Senior captain Erika Thomas and junior Jade Strawberry were named to the All-American Athletic Conference second team on Tuesday morning. Both players were integral parts to the Huskies’ success this year, helping UConn win 16 games – an improvement from a year ago when the Huskies won 12 games. These are the first all-conference awards for both players.
Thomas started in 28 matches in 2015, appearing in all 31. Appearing at middle blocker and right-side hitter, she was third on the team with 231 kills and 80 blocks. Her two best performances came against Tulsa on Oct. 9 and Bryant on Sept. 4 as she notched a season-high 16 kills against Tulsa and seven blocks against Bryant. Thomas was a very steady player in her Husky career, and she ranks fifth all-time with 405 total blocks.
Unlike Thomas, Strawberry will be back next season as one of the Huskies’ key players. Coming off a good sophomore season, Strawberry came into her own in her junior campaign, starting all 31 matches and accumulating a team-high 350 kills in just 119 sets. In her first two seasons combined she only had 307 kills.
Strawberry excelled throughout the season as she notched 12 double-doubles and had double-digit kills in 17 matches. She surpassed her career-high in kills on Oct. 16 against East Carolina with 24 in the match. On Oct. 4 against Memphis, Strawberry had a career-high 27 digs. In every match this season, Strawberry had a least five kills as she also had a team best 27 service aces and a 2.94 kills/set ratio.
The player of the year in the American was Avery Acker for SMU, who was also named the setter of the year. The coach of the year was Lisa Seifert from SMU while the freshman of the year was Jordan Thompson from Cincinnati.
Matthew Kren is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.