GREENSBORO, N.C. – Savanah Leaf and Emani Sims were two of the 19 student-athletes named to the 2014 Preseason All-ACC Team.
Sims earned Preseason All-ACC for the second consecutive year, while Leaf is a first time honoree. The senior captains head into the 2014 season as two of the most decorated players in the ACC. Both were first team All-ACC selections following impressive junior campaigns a year ago.
“I’m excited for Emani and Savanah,” head coach Jose “Keno” Gandara said. “It’s their senior year and they are two of our leaders. They are great teammates and they’re proven players in the conference. I am happy for them and I hope they can continue to improve and lead this group as far as we can go.”
In 2013, Sims led the team with 153 blocks, averaging a team-high 1.32 blocks per set that ranked fourth in the ACC. Her team-leading .345 hitting percentage ranked fifth-best in the ACC, while her blocks-per-set average of 1.32 ranked fourth in the conference. The Glenview, Ill., native earned her second consecutive All-ACC first team selection following the 2013 season.
“It feels good and it’s exciting, but I am most focused on helping my team in any way that I can,” Sims said.
A year ago, Leaf led the Canes with 442 kills, seventh-most in a single season in UM history. She also led Miami with 38 service aces, ninth-most in a single season in school history. The San Anselmo, Calif., native ranked in the top five in the ACC in kills/set and points/set and was tabbed first team All-ACC for the first time in her career.
“It’s really exciting to know that other coaches and other teams view me that way as a player,” Leaf said. “It reassures me that I am doing something right. Emani, I don’t ever doubt that she is going to win an award. She is such a hard worker on and off the court. It’s really nice to see her get this accolade, as well. It shows us that we can do so much more if we keep working hard. This is just the first step for us.”
Beyond the announcement of the 2014 Preseason All-ACC Team, the conference announced that the Hurricanes were picked to finish fourth in the ACC by the conference’s head coaches. Miami, who is coming off a 19-12 season a year ago, received 151 points in the poll of head coaches.
The Canes’ 2014 roster features seven returners from the 2013 squad that reached the NCAA Tournament for the fifth consecutive season.
Leaf and Sims are joined by Blair Fuentez and Alexis Mourning to make up a senior class that Gandara will look to lead the Hurricanes in his second season in Coral Gables.
Also returning for Miami are juniors Caitilin Donahoe and Misty Ma’a and sophomore Kelsie Groot. The trio is expected to make an impact for Miami as they look to return to the NCAA Tournament in 2014.
Eight newcomers have joined the Hurricanes for the 2014 season. Kyrena Dudley, Sylvia Hernandez, Michele Marenus, Brooke McDermott, Taylor Scott, Sakile Simmons, Haley Templeton and Kalysta White make up the 2014 Miami volleyball incoming class.
The Canes open the regular season with next week’s Hurricane Invitational. Miami hosts Seton Hall on Aug.29 at 7 p.m., while they will face Florida A&M on Aug. 30 at noon and Florida Gult Coast on Aug. 30 at 7 p.m.
Admission for Hurricanes volleyball is free and all matches are played at the James L. Knight Sports Complex on the University of Miami campus.