FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – In recognition of her good works off the court, junior middle blocker Kelly O’Brien has been named to the 2017 SEC Community Service Team as announced by the league Wednesday morning. The conference Community Service Team, now in its 15th year for volleyball, looks to highlight student-athletes from each SEC program who gives back to their community in superior service efforts.
O’Brien participated in the athletic department’s International Hogs event which celebrated the various cultures of Arkansas’ international student-athletes. As part of Family Fun Day, she and other Razorbacks stuffed and distributed backpacks with supplies to local school kids. She is involved in the Reading with the Razorbacks program that reads to local school groups at the Fayetteville Public Library.
The Long Beach, Calif., native also has previous volunteer hours with the Special Olympics and the department’s National Girls & Women’s in Sports Day event. O’Brien is one of two volleyball representatives, along with teammate Rachel Rippee, on Arkansas’ Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
In her first full season playing middle blocker, O’Brien started all 30 matches this season. She put down at least five kills in 14 matches and had seven kills with a .545 hitting percentage in the SEC opener against Tennessee. Defensively, she had a team-high 115.0 total blocks. O’Brien had nine matches with five or more blocks including a career-high nine blocks in a five-set win at SMU.
O’Brien helped Arkansas to a 19-11 record which marked a 10-win improvement from 2016. The Razorbacks tallied a 10-3 home record at Barnhill Arena to give the program its first double-digit home total since the 2012 season. Behind six crowds of more than 1,000 fans, this season’s average home attendance was the second highest in program history.
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