FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas volleyball team collected a handful of postseason awards Tuesday as junior Meredith Hays, senior libero Emily Helm and senior Raymariely Santos were named to the AVCA All-South Region Team. Hays and Santos earned spots on the First Team while Helm was named an Honorable Mention pick. With the most recent selections, the Razorbacks now have five All-South Region performers under head coach Robert Pulliza.
Tuesday’s announcement marks the second postseason honor for Hays who was also named to the All-SEC Team last week. In her first season at Arkansas, Hays finished fourth in the SEC with 3.94 kills per set and 4.47 points per set. Nationally, she ranks 48th in kills per set and 45th in points per set. Hays finished her junior campaign with a team-leading nine double-double performances.
The Hereford, Texas, native registered at least 10 kills in 26 of Arkansas’ 30 matches during the year including 14 matches with 15 or more kills. Hays also turned in five performances with at least 20 kills including a season-best 22 kills on three occasions. She was also a scoring threat from the service line where she tied for second on the team with 26 aces.
In the fourth-best team performance in program history, Santos helped set the Razorbacks to a season-high .434 hitting percentage in a straight-set win over Ole Miss. During the season, she had 16 matches with at least 25 assists including a season-high 42 assists against Creighton in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. In a show of her all-around play, she posted the first triple-double of her career with 13 kills, 26 assists and 11 digs at Tulsa. She is the fourth player in program history with a triple-double and the first since 2004.
The Ponce, Puerto Rico, native finishes her Razorback career ranked second in assists (3,661), 12th in digs (933) and 18th in service aces (62). Santos is just the third setter in program history to eclipse 3,000 career assists, joining the short list of former Arkansas standouts Tina Rico and Ning Zhao. Apitionally, finishes with 37 career double-double performances including eight in 2013.
Helm finished her senior season with 530 digs, the third-highest single-season total in program history. She finished third among SEC players with 4.73 digs per set, just off the program’s single-season record of 4.79 digs per set. Helm had 12 matches during the year with 20 or more digs including a career-high 32 digs in the Razorbacks’ five-set win at South Carolina. Helm capped her Arkansas career with a 29-dig performance against Creighton in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
In just two seasons, the Queen Creek, Ariz., native collected 1,014 digs in her Razorback career and finishes tied with former standout Denise Baez (1994-96) for eighth place on the program’s all-time digs list. She becomes the ninth member of Arkansas’ 1,000-dig club and the second to join under Pulliza. Helm also earned three SEC Defensive Player of the Week during her career.
Hays, Helm and Santos join Roslandy Acosta and Jasmine Norton as the program’s all-time AVCA All-South Region selections. The Razorbacks capped their 2013 season by earning a second-consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament. Overall, the program now has 11 NCAA appearances.
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