(Photo by BYU Photo)
CHICAGO—BYU senior outside hitter Taylor Sander received the 2014 American Volleyball Coaches Association Player of the Year award Wednesday.
"It feels good to win," Sander said. "It’s just a lot of work that goes into it. Having such a great team is of course helpful. They’ve got my back and they’ve pushed me to be a better player in practice. I wouldn’t be here without my team. I’m grateful for my family and all the people that have helped me get to where I am."
Watch the award presentation.
Sander, a 6-foot-4 product of Huntington Beach, Calif., leads the nation in points per set with 5.43 and is second in the nation with 4.55 kills per set. This season he has a .336 hitting percentage and contributes 1.56 digs per set.
He holds the BYU rally-scoring era record for career kills with 1,715 and the all-time BYU record for career service aces with 178. Sander is tied for the BYU rally-scoring record for aces in a season with 51.
Sander was named Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Player of the Year, as well as MVP for the MPSF tournament after the Cougars defeated Stanford in three sets for the title. Sander has also been named MPSF Player of the Week twice this season and AVCA Player of the Week once.
It’s nice to see Taylor honored for the amount of work that he’s put in and the contributions that he’s made to our program," BYU head coach Chris McGown said. "It’s good to see him rewarded for what he’s done for our fans and the excitement that he’s brought to our matches and our volleyball team."
The award is BYU's second AVCA Player of the Year honor. Carlos Moreno won the award in 2004. Sander was named AVCA Newcomer of the Year in 2011.
BYU, No. 1 in the AVCA Coaches Poll and the No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament, takes on Stanford, No. 3 nationally and the No. 3 seed in the tournament, in a rematch of the MPSF final Thursday at 6 p.m. CDT. The NCAA semifinal match will be streamed live on NCAA.com.