FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Razorback volleyball team added to its postseason awards collection Tuesday morning with juniors Pilar Victoria and Breana Jones, and freshman Okiana Valle earning AVCA All-South Region honors. Victoria was named to the First Team, Jones was an honorable mention selection and Valle was tabbed the region’s Freshman of the Year. Arkansas now has nine AVCA All-Region performers under head coach Robert Pulliza.
In her first season in Fayetteville, Victoria made an immediate impact as one of the top attackers in the country. Victoria is the SEC leader with 4.61 kills per set and 5.10 points per set, figures that also rank among the top 15 in the NCAA. During her junior campaign, she had double-digit kills in 28 of 30 matches including 11 with 20 or more kills. Victoria also recorded three 30-kill performances in 2015, and is one of just four players in the country with multiple 30-kill efforts this season. She established a career high and the No. 2 mark in program history with 35 kills against Ole Miss on Oct. 18.
The Caguas, Puerto Rico, native finished the season with 525 kills to become the ninth Razorback to record 500 or more kills in a single season. Playing as a six-rotation player, Victoria also tallied 2.50 digs per set and was second on the team with 25 service aces. She led the team and is third in the SEC with 15 double-double. A two-time SEC Offensive Player of the Week, Victoria is also an All-SEC selection and is now eligible for AVCA All-America consideration.
Valle becomes the third Razorback in program history to earn AVCA District/Region Freshman of the Year honors, joining Libby Windell (1999) and Jasmine Norton (2009). This is her second postseason recognition of the year having previously been placed on the SEC All-Freshman Team. As Arkansas’ starting libero, Valle totaled 14 matches with at least 15 digs including six matches with 20 or more digs including a season-best 32 digs against South Carolina. That performance ties the No. 3 single-match figure in program history.
The Barceloneta, Puerto Rico, native became just the third Razorback to average more than four digs per set in conference play, posting 4.30 digs per set against SEC opponents. Valle is also the fourth freshman in program history to record 400 digs in a season and the first to do so since 2004. As a primary passer, she helped Arkansas post the eighth-best season hitting percentage in program history. Valle also led the Razorbacks with 26 service aces in 2015.
Jones finished the regular season ranked first in the SEC and fifth in the country with her .436 hitting percentage, and is on pace to become just the second Razorback to lead the conference in hitting efficiency. She set Arkansas’ single-season record of hitting percentage (min. 100 attacks) and is just the third player in program history to hit .400 or better in a season, and the first since Windell in 2001.
The Peachtree City, Ga., native registered 13 matches with seven or more kills, including four contests with double figures. During the season, she established career highs of 15 kills at South Carolina on Oct. 25 and eight total blocks against LSU on Nov. 11. Jones tallied four or more blocks in eight matches during her junior campaign. Earlier this month, Jones was also recognized for her good works off the court with a spot on the SEC Community Service Team.
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