Nov. 19, 2013
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Four members of the UAB volleyball team, Sam Skinner, Rachel Fairbanks, Becca Howard and Sara Rishell, have been selected to 2013 All-Conference USA Teams, the league announced on Tuesday.
The Blazers were one of just three teams in the conference to have four honorees selected to the all-conference teams. Tulane and Tulsa each had four members, as well.
It is the fifth time in school history that UAB has had four players earn all-conference honors. The last time was in 2008 when the group of Ivana Bozic, Nevena Stefanov, Casey Dent and Lilly Domingos earned the distinction.
Skinner, a preseason all-conference selection, was the only Blazer to be named to the First Team All-C-USA. She was solid in her second season at UAB, leading the team with 371 kills and 416 points on the season. Skinner ranks fourth in the conference in kills per set (4.22) and third points per set (4.73).
She landed a career-high 26 kills against Wyoming and hit a career-best hitting percentage of .536 against Austin Peay. This season, she recorded double-digit kills in 19 matches, including a career-best streak of 10-consecutive matches. She tallied more than 20 kills in four matches this season. She also has 48 blocks and 17 aces on the year.
Fairbanks earned second-team all-conference honors for the second consecutive season. Fairbanks has played in all 117 sets for the Blazers this season. She leads the team in digs (586) and is second in service aces (28) and ranks third in C-USA in digs per set with 5.01 and is 17th in service aces per set with 0.25.
She set a new career-high with 32 digs against Southern Miss and matched the 32-dig performance against three-time defending league champion Tulsa. On the season, she tallied 20 or more digs in 10 matches. Fairbanks was named C-USA Defensive Player of the Week twice this season, once as the sole recipient and shared the title later this season. Her 586 digs ranks sixth all-time in UAB history for a single season.
Howard, a second-team selection, garnered her first all-conference honor. She leads the team with 11.44 assists per set and is second on the team with 2.28 digs per set. Her average of 11.44 assists per set ranks second in C-USA. Howard helped UAB to a .247 hitting percentage on the season and leads the team with 10 double-doubles (assists/digs).
This season, she dished out a career-high 61 assists against East Carolina. She has served up 50 or more assists in seven matches during the 2013 season. Howard was named C-USA Setter of the Week for the first two weeks of the season. She also recorded a career-high 21 digs against Tulsa and put down five blocks against Virginia Tech.
Rishell also was a second-team selection, earning her first honor as a Blazer. She has played in all 33 matches this season for the Blazers and leads UAB with 1.17 blocks per set this season. Rishell ranks among the conference top-20 in four categories. She is second in blocks per set (1.20), seventh in hitting percentage (.336), 14th in points per set (3.76) and 15th in kills per set (3.13).
She has recorded 111 block assists so far this season, which ranks 10th all-time in UAB history for a single season. Rishell put down a career-best nine blocks against Tulsa. She has tallied five or more blocks in 13 games this season. Also an offensive threat for the Blazers, she recorded a career-best 22 kills against Jacksonville State and hit a career-best .524 attack percentage against conference foe Middle Tennessee State.
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