Lady'Backs honored on eve of SEC Volleyball Tournament

GAINESIVLLE, Fla. — Senior Jennifer Haaser and freshmen Jessica Dorrell and Ashley Miller captured Southeastern Conference honors on the eve of the leagues’ eight-team tournament in Gainesville, Fla., Thursday. Haaser earned her third all-SEC honor making the second team this year as the Lady Razorbacks finished in a tie for the SEC Western Division with Alabama. In addition, Haaser was named as the league’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year for 2004 and captured a spot on the 12-member SEC Good Works Team. Dorrell and Miller were both named to the all-freshman team as the Lady’Backs prepare for LSU in first round action. Haaser’s numbers were especially good defensively this year. The Fort Smith, Ark., native ranks in the top 30 this year in the nation in blocking averaging 1.49 blocks per game. Her selection to the academic team comes in her final season, a season in which Haaser has spent much of her time in front of the class. After graduating with her undergraduate degree in history and secondary education, Haaser returned for her final year on the court while pursuing her master of arts in teaching. She has been student-teaching in the Fayetteville school district this year. Finally, Haaser was included in the SEC’s Good Works team being recognized for her commitment to both the University and surrounding community. Some of Haaser’s projects included trips to Honduras as well as assisting area organizations with food drives and other events. Dorrell and Miller have also stood out statistically for the Lady’Backs. Dorrell tallied 239 kills this year and enters the tournament hitting .221 with 2.17 kills per game. Miller set the Arkansas freshman record for digs with 446 so far this year and is on track to break the single season record. “The league’s coaches have always recognized the quality of players that we’ve had at Arkansas and this year is no exception,” said Arkansas head coach Chris Poole. “These honors are great springboard to the weekend’s matches.” Arkansas enters the tournament as the third seed overall and faces sixth-seeded Louisiana State at 1:00 p.m., Friday in first round action. The Lady’Backs and LSU split a pair of regular-season matches with Arkansas winning in Baton Rouge, La., and the Tigers returning the favor in Fayetteville. “We’ve been looking forward to going to Gainesville,” said Poole. “We’re happy to be the third seed. I’m not sure I would have believed it if you would have told me this in September.” Arkansas started the year with a disappointing 2-8 record but faced some of the nation’s top teams during the opening weeks. The Lady’Backs rebounded when conference matches began but again has seemed to struggle in recent contests. The Lady’Backs dropped matches at No. 15 Tennessee, South Carolina and to LSU and allowed Mississippi State to push them to five in a come-from-behind win in Starkville, Miss. “I’m disappointed that we’ve dropped some matches lately but I keep reminding myself what a young and fragile team we have. We’ve had two big comeback wins and I hope that going into the SEC Tournament that we can come alive.” Should Arkansas get by LSU in the opening round, the Lady’Backs would face the winner of Tennessee/Auburn in the semifinals Saturday, at 1:00 p.m. The championship match is slated for a 2:00 p.m., start Sunday. All of Arkansas’ matches in the SEC Tournament will air live in the Fayetteville area on KXUA, 88.3 FM, and on-line at Coach of the Year: Rob Patrick, TennesseePlayer of the Year: Jane Collymore, FloridaDefensive Player of the Year: Amy Morris, TennesseeFreshman of the Year: Angie McGinnis, Florida
Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Jennifer Haaser, Arkansas
First Team All-SECErin Heffner–AlabamaJane Collymore–FloridaMichelle Chatman–FloridaSherri Williams–FloridaAlexandra Oquendo–GeorgiaKristen Andre–TennesseeJulie Knytych–TennesseeAmy Morris–Tennessee
Second Team All-SECJulie Farley–Alabama
Jennifer Haaser–ArkansasAngie McGinnis–FloridaJulia Petruschke–GeorgiaMargot Wallace–GeorgiaShonda Cole–South CarolinaYuliya Stoyanova–TennesseeMichelle Piantadosi–Tennessee
All-Freshman TeamBrigitte Slack–Alabama
Ashley Miller–ArkansasJessica Dorrell–ArkansasWhitney Jacob–AuburnMarcie Hampton–FloridaAngie McGinnis–Florida Yuliya Stoyanova–Tennessee
SEC Good Works TeamKory Tull–Alabama
Jennifer Haaser–ArkansasJennifer Burckert–AuburnTaylor Williams–FloridaMargot Wallace–GeorgiaDanielle Wallace–KentuckyMelody Clark–LSUMary Nell Bennett–MississippiAshley Sledge–Mississippi StateSarah Morgan–South CarolinaMichelle Piantadosi–Tennessee