Four Kentucky volleyball players earned All-Southeastern Conference honors, headlined by junior libero Ashley Dusek repeating as the league’s Libero of the Year and freshman Leah Edmond being named the SEC Freshman of the Year. Dusek and Edmond were joined on the All-SEC team by junior Kaz Brown and sophomore Olivia Dailey.
Brown and Dusek have now earned All-SEC accolades in back-to-back seasons, while Dailey and Edmond are appearing on the All-SEC squad for the first time in their careers. Edmond is Kentucky’s second-ever Freshman of the Year honor. Sarah Rumely captured the award in 2006. Dusek’s Libero of the Year accolade is the sixth such honor in the last seven seasons for head coach Craig Skinner.
After a stellar freshman campaign, Edmond also was tabbed to the All-Freshman team. Edmond won SEC Freshman of the Week honors an incredible eight times over the course of the season, as well as SEC Player of the Week, twice. The freshman has recorded eight double-doubles so far this season, and sits in second in the league in kills per set at 4.29, just trailing the SEC Player of the Year, Krystal Rivers. Edmond is an all-around player, and has hit 10 or more digs in nine matches this season, with a season-high 14 at Missouri. Edmond has posted double-figure kill numbers in all but three matches. She’s been UK’s most prolific point-scorer, including topping the 20-kill plateau on four occasions. She saves her best play for the biggest matches, as told by 20 kills at No. 20 Purdue, 19 hammers at No. 5 Florida, 21 at Missouri and 25 against Texas A&M. At least one Wildcat has claimed All-SEC Freshman Team honors in every season Skinner has been head coach, dating back to 2005.
Dusek’s Libero of the Year and her All-SEC nomination mark the second-straight year she has taken home those awards. While teams have game-planned around Dusek, she still averages 4.80 digs per set, good for second in the league. Her numbers are even higher during league play with 5.02 scoops per frame. Her season high was 31 against Ole Miss on Nov. 13, which tied for the highest dig total in the SEC this season. Dusek was also a member of the preseason All-SEC team, a two-time SEC Defensive Player of the Week and also an SEC Player of the Week. She was recognized for her play on the court and her classroom work with a CoSIDA Academic All-District selection. Dusek became the fifth player under Skinner to total 1,000 or more career digs when she achieved the feat this season. The East Bernard, Texas, native logged 10 or more digs in all but three matches this season.
Brown adds her second All-SEC nomination, and also marks the third-straight year she has picked up an end of season award. Brown is the team leader in blocks per set at 1.39, putting her at third in the SEC. The Waterloo, Iowa native has already reached second in the 25-point rally scoring era in total blocks with 410, and also sits at second in block assists (369) and block solos (41). Brown has been great for the Wildcats on offense as well, recording 2.61 kills per set. The junior was named to the preseason All-SEC team and was awarded SEC Offensive Player of the Week twice this season. Brown has been dynamic for the Cats in both phases of the game, with 11 matches with 10 or more kills and 11 matches with six or more rejections.
Dailey is a catalyst for a team that leads the SEC and is ninth in the nation in kills per set at 14.47. The Trussville, Alabama, native is second in the country in assists per frame at 11.96, just trailing Allie Monserez of Florida. Dailey is fourth in the school’s 25-point rally scoring era in assists with 1,112, and recently became just the fourth player during the rally scoring era to record 60 or more helpers in one contest. The Wildcats are hitting .275 during SEC play, more than 100 points higher than their opponents. Dailey has also been excellent on defense. She has four double-doubles this season, and averages 1.96 digs per set and 0.71 blocks per set. Dailey has been named SEC Setter of the Week five times this season, SEC Offensive Player of the Week once and FloVolleyball National Player of the Week once. For the season, Dailey has charted four double-doubles and topped 40 or more assists on 13 occasions.
Skinner has directed his team to 35 All-SEC honors, including an SEC Player of the Year, two SEC Freshman of the Year honors, seven SEC Libero or Defensive Player of the Year accolades and 12 All-SEC Freshman Team selections. With four selections to the All-SEC squad, UK has tied it’s program record for selections to the league’s best performers. UK also achieved the feat in 2014, 2011, 2009 and 2008.
Kentucky will resume action on Wednesday at 9 p.m. in Knoxville, Tennessee. UK will take on the Lady Vols on ESPNU. With a win tonight, the Wildcats will have claimed at least a share of their first SEC Championship in the Skinner era. UK’s last title came in 1988.
The All-SEC Team, as voted on by the league’s 13 head coaches, consists of 18 student-athletes, along with a seven-member All-Freshman squad. No ties were broken.
2016 All-SEC Team
Krystal Rivers, Alabama
Jesse Earl, Auburn
Alexa Filley, Auburn
Rhamat Alhassan, Florida
Alex Holston, Florida
Carolina Knop, Florida
Allie Monserez, Florida
Carli Snyder, Florida
Kaz Brown, Kentucky
Olivia Dailey, Kentucky
Ashley Dusek, Kentucky
Leah Edmond, Kentucky
Melanie Crow, Missouri
Carly Kan, Missouri
Alyssa Munlyn, Missouri
Stephanie Aiple, Texas A&M
Jazzmin Babers, Texas A&M
Kaitlyn Blake, Texas A&M
2016 All-SEC Awards
Player of the Year: Krystal Rivers, Alabama
Libero of the Year: Ashley Dusek, Kentucky
Freshman of the Year: Leah Edmond, Kentucky
Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Krystal Rivers, Alabama
Coach of the Year: Wayne Kreklow, Missouri
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