Dec. 13, 2006
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Two members of the University of Tennessee volleyball team claimed spots on the American Volleyball Coaches Association Honorable Mention All-America list, as senior Sarah Blum and junior Yuliya Stoyanova both picked up the honors on Wednesday.
"The recognition that these two players have received this season is richly deserved," UT head coach Rob Patrick said. "It is a by-product of the team's success over the last three years, as well as the hard work that they have put in to be the best players that they can possibly be."
After having just two All-Americans in the first 45 years of the program, the Lady Vols have now had two or more selections in each of the last three seasons. The award is the first in Blum's record-breaking career, while it marks the second time that Stoyanova has earned the recognition, having done so last season.
A First Team All-Southeastern Conference honoree this season, Blum leaves Rocky Top as the school's career leader in total blocks and blocks per game, having notched totals of 674 and 1.55, respectively. During her four years at Tennessee, the Tulsa, Okla., native produced the school's top four marks in blocks per game, culminating with an average of 1.83 in 2006. She also closed out her career with 1,101 kills, good for the 13th highest total in UT history, while her .314 hitting percentage is fourth all-time. She is one of only two Lady Vols to record 1,000 kills and 600 blocks during their career.
Blum concluded this season with team-highs in kills (359), hitting percentage (.338), solo blocks (24), block assists (185), total blocks (209), and points (484.0). She also finished third on the team with 784 attacks and a 3.15 kills per game average. Her block total and blocks-per-game average both ranked third in the nation as well.
"Although Sarah has been recognized this year, it was her consistently strong play throughout her career that was most impressive," Patrick said. "The records that she set are an indication of the effort she has given and sacrifices she has made during her time at Tennessee."
A member of the All-SEC Second Team in 2006 after recording the league's fifth highest kills per game average (4.08), Stoyanova sits in 12th on the UT career kills chart with 1,116 and third on the attacks-per-game list with an average of 9.55. She also finished third on the squad this season with 343 kills and had 10 double-doubles, despite missing the final five matches after tearing her ACL against Alabama on Nov. 3.
"Yuliya's injury was very unfortunate as she was playing at an All-American level before she got hurt," Patrick said. "The fact that she was honored as such, despite missing so many matches, just shows the amount of respect that she has throughout collegiate volleyball."