Four Gators named AVCA All-Region

Florida freshman Živa Recek (Kočevje, Slovenia) was named the AVCA South Region Freshman of the Year as four Gators received All-South Region honors from the American Volleyball Coaches Association, announced on Tuesday by the association offices in Lexington, Ky.

Recek was joined on the AVCA All-South Region Team by junior setter Taylor Brauneis (Crystal Lake, Ill.), junior middle blocker Chloe Mann (Gainesville, Fla.) and senior right-side hitter Tangerine Wiggs (Seattle, Wash.). Four honorees ties for the second-most by a single Gators team, as Florida has had four athletes honored as All-South Region four times (2002, 2003, 2010, 2012) and had five athletes recognized in 2001.

Florida is one of only three schools to have four athletes make the All-Region Teams, joining fellow Nike Big Four participants Penn State and Texas, who the Gators will face on Friday evening in the Sweet 16.

The foursome’s inclusion to the All-Region Teams makes them eligible for AVCA All-American honors, which will be announced on Wednesday, December 12th. Recek’s South Region Freshman of the Year honor makes her one of eight candidates for the National Freshman of the Year.

Mann and Wiggs are two of 18 phenomenal athletes to be honored by the AVCA as well as named to the 2012 Capital One Academic All‐District® Teams. The Gators are one of two teams (Iowa State) to have multiple athletes recognized as both AVCA All-Region and Capital One Academic All‐District®.

Recek, the 2012 SEC Freshman of the Year, leads Florida with 429 kills on the year (4.01/set) and ranks in the top five in the SEC in kills and points per set (4.48). Recek is the third Gator to receive the honor, joining Florida’s first four-time AVCA All-American Kelly Murphy and three-time SEC Player of the Year Aury Cruz. Recek was a four-time SEC Freshman of the Week selection, two-time SEC Offensive Player of the Week honoree and now owns the Florida freshman record for kills in a season, shattering the previous record of 357 shared by Aycan Gokberk and Marcie Hampton. She is second in kills per set by a freshman behind Cruz, who crushed 4.32 kills/set during her rookie campaign. Recek is one of only 12 true freshmen honored by the AVCA on the All-Region teams and one of four freshmen to be named to an All-Region team rather than All-Region Honorable Mention.

Brauneis, a First Team All-SEC selection and one of two setters named AVCA All-South Region, leads the conference with 11.61 assists/set. A 2011 AVCA All-America Honorable Mention selection while at Louisville, Brauneis has turned in three double-doubles as a Gator and set a new career high with 67 assists against Tennessee. Brauneis, who is 13th in the NCAA in assists/set, is the first Gator setter in a 5-1 offense to be named All-South Region since 2007 (Angie McGinnis). Brauneis has set the Gators to a .302 hitting efficiency, a mark which leads the SEC and is fourth in the NCAA. She is one of six repeat All-Region honorees in the South Region this year, having been honored as All-Northeast Region a year ago.

Mann, the SEC Player of the Year and a First Team All-SEC selection, tops the Gators with an NCAA-leading .442 hitting percentage, putting down 367 kills on the year thus far. Mann leads Florida with 1.16 blocks/set, good for third in the SEC. For her career, the junior middle blocker has 518 kills on a .454 hitting clip and is on track to break Florida’s career hitting percentage record by her senior season. She is a two-time SEC Offensive Player of the Week selection, once in both 2011 and 2012. She was named Preseason All-SEC by the league’s coaches this fall and was MVP of the Campus USA Credit Union Invitational earlier in the season. Mann is also a 2012 CoSIDA First Team Academic All-District® honoree and eligible for Academic All-America® honors.

Wiggs, a First Team All-SEC selection, is second in the SEC and 20th in the NCAA in hitting percentage with a .382 offensive efficiency and is third on the team with 239 kills on the year. Wiggs has 652 kills for her Florida career, the most out of any current Gator, and is second on the team in blocks with 82 in 2012. For her career, Wiggs has 276 blocks, averaging .84 blocks/set in her three years in the Orange and Blue. Wiggs was named Second Team All-SEC last season and was honored as an Academic All-SEC selection in 2011. Wiggs is also a 2012 CoSIDA First Team Academic All-District® honoree and eligible for Academic All-America® honors.

Courtesy of UF Communications