LEXINGTON, Ky. — One of the most historic seasons in Stephen F. Austin volleyball history got another accolade added to it Tuesday afternoon.
In an announcement made by the American Volleyball Coaches Association, SFA junior middle blocker Danae Daron was named the SportsImports/AVCA NCAA Division I Player of the Week.
Daron becomes the first Ladyjack in program history — and just the third Southland Conference player in the history of the league — to collect SportsImports/AVCA NCAA Division I Player of the Week accolades. She did so by putting forth one of the most statistically dominant two-matches stretches in SFA history.
Danae Daron has had a pretty good start to her week.— Ladyjacks Volleyball (@SFA_Volleyball) November 6, 2018
Monday | @SouthlandSports Defensive Player of the Week
Today | SportsImports/@AVCAVolleyball National Player of the Week
She's the first SFA player ever to get that second one 😎 #AxeEm
📰 | https://t.co/Z04ZyTYJrG pic.twitter.com/THIiBa0nAQ
Over the Ladyjacks' two-match stretch last week, Daron hit an astounding .625 and killed 2.75 balls per set. The junior's offensive brilliance, however, was just one half of the equation. Hailing from Crosby, Texas, Daron also averaged 2.50 blocks per set due largely to one of the most dominant front row performances across all of NCAA Division I volleyball this season.
Last Thursday night against Sam Houston State inside Shelton Gym, Daron put down a team-high 12 kills on the strength of a .647 attack percentage while adding seven rejections — a career-high of which were of the solo variety — to help SFA open up a 1.5-game lead over the Bearkats for the top spot in the Southland standings.
Saturday afternoon against Abilene Christian served as SFA's home finale and it proved to be one for the record books. As a team, SFA posted a 3-1 win over the Wildcats by amassing 25.5 total blocks - a career-high 13 of which came from Daron. Those 13 rejections from Daron represent the second-most in a match in SFA history as well as the most in a four-set match by any NCAA Division I volleyball player in 2018. Offensively Daron again tied for the team lead in terminations with 10 and hit .600.
SFA's 25.5 team rejections were the most in the rally scoring era (since 2000) and the most in a four-set match by an NCAA Division I volleyball team this season. Only Gardner-Webb - who tallied 26 blocks in a five-set victory over Middle Tennessee State - had more in a match of any length this season.
Senior day was a success in Shelton Gym yesterday. Here are just some of the highlights:— Ladyjacks Volleyball (@SFA_Volleyball) November 4, 2018
• 25.5 blocks (most in an @NCAAVolleyball 4-set match this season)
• 24th-straight W
• A share of our 10th @SouthlandSports 🏆
• A perfect home record for the first time since 2005#AxeEm pic.twitter.com/utDF8EhN2u
In the midst of one of the program's finest seasons of all time, SFA leads the nation in total wins (27) and is riding a nation-leading 24-match winning streak that's the second-longest in the history of the program. As of this writing, the Ladyjacks lead the Southland and rank fifth nationally in opponent hitting percentage, having allowed their foes to hit at a clip of just .140 for the year. Additionally, SFA's 2.63 blocks per set represent the highest per-set average in the Southland and the 27th-best average in the nation. Because of those two things, it has been over one calendar year since a Southland Conference opponent hit better than .200 against SFA.
For her part, Daron currently leads the Southland in attack percentage with a figure of .341. In terms of front row defense, the junior's blocks per set average of 1.26 is the second-highest in the 13-team league and the 42nd-best in all of NCAA Division I volleyball.
Daron and the rest of the Ladyjacks will now try to do something no SFA team has done since 2014 and that's complete an undefeated run through the Southland Conference in the regular season. The Ladyjacks travel to Louisiana for their final two regular season tilts and Thursday evening in Thibodaux, Louisiana, SFA can clinch the outright 2018 Southland Conference regular season title when it takes on Nicholls inside Stopher Gymnasium. First serve is set for 6:30 p.m.