Six members of the No. 1-ranked Emory University volleyball team have been chosen to the 2019 All-University Athletic Association Team as selected by the conference coaches. Four Eagles were selected to the first team, one to the second-team and one was tabbed as a honorable-mention pick. Emory enters the upcoming NCAA Tournament with an overall record of 29-2 and is coming off a weekend of action that saw it defend its conference title, earning the league's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.
Junior Leah Saunders (Simpsonville, SC), highlighted Emory's selections by being named as the conference's Most Valuable Player for the second straight season. The 5-foot-8 Saunders landed her second consecutive first-team berth to the all-conference team, and has averaged 3.20 kills, second on the conference chart, and 2.51 digs over109 sets of action. The UAA Hitter of the Week on four occasions this year, she has produced 19 contests of double-figure kills and 12 double-doubles (kills/digs). She has led or shared for team honors in terminations on 13 occasions and has three outings of 20 or more kills to her credit. She is second on the squad with 40 service aces and her 0.37 per-set average in that department ranks 10th among UAA players. One of eight players in program history to be recognized as the league's POY, she is the first to have been chosen for the honor twice.
Sophomore Tara Martin (Jacksonville Beach, FL), the conference's 2018 Rookie of the Year, played her way to a first-team berth ranking third on the team and fourth in the league in kills average (3.13 kps). Martin, whose .303 hitting percentage (335-94-796) paces the teams and stands 10th on the UAA list, has dialed up 16 contests with 10 or kills including a personal-best 25 (the high-water mark by an Emory player this season) against Washington University in the semifinals of the UAA Championships. Named the UAA Hitter of the Week twice this season, Martin has led or shared for the team lead in terminations in nine matches and has posted a hitting percentage of .300 or higher in seven straight and in a total of 16 contests.
Senior Morgan McKnight (Manassas, VA) earned her initial berth on the first team with her average of 3.21 kills per set leading all UAA players. The 5-foot-10 McKnight has totaled a team-high 22 matches of double-figure kills including a career-best 20 in the 3-2 victory over No. 2 Chicago in the finals of the UAA Championships. McKnight came through with a big effort in helping the Eagles to their ninth-ever conference crown, averaging 3.77 kills and hitting .264 (49-16—125) over 13 sets. She has finished as the team's leader or co-leader in kills in 10 contests while capturing all-tournament recognition at the Emory Classic and Emory Invitational. Earlier in the season she became the 19th player in school history to reach 1,000 kills in a career and enters the upcoming NCAA Tournament in 13th place on the program's all-time ladder with 1,161.
Freshman setter Cassie Srb (Seabrook, TX) was named to the first team and was selected as the UAA Rookie of the Year, the third straight campaign (Martin in 2018 and Saunders in 2017) and 10th time in school history that an Emory player has garnered the award. Srb has played in all 112 of Emory's sets and her average of 10.78 assists per set is second in the UAA, ninth in D-III and 11th on the program's seasonal list. Her setting has helped Emory hit a conference-best .241 with seven matches of .300 or higher. Serb has doled out 40 or more assists on 14 occasions including a season-best 62, tying the school's 11th-highest single-game effort, against Washington University in the semifinals of the UAA Championships. Her total of 1,207 assists already places her 13th all-time at Emory.
Senior libero Elyse Thompson (Tallahassee, FL) is a second-team pick for the third straight season with her stellar play a determining factor in the Eagles limiting the opposition to an attack percentage of .142. Her 4.41 digs per set average leads the team and stands fifth among conference players. She has totaled double-figure digs in 23 matches and has 10 outings with 20-plus digs to her credit, most recently against Chicago in the finals of the UAA Championships when she totaled 27. Earlier in the season, she became the school's all-time leader in assists and heads into the NCAAs with 1,771 to her credit.
Junior middle Maggie Rimmel (Pittsburgh, PA) rounded out the honorees with her spot on the honorable mention team. She is averaging 1.66 kills and 0.66 blocks over 71 sets of work.
Emory will host the NCAA Atlanta Regional this Friday through Sunday (Nov. 15-17). The Eagles' opening-round foe will be Notre Dame of Maryland University with that match starting at 8:00 pm (EST).
Emory's UAA Players of the Year
2002 LuLu Sewell
2005 Courtney Rose
2007 Janet Bunning
2009 Natalie Schonefeld
2010 Amelia McCall
2012 Breanah Bourque
2016 Jessica Holler
2018 Leah Saunders
2019 Leah Saunders
Emory's UAA Rookies of the Year
2000 Chrissy Bloomgren
2002 Remley Dodge
2005 Maggie Baird
2006 Alysse Meyer
2008 Natalie Schonefeld
2012 Sydney Miles
2013 Jessica Holler
2017 Leah Saunders
2018 Tara Martin
2019 Cassie Srb