth. The Glenwood Springs, Colo., product has registered a blocks per game average of 1.19 this season, which ranks seventh in the SEC. Hinkey has also recorded double-digit kill totals in nine matches so far this year.

"Leah's future is very bright," Patrick said. "She has started, basically the whole year for us as a freshman. She's had to fill in some pretty big shoes that [2005 Second-Team All-American] Kristen Andre left behind and she has done extremely well, averaging nearly 1.2 blocks per game. She has done a terrific job anchoring the middle blocker position and we will be counting on her to get even better in the future, after a great initial season."

The Lady Vols (19-11) will open NCAA Tournament action with a First-Round showdown against No. 25 Duke (28-3) at 7 p.m., on Friday night at Stokely Athletics Center.

First Team All-SEC
Crystal Hudson, Alabama
Amber McCray, Florida
Angie McGinnis, Florida
Daniela Romero, LSU
Marina Skender, LSU
Shonda Cole, South Carolina
Sarah Blum, Tennessee

Second Team All-SEC
Bridget Fuentez, Alabama
Denitza Koleva, Arkansas
Kelsey Bowers, Florida
Marcie Hampton, Florida
Queen Nzenwa, Kentucky
Nicole Britenriker, Kentucky
Jaclyn Toohey, Ole Miss
Yuliya Stoyanova, Tennessee

All-Freshman Team
Destiny Clark, Arkansas
Elyse Cusack, Florida
Kristina Johnson, Florida
Sarah Rumely, Kentucky
Lauren DeGirolamo, LSU
Martina Gregusova, Miss. State
Leah Hinkey, Tennessee





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